Are QR Codes More Popular in Europe than in the U.S.? (Part 2)

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 Nov 19, 2009

During a recent InfoTrends Webinar discussing the future of the print production software market, Alex Sumarta and I were asked if quick response (QR) codes are currently more popular in Europe than they are in the United States. This post is the second part of a series of two that attempts to answer that question.

I recently came across some research from Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, which has studied the state of broadband Internet adoption around the world. What I liked about this report is that it does not rely on the more traditional benchmark measurements like fixed line broadband adoption per 100 inhabitants. Instead, it takes a multidimensional approach along three main indicators: penetration, capacity, and price. This enables the research to become much more granular and provides surprising new insights.

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What’s Keeping You Up at Night?

Jim Hamilton
 Nov 17, 2009

I recently met with a group of Kodak NexPress users and I asked them, “What keeps you up at night?” They started throwing out a range of ideas and didn’t stop until we came up with a list of about twenty things like keeping up with technology, driving growth, new competition, automation, legislation, solution selling, and government regulations.

I dutifully wrote everything down and then grouped them into about eight or nine topics areas. I gave everyone three votes to apply to their top three nightmares. After the smoke cleared the top issue by far was the future of print. In short, what is the viability of print in an age of Internet, social media, and mobile communications? Read more »

Canon to Acquire Océ

Anne Valaitis
 Nov 16, 2009

Today, Canon Inc. (trading symbol CAJ) announced a public cash offer for all the shares of Océ (trading symbol OCE).  Canon intends to make an offer of € 8.60 per Share (cum dividend) for 100% of the outstanding Shares of Océ, representing a premium of 70% over Océ’s closing share price of Friday 13 November 2009 and 137% to the average share price over the last 12 months, this makes the deal worth about 1.1 billion dollars.

In the wake of other major acquisitions in the last year, particularly Ricoh’s acquisition of IKON, there has been much speculation about what Canon will do. Now that Canon has agreed to acquire Océ, it is clear that one of its strategic options has been selected. Read more »

Agfa buys Gandi

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The news that Agfa acquired struggling Gandinnovations (Gandinnovations has been in bankruptcy since May 2009) is interesting because it gives Agfa a wider, more robust portfolio of products with which to go up against the more prominent wide format/commercial printing companies in the global market (HP, EFI, Screen & Fujifilm). In wide format, Agfa has been deeply involved in UV-curable inkjet with its Anapurna line, but not participating in the wide format solvent inkjet (which Gandi has also been getting out of) or wide format dye-sublimation markets. The acquisition of Gandi by Agfa makes sense for Agfa from the portfolio perspective. As details come out about how much Agfa paid for Gandinnovations and how much of Gandi’s obligations Agfa will assume it will become clearer whether or not this was a good deal. Agfa’s Graphics business unit had 2008 sales of almost 41.5 billion, so the acquisition of Gandinnovations is probably not a “major risk” kind of deal from a financial standpoint. However much Agfa paid for Gandinnovations or debt Agfa assumed, real value will only be determined if Agfa uses the Gandinnovations line to compete and grow its wide format business. InfoTrends thinks it is likely Agfa will “kill” Gandi’s solvent line and use their dye-sub and UV-curable inkjet products to complement Agfa’s existing wide format printer lineup. Our initial view is that Agfa’s acquisition of Gandinnovations is a strong, low-risk (depending on what Agfa paid) way to complement a portfolio to be better able to compete against bigger competitors.

Are QR Codes More Popular in Europe than in the U.S.? (Part 1)

Other Posts
 Nov 12, 2009

During a recent InfoTrends Webinar on the future of the global print production software market, Alex Sumarta and I were asked if quick response (QR) codes are more popular in Europe than they are in the United States. QR codes–those 2D barcodes that can be scanned by Internet-enabled camera phones–help connect the physical and virtual worlds and can tremendously increase the effectiveness of one-to-one communications.

Based on anecdotal information, I would say that QR codes in Europe are a bit ahead of those in the U.S., but they are not as advanced as those in Japan. I recently stumbled upon some interesting research that would support this claim.

