Magazine Article


The State of the Imaging Industry


Digital Imaging Comes into Focus
by Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)

Whether it's a snapshot from a camera the size of a credit card or sending a vacation picture from your photo-enabled wireless phone, digital imaging products have clicked with consumers faster than your shutter speed in optimal sunlight. Indeed, CEA forecasts that this year sales of digital cameras will surpass analog sales for the first time.
Today, you can find a digital camera in nearly half of all households. According to CEA Market Research, the digital camera is the second most requested consumer electronics product right behind the DVD player. In another recent CEA survey, consumers named the digital camera as one of the top three most wanted gifts this past holiday season.

And the industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds. In 2003, total domestic factory sales of digital cameras are projected to top $2.8 billion, while the average unit price is expected to fall below the $300 threshold for the first time. The reason-smaller cameras equipped with expanding pixel capabilities now are available at an affordable price. Consumers can compliment their camera investment with quality scanners and other peripheral products at home that enable the transfer of images from camera to computer in a snap to send via email or produce photo shop-quality prints right from their own living room. In addition, digital imaging is becoming a function in a number of mobile products such as cell phones and PDAs, allowing consumers to snap a picture while sending an email, talking to a friend or listening to an MP3 file.

As the "Digital Decade" marches on, so does the digital imaging industry. The increased focus on wireless networking will allow more efficient methods of digital photo transmission via technology such as Bluetooth or infrared (IR). What seems to be a climax in digital imaging technology may very well be the beginning of a photographic renaissance.

You can see the latest in digital imaging at the 2004 International CES to be held January 8-11, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Getting Prints From Digital Images
by Lisa Walker, Executive Director, International Imaging Industry Association (I3A)

Convergence and competition have opened new market opportunities for traditional photography manufacturers and digital vendors, now increasingly partnering with each other. As the market evolves, the industry faces a challenge to set industry-wide standards that will enable vendors to develop products that best address end-user needs. Common interfaces and open web services, for example, will help ensure images and other information can be practically, seamlessly and cost-effectively captured, exchanged and printed using any combination of access points and products or services desired, creating opportunities for vendors to deliver new products and services to customers.

To this end, the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A) in partnership with Agfa Gevaert N.V., Eastman Kodak Company, Hewlett-Packard Company and Silverwire have launched the Picture Services Network (PSN) Directory Service and the Common Picture eXchange Environment (CPXe). PSN and CPXe will give life to the imaging industry's vision for making it as convenient to get prints and other photo services from digital pictures as it is today with film.

Combined, the CPXe interoperability specifications and the PSN Directory Service will simplify the process for consumers and businesses to find, access, and use Internet-connected and retail photo services.

These kinds of industry-wide, open industry standards are essential to I3A's mission to drive market growth by enabling new markets and opportunities for member companies that will ultimately benefit consumers and end-users.

I3A is the leading global imaging industry association, driving growth of and setting standards for the photographic and information imaging markets. As the industry focal point, I3A offers a framework and environment where members can quickly find resources to solve critical issues and develop market solutions. Members of I3A work together to find common ground for advancing the industry and to enable better products and services for customers everywhere.