Magazine Article


The State of the Imaging Industry 2004

A $32 Billion Printing Opportunity

by Jeff Hopper
Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Polaroid Corporation It's no secret that the imaging world is in the midst of massive digital-content convergence, unifying consumer electronics, computing, telecommunications and photography. Images are a part of every device revolutionizing the way people communicate, connect and share with one another. While some convergence products will ultimately fail, others will drive transformation of the consumer imaging industry.

For example, until a few years ago, consumers relied on traditional point-and-shoot cameras—instant, 35mm or digital—to capture images and then processed prints either in a lab or via an online photo service. Now, convergence devices have changed this process completely with the introduction of camera phones. Camera phone technology is improving rapidly and cell phone integration is now widespread and growing everyday. Already estimated by analysts to become the fastest-growing consumer technology device in history, sales of camera phones are expected to grow exponentially and top 400 million units annually by 20071. In the near future, consumers will get high-quality features, applications and offerings from their camera phone. Accordingly, digital photo capture devices as a whole will generate 70 billion prints annually by 2007, giving birth to a new $32 billion printing industry2.

So, have imaging manufacturers done their due diligence to prepare for this change? Have they begun to explore consumer electronics, branching out from traditional photo capture and processing? While many of us have started to take steps in that direction, we still have a ways to go to remain viable and competitive in this new landscape. To achieve success, imaging manufacturers must seize this opportunity and bring new technologies to market that play in this space. Imaging technologies must be seamlessly integrated into devices that consumers use to communicate and share images in their everyday lives. These imaging technologies must be fast, flexible and affordable. They must be small enough to be embedded in slimmer, sleeker electronic devices like the camera phone that will invade our lives and create new categories of mobile imaging and digital entertainment solutions.

As we move into 2005, the marketplace will start to see new technologies that will allow consumers to capture, share and print images anytime, anywhere. Following the lead of consumer electronics, new "combination devices" will appear in the form of television-printer combinations, PC embedded printers, and cell phone and PDA printers. This next generation of consumer imaging solutions will drive further convergence, changing the face of imaging as we know it and making the promise of the future a revolutionary reality.
1The Future Image WIRE, 2004
2Internal Polaroid Forecast, 2004

High Quality Prints, Today & Tomorrow

by Norio Niwa
Executive Vice President, Seiko Epson. Digital technology has changed the way we take, share, print and preserve photos forever and for the better.

One of the most important benefits consumers want from digital photography is the highest quality photo; however, superior print quality is not just about how good an image looks today but how good it will look in the future. Epson's dedication to both stunning image quality and print longevity has led to breakthroughs like the recent introduction of PictureMate, the personal photo lab that allows digital camera owners to easily and affordably print brilliant, long-lasting 10 x 15 cm (4" x 6") photos at home.

As the number of digital images captured continues to escalate, the photo industry h, as a great opportunity to increase the number of images printed. From misplaced negatives to damaged CDs to obsolete file formats, time has shown that a photographic print remains the most usable and long-term storage medium for both consumer and professional photographers, and our research has shown that people want to print their digital photos if they have a good solution. Epson's advances in print permanence have been designed to ensure these important memories last.

For years, Epson pigment printers have produced photos with superior light fade resistance and water resistance compared to silver halide prints, and we will continue to set high targets and tough standards to further improve the quality. The cornerstone of print longevity is ink so Epson has focused significant R&D on ink technology to deliver water, smudge and light resistance.

Epson's digital technology gives photographers of all skill levels control and creativity that they never had with the analog tools of the past, and we look forward to continuing our innovati

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