This blog post will focus on a few examples of QR adoption in Europe, and a blog that will be issued next week will provide some additional thoughts and data points concerning adoption. Read more »

TKS to Unveil JetLeader Production Color Inkjet Newspaper System

Jim Hamilton
 Nov 10, 2009

At the JANPS newspaper production show in Tokyo later this month a web offset press manufacturer called TKS (Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho) will be unveiling a production color inkjet newspaper system called JetLeader. It is a roll-fed device that prints at speeds of 150 meters per minute (492 feet per minute) and has a maximum print width of 541 millimeters (21.3 inches) on a maximum roll width of 546 millimeters (21.5 inches). It uses piezo drop-on-demand inkjet heads and aqueous pigment inks. TKS says it can print on groundwood newsprint at weights of 60 gsm or higher. The configuration that will be shown at JANPS will be process color on one side of the web and monochrome on the other (4/1) and will include a sheeter and accumulator. TKS says that a 4/4 configuration will be available upon launch at the end of this month. Pricing has not been released. In addition to the standalone JetLeader newspaper system, TKS will also demonstrate a hybrid offset/inkjet offering at JANPS. Read more »

Social Networking Sites: They Aren’t Just for Kids Anymore!

Eve Padula
 Nov 9, 2009

Over the past several years, InfoTrends has been publishing its Online Photo Services surveys on an annual basis. The changes that have occurred in just a few years have been truly staggering. When respondents to our 2006 Online Photo Services survey were asked which online photo service they used most often, Kodak Gallery (25%) and Snapfish (19%) captured the top spots. Fast-forward to 2008, and it becomes clear that traditional online photo services are being strongly affected by popular social networking sites. During InfoTrends’ 2008 Online Photo Services survey, the share of respondents who reported most frequently uploading their photos to Kodak Gallery (7%) and Snapfish by HP (7%) had slipped considerably. The top responses during that year were MySpace (48%) and Facebook (26%).

Our 2009 Online Photo Services study showed yet another shift. Although Facebook was a distant second place in our 2008 study, it surpassed MySpace to capture the top spot in 2009. Meanwhile, many of the traditional online photo services suffered year-over-year declines, which can again be attributed to the strong and growing popularity of social networking sites.


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The Expanding Scope of Managed Print Services (MPS)

Other Posts
 Nov 4, 2009

InfoTrends’ MPS service clients are aware of the impending expansion of MPS scope, which is currently focused on the office environment. In our May 2009 document entitled “The New MPS: Scope and Services” (login required), we discussed research data and vendor announcements that clearly indicated managed print in the Office would  grow beyond this scope to include virtual/remote workers, CRD, in-plant production, and even commercial print. As an example:

  • InfoTrends’ Professional and Managed Print Services research indicates that only 11% of MPS prospects would not roll old hardware into new contracts, implying that MPS could quickly cannibalize currently unmanaged devices and environments.
  • At AIIM / On Demand 2009, HP announced that its latest version of Web Jetadmin (device management) added support for large-format DesignJet devices. HP also announced MPS support for remote/virtual users that included a limited number of devices bundled with next-day replacement support and supplies replenishment.
  • Although not formally announced, press releases regarding Xerox wins implied that remote/virtual workers and their devices were indeed managed under enterprise MPS contracts.

Last week, Xerox finally formalized its Enterprise Print Services (EPS) offering. Specifically, the announcement expands on the scope of their MPS offering to include remote/virtual workers and production-class print. Read more »

The Inkjet MICR News Keeps On Coming

Jim Hamilton
 Nov 3, 2009

What is it about magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) that has made it such a hot topic recently? There have been at least five MICR announcements involving high-speed color inkjet in recent memory:

  • Océ started the trend with its announcement of MICR capability for JetStream in October of 2008. The JetStream implementation was the first in a high-speed color inkjet device to use a fifth color implementation of a MICR inkjet ink.
  • In September of 2009 HP announced a technology alliance with R.R. Donnelley that includes joint development around inkjet MICR. This will assure that a MICR option will be available for HP’s T300 Inkjet Web Press.
  • At Print 09 InfoPrint added MICR inkjet ink capability for the black station of the InfoPrint 5000 (InfoPrint also had other MICR activity at the show with cut-sheet toner products through its partner Rosetta Technologies).
  • At Print 09 RISO (in partnership with Kirk-Rudy) announced an in-line MICR accessory for the HC5500. This new accessory was announced at the same time as a new envelope feeder.
  • In October Kodak announced a MICR option for the Versamark VL series that will be available in the first half of 2010 (more on this below).

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