Dec 5, 2013
There was an awkward moment in one of the conference sessions at Konica Minolta’s recent dealer meeting. Polly LaBarre, co-author of Mavericks at Work, was summing up her presentation and she asked listeners if they would promise to ‘walk into the office stupider, and ask more questions.’ Promoting stupidity seems like a losing proposition but the ‘asking questions’ part is right on the mark, and I think it is a good reflection of the way that Konica Minolta conducted its ‘Shape the Future’ event, which took place November 17-19 at the Venetian/Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas.
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Nov 25, 2013
Revenue diversification and revenue growth as a corporate strategy to increase sales from new products and new markets is nothing new. Expanding into a new segment of an industry that a business is already in, or investing in a promising business outside of the scope of the existing business are solid avenues to diversification. What is so unique about Toshiba America Business Solutions is how they get there; with technology creation, innovation and a true brand agnostic approach. Need proof they are serious? 25% of their core MFP product page is HP & Lexmark and almost their entire printer product page is NOT THEIR PRODUCT. This is not the bait and switch of a Global Imaging Systems, where you are assured that yes, you will be able to continue carrying multiple product lines, only to make the non-Xerox line noncompetitive with high internal transfer costs making it difficult if not impossible to recommend products that compete with the core Xerox line. No, this group at Toshiba is different and the independent dealer channel should take notice.
Toshiba LEAD for the second consecutive year struck home a message of “Revenue Beyond Print”. Digital Signage and the Ellumina Digital Signage services along with Virtuoso digital signage displays, and LED signage for outdoor usage was eloquently showcased and created a very positive buzz among the independent dealers, Toshiba direct employees and end user attendees. Highlighted throughout the technology floor and general sessions were applications and content vs. hardware which made it easy for dealers and end users to envision the digital signage market opening as well as key vertical market opportunities were demonstrated.
Toshiba Digital Signage in Tesla Dadeland Showroom - Miami, Florida
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Nov 22, 2013
Flickr announced this week the addition of Flickr Photo Books, which allows users to create printed photo books from the photo sets they have on their Flickr site. It’s the first time the Yahoo-owned site has offered a printed product directly to their users, though users have had the option of sending their Flickr photos to the HP Snapfish site for creating printed products since 2009. The new book option was announced just in time for the busy Holiday season, which is when most consumers order photo products.
Flickr Photo Books Page View
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The past few years have been difficult for Sharp. The company has experienced a significant decline in revenue and profits primarily from its domestic business (down 37% in FY 2013 from its peak in 2011), intense competition in the LCD market, and high cost structure. As Sharp restructures its business portfolio, there has been industry talk about whether or not they would stay in the office products and solutions market. Doug Albregts, President, Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America spoke candidly about Sharp’s financial status and made several important announcements at their recent national dealer meeting in Orlando, FL that indicate Sharp is committed to the Business Solutions Division.
While Sharp’s revenue is down 18% since FY 2011, Albregts noted that through the first six months of 2013 fiscal year improved significantly versus the same period in 2012. In the first six months of 2013 Sharp Corporation posted revenues of $13.7 billion which was 22% better than 2013. Operating income has been positive for four consecutive quarters and in the first half of 2013 was $340 million versus a loss of $1.7B in 2012. Operating efficiencies and increased revenues are the primary drivers of the improvement in operating income. In addition, Sharp Corporation’s worldwide Business Solutions Division achieved revenues of $1.6 billion in FY 2013, a 14% increase over 2012.
Sharp appears to have weathered the storm by making necessary cuts (R&D, staff, underperforming businesses), focusing on the Asian market, and benefitting from a weaker Japanese Yen. The company is now focusing more on its core product development and go-to-market capabilities. In these areas, Albregts and his management team highlighted several important initiatives about the company’s distribution, product line, and cloud services.
Nov 21, 2013
I didn’t expect to learn how to become a futurist at AdTech New York (November 6-7, Javits Center, New York City), but it’s one of the many lessons I learned from a day on the show floor and at the conference.
How to Become a Futurist – Sheryl Connelly, a futurist at Ford, gave the Thursday morning keynote and it was a sobering ten point summary of the challenges facing the world. Here are those challenges in short form Read more »
Tim Greene and Norman McLeod
Nov 18, 2013
Many readers know that two of the biggest paper merchants in the U.S. (xpedx & Unisource) are planning to merge. The combination of xpedx (about $6 billion in revenue) and Unisource (about $4 billion in annual revenue) would create a giant in the U.S. distribution business. Whatever you think you know about Xpedx and Unisource, they are definitely not JUST paper merchants, those days are way over. Both companies have important initiatives in packaging, digital printing and yes, wide format.
As the big paper merchants come together we see other companies organizing to compete. Read more »
Nov 14, 2013
Dscoop (Digital Solutions Cooperative) is an independent global community of graphic arts business owners and technical professionals who use HP Indigo, Scitex or HP web press equipment. Dscoop was founded in 2005 and after establishing a strong presence in North America it is broadening its reach with the second conference for the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa). More than 700 digital print professionals from 36 different countries gathered at the second annual Dscoop EMEA conference. Among them were 400 print service providers, a substantial increase from 200 in the year before. The event titled “Print Grand Prix” ran November 6th to 8th at the Rome Marriott Park Hotel, Italy.
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Nov 13, 2013
As more people share their photos online, fewer people opt to print their photos. Social networking sites have become the destination for many of our photos. But can social media really be to blame for the declining print market? It might be fair to say that the photo print market was in trouble the moment photography went digital. For some years consumers persisted with printing habits adopted from the analogue era. However it seems inevitable that digital would eventually get the best of prints.
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Nov 12, 2013
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) and Fujifilm Corporation announced last week that Heidelberg and Fujifilm’s Global Graphics Systems subsidiary have established a strategic partnership in the area of inkjet printing. For observers of digital printing for packaging, the news could be important because of the market role of each company: Heidelberg is one of the world’s top suppliers of offset presses for folding carton printing, as well as key workflow tools; Fujifilm is a major supplier of both offset and inkjet technology, and has leading role in CTP, workflow software and other pre-press technology. The partnership could result in Heidelberg’s marketing of an existing Fujifilm inkjet system for packaging or, longer term, the development of other printing presses based on Fujifilm technology. Read more »
Nov 8, 2013
It’s been a rough week for startups in the photo aggregation space. On Tuesday, November 5, Everpix notified users that it was shutting down. Today, November 8, Linea made a similar announcement. While there may be a silver lining for Linea (the shutdown letter to users says that its “core technology will be deployed in a new platform in the future”), there was no such optimism coming from Everpix. Its demise is well documented in this article on The Verge.
This news comes in the wake of Shutterfly’s recent beta launch of ThisLife, its new “Enhanced Cloud Service” for gathering and organizing photo and video content from multiple sources. Read more »