Magazine Article


Printing the Mobile Image at Retail

Pierre Barbeau is the GM of Picture Mail at Sprint.

Getting Connected at Retail

By Yuval Yashiv, Pixology plc

Camera phone sales are dwarfing digital camera sales and we, as an industry, have to deal with that potentially huge change in consumer behavior. Pixology was one of the first to have real insights into the possible opportunities for retailers and how they can harness this new wave of photography. Twelve months ago, Pixology created a world first, launching at PMA the first service that allows consumers to print pictures directly from their mobile camera phone to a retailer. That is not via the PC or blue-tooth, but a service that will allow you to send an image directly ' with the push of a button ' to a retail store of your choice.

The PhonePrint service was launched with Duane Reade in the USA and Jessops in the UK (the UK's largest specialist photographic chain). On both of these services, the PhonePrint software was available as a download from the customers web-site. We have recently launched a pre-loaded service with Boots, the UK's largest pharmacy chain, where the software is pre-loaded on Nokia handsets.

Analysts tell us that there are going to be 63 billion images stored on camera phones in 2005. If the camera phone becomes the primary image capture tool and the bulk of pictures will be stored on camera phones instead of digital cameras then photofinishers must embrace this market - otherwise they will see their revenue streams virtually disappear. It will be the film to digital headache all over again. The difference being that the film-digital revolution took 50 years. This will take five ' and that is a turnaround that will test even the most fast moving and nimble organizations.

Print solutions are needed now. For the consumer, there are numerous reasons. One of the most compelling I have seen recently is from a US psychologist who said that children will be emotional deprived without the ability to touch and feel images of themselves ' that it is vital for their emotional well-being. As a dad of twin boys, I feel that this is reason enough to be a print evangelist.

If the print market hasn't taken off yet, it may be because the first consumer experience in 2004 was poor. Most cameras in the market were sub-megapixel and thus the print quality did not meet expectations. Also, the availability and awareness of solutions means low take up.

earing in mind that in some markets, (including the UK), the marketing drive for printing from digital cameras only really started this past Christmas. The next leap to mass use of printing from cameras phones is a little way off. Similarly, the ease of use for the majority of camera phone users is at this moment in time, not particularly easy, but we believe that this will change dramatically over the next 12-24 months.

If 860 million people will be have a camera phone by 2008 as Infotrends projects, then one could assume that by 2020, the majority of people will have only experienced a camera phone as their primary picture capture device. What will they view it as? A mobile device or a camera?

The solution is for photofinishers and camera phone manufacturers and retailers to co-operate now, so that everyone shares in the rewards. No matter how ground breaking your technology is, if your customers do not know that it is available or how it works, then it is useless. Marketing is the king.

Predicting when the market for print solutions will become profitable is not easy but it will be when camera phones are widely used as main picture taking device ' so some time between now and 2008. Migration has already commenced; in Japan 12.5% with a camera phone indicated it is primary camera used most frequently. Similar to the adoption of digital cameras it will be when the price/quality ratio is acceptable. It will be when the availability & accessibility of solutions becomes easy and simple. When the costs are comparable to the print solutions that consumers can access now.

Yuval Yashiv is the CEO at Pixology plc.

Camera Phones are Generating A Surge in Digital Retail Processing

By David Watkins, Nokia Inc.

They might forget their sunglasses, their coat, or even the scrap of paper with the name of the girl who knows the guy who can get them into the newest downtown club. But when today's on-the-go consumer heads out into the world, the one thing they never forget is their mobile phone.

Mobile phones are the take-everywhere, use-anytime accessory of the modern lifestyle.

Today's phones are lighter, easier-to-use and literally packed with attractive lifestyle and productivity features. And now, thanks to a new generation of imaging technologies that puts powerful, easy-to-use cameras in literally millions of smartphone devices, mobile imaging phones are one of the largest and fastest growing sources of digital images.

Consumers will snap billions of photographs on mobile imaging devices in the coming years. Some will be emailed to friends. Others may be printed at home. In-store experience and market research, however, tell us that a large and growing percentage of those images will be printed and paid for in the retail environment.

Digital is the future of retail processing, and mobile imaging devices will fuel the coming surge in digital photography. Here's a quick rundown on how smart retailers are positioning themselves for the coming digital revolution.