Two weeks before the start of photokina (26th September to 1st October) in Cologne, the event that brings together the entire world of imaging, Oliver P. Kuhrt, Koelnmesse Executive Vice President, explained to journalists that the fair is "the sector highlight of the year and the event that sets the standards as the imaging sector's global platform for information and communication." "All of the imaging sector's leading companies - including Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Fuji and Kodak - will be represented, as will major suppliers from the CE, IT and telecommunications areas," Kuhrt added. Many of these suppliers - such as Panasonic, Samsung, Casio, Epson, Nokia and HP - have greatly expanded their stand areas compared to two years ago. Kuhrt sees this development as a confirmation of the success of the photokina concept: "It is a clear signal that the areas of photography, imaging and image communication are still seen as extremely important in their own right, despite the companies' current discussions of convergence."
Expressed in hard numbers, the significance of this for photokina 2006 is that this year's fair, the biggest photokina ever held, will occupy a larger gross exhibition space than the 2004 event. Approximately 1,600 suppliers from 45 countries are occupying 230,000 m² of exhibition space. In other words, the number of exhibitors will match the figure reached at photokina 2004, in spite of the continually increasing market consolidation and the withdrawal of a number of major suppliers such as AgfaPhoto, Konica-Minolta and Yashica-Kyocera from the market. The exhibiting companies that will have the largest stands include Fuji, Kodak, Canon, HP, and Panasonic. Some 65 percent of the exhibitors will be coming from abroad, and there will be new suppliers from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Latvia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Syria. However, as in previous years, the major brands from Japan and the U.S. will play a dominant role.
A global B2B platform
The impressive numbers of visitors and exhibitors at photokina are a clear indication of the global imaging sector's high regard for its top event. photokina is the only trade fair in the world where virtually all of the suppliers from the global imaging sector present their products and services to an international audience of trade visitors. No other event takes such an in-depth look at the imaging world. That's why photokina generates so much innovative power. For around 160,000 visitors from 140 countries, it's a showcase for new products, an ordering platform, a place to make business contacts, and a forum for gathering information and learning about the latest trends. "Most of the visitors are professional users and specialist dealers with a high level of decision-making authority," explains Kuhrt, "and more than one-fourth of them come from abroad. All of them will be coming to photokina because the fair is unrivaled in terms of offering a truly comprehensive overview of the sector's new products and a look ahead at tomorrow's developments. And it is a fair that gives them the opportunity to place high-volume orders."
For imaging professionals from around the world, the broad spectrum of opportunities to exchange knowledge and know-how - and the presence of all of the imaging industry's major international players - are the reasons why photokina continues to register impressive success in times when other trade fairs are suffering major setbacks. The market consolidation in the area of analog photography will be more than compensated for by new suppliers from the consumer electronics, IT and telecommunications segments. Imaging is more important today than ever before in all areas of business and society as well as in the private sphere. It has never been easier than it is today to create, process and store images, and to send them all over the world in a matter of seconds. It will all be presented at photokina: the complete spectrum of imaging technology and applications - from capturing an image to its presentation and output, from the storage of images to their processing, and image communication.
photokina follows the imaging workflow
This is the range of products and services that photokina will be presenting this year in a brand-new hall layout. In the same way that digitization in the imaging sector has blurred the distinctions between products for the professional user and products for the traditional end consumer, we have, for photokina 2006, eliminated the separation that used to exist between the consumer and the professional imaging sectors. Semiprofessional products are of interest and affordable to more and more end consumers - and the manufacturers are increasingly targeting professionals and private users with an expanded product range. By transferring the imaging workflow in its entirety to the Cologne trade fair halls, photokina is reflecting these changing market conditions by means of its new structure. The World of Imaging will focus closely on the progress made by the image, the process that will guide the visitors through the various areas and halls.
This workflow will be divided into the various stages an image goes through: capture, storage, processing, output and presentation. Also covered will be imaging accessories, equipment and consumables, which are indispensable to the workflow. The major camera manufacturers - including Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Pentax, Casio, Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and Kodak - are located in the upper floors of Halls 2, 3, 4 and 5. The specialists with their products for the high-end consumer and, especially, for the sector's professionals, are located on the lower floors of these halls. Here, visitors will find companies such as Leica, Hasselblad, Sinar, and Phase One. Products and services related to the topic of image processing are located in Hall 4.1, where leading companies including Adobe, Apple, Corel, Nero, and Pinnacle will be presenting their new products. The image storage product segment will be presented in Hall 6 and feature companies such as SanDisk, Lexar Media, and Kingston Technologies . Image output and services are located in Hall 10. CeWe Color, Deutsche Telekom, Kiss, Mitsubishi, Noritsu, and OKI are just a few of the companies that will be presenting their products in this segment.
photokina - Europe's biggest trade fair for large-format printing Printers for private and professional applications, among other things, are to be found in this hall and in parts of Hall 4. The spectrum of products ranges from compact photo printers to professional large-format printers. In this product segment as well, nearly all of the world's leading suppliers - including HP, Xerox and Brother -will be presenting their new products. What's more, photokina's product range makes it "Europe's biggest trade fair for large-format printing".
Hall 9 is the focus for image presentation. COMM-TEC, Kindermann, Optoma, Eiki, and 3LCD are some of the companies to be found here. Companies that specialize in accessory components for all imaging needs - from producers of albums and picture frames, including HENZO, ERNO, and Walther, to suppliers of gadget bags - will be concentrated in Hall 7.
Added value in the supporting program
With all of the technical novelties, products and services, photokina is much more than a simple presentation of the international imaging sector. It's also a unique contact platform for a knowledge transfer between exhibitors and visitors from around the world. True to the motto "Imaging is more," the organizers have also conceived a top-quality supporting program for this year - a program that offers genuine added value to both the international trade dealers and imaging professionals as well as private visitors with a passion for photography. The highlights include the Specialist Trade Center for resellers from all over the world, top-ranking panel discussions, expert presentations, symposia and congresses, specialist centers for the trade and users, worlds of adventure and action stages for the public.
The Visual Gallery once again forms the cultural highlight of photokina this year. The best-known names at the Visual Gallery in 2006 include the collector Prof. L. Fritz Gruber, who passed away last year and whose life work will be honored in a retrospective exhibition, the Magnum photographer Martin Parr and rock star Bryan Adams, whose photos of the actor Mickey Rourke will be on show.
photokina premiere in the new Cologne exhibition center
The attractive venue for photokina 2006 is provided by Cologne's new exhibition center, which has already received an extremely positive response from exhibitors and visitors at several large trade fairs. The facility is one of Europe's most modern trade fair locations and, thanks to its short connecting paths and clear structure, it provides even better conditions for fruitful exchanges and new contacts - in other words, for successful business at the trade fair.
"Imaging is more"
"The path is clear for the forthcoming photokina to be another great success," said Kuhrt in conclusion. "Images express more than any other medium, which is why they are now more important than ever before in all areas of business and society as well as in the private sphere. The market is benefiting as a result - and so is photokina. After all, photokina is the world's only trade fair to represent this market in its entirety, while other events cover only certain segments."