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The State of the Imaging Industry




Digital cameras need to have longer life cycles. We can not continue to effectively manage eight to ten month life cycles. The megapixel and feature race needs to stop. Two- to three-megapixel cameras with desirable features is all the consumer needs to make great pictures. We need to focus on keeping it simple for the customer.

Manufacturers need to focus their efforts on simplifying image capture and output . Retailers need to provide affordable fast high quality digital printing. Everyone needs to put all of their energies towards engaging the customer in making and sharing prints. Sharing prints is sharing memories and sharing memories is the magic of photography. It has been for over 100 years and will be for the next 100 years.

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WYNIT
Be Smart, Stay Profitable
by Pete Richichi, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Wynit, Inc.

The photo industry is still all about digital. There is much good news to talk about here. The economy is finally beginning to show signs of recovery. Consumer spending is up. All of us should be able to prosper in this industry if we are smart. What do I mean when I use the word "smart"? I mean you need to be able to identify the trends that will shape this industry and once you have identified the trends, you need to be able to develop and implement a plan to take advantage of these trends. Sounds simple? Yes and no. If you have the right information, identifying the trends can be simple. If you identify and make use of the resources you have at your disposal, developing and implementing a plan to best position you to take advantage of industry trends can also be simpler than you think.

An example of this might be the trends occurring with digital memory. With the rapid growth of portable digital products such as digital cameras, cellular phones, PDAs and more, the market for digital memory has, to put it simply, exploded. What does this mean to you? You should realize that availability of memory is going to be tight during the upcoming holiday season as memory manufacturers scramble to produce enough memory to meet the increasing demands for their products. This is called identifying an industry trend. Some people might view this as a problem, which might negatively impact their sales. Working closely with a good distributor, you might understand that you can actually prosper from this shortage. Your distributor would know that this is an industry wide shortage and would advise you to stock up now for the holidays. This way, while others may be out of stock during the holidays, your customers won't have any problem getting their memory needs filled. The end result… you prosper, your customers' immediate needs are filled and you develop customer loyalty. Everyone wins.

Now, more than ever, it is important to be working closely with a good distributor. A good distributor, in addition to being a source of product, also is able to provide you with the "50,000 foot view" of what's happening in the industry and can provide you with the information you need to prepare you for the rapid changes being experienced in the digital photo industry.

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ADOBE
Digital Solutions-With a Human Face
by Bryan Lamkin, Senior Vice President of Digital Imaging & Video Products for Adobe

Here at Adobe, we are committed to remaining at the forefront of digital imaging innovation. In fact, one of our primary goals is to create new and better ways to fulfill the promise of digital imaging for everyone-from the average consumer, tohe hobbyist, all the way up to the professional photographer. We have demonstrated this commitment in our own product line with Photoshop Album for the consumer, Photoshop Elements for the hobbyist and Photoshop for the creative professional.

Photoshop users have been the vanguard of the digital photography revolution. However, all revolutions are messy businesses and there still remain areas that require an industry-wide effort to bring them into the digital age. The most obvious of these is the role of retail in a photographic industry, where digital is becoming dominant.

Despite all that is happening in the digital photography arena, consumers still feel most comfortable turning in and picking up their photographs at their friendly neighborhood retailer. A few years ago, industry pundits were predicting the death of retail photo processing-as low cost, high-quality home printers from respected companies like HP and Epson emerged and online print services started to spring up. While home printing continues and online print services have become sustainable businesses, it is clear that many consumers still see a place for photo retail outlets-valuing personal, face-to-face customer service from a trusted, familiar source.

We are looking at a variety of ways to bring this established behavior into the digital age, such as establishing links in our software that can drive traffic back to retail, like mail order offers and point of presence kiosks that make obtaining your digital prints easy and convenient. In short, we believe that an "at-the-counter" exchange has a place in digital photography. While the more technologically advanced customer may satisfy their printing needs via home printing or online solutions, most consumers will continue to look to photo retail and the familiar face behind the counter as their preferred photo processing solution in the digital age.

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AGFA
The Consumer Digital Age Has Arrived
by Bing Liem, President, Agfa Consumer Imaging

When we look back at 2003, the imaging industry will remember many things-some positive, more negative. It's been a hard year, what with war, SARS, an economic downturn and lousy weather.


   







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