Japanese Tea Garden San Francisco (August 1999, Kodak DC210 Zoom camera, 0.3 MP)
Earlier this summer I captured my 100,000th digital photograph. In 1999 when I saved my first digital photo I would never hadÂ thought that over the next 13 years I would amass such a large collection of photos. Back in 1999, that number would have been almost unimaginable. To get to 100,000 film images would have required shooting about 2,800 — 4,200 rolls of 36 or 24 exposure film. At a cost of around $15 per roll for film and processing I would have spent $42,000 – $60,000 to accomplish this. These numbersÂ are staggering.
Yesterday Lexmark announced a $160 million restructuring plan that involves exiting its remaining inkjet hardware business (including business inkjet), closing a plant in the Philippines that produces inkjet supplies, and cutting 1,700 jobs worldwide. The company is exploring the sale of its inkjet-related technology (they have approximately 1,000 inkjet-related patents), though it will continue to service and support its installed base of inkjet printers. Read more »
This week Kodak made news with the announcement by CEO Antonio Perez that his company will focus on commercial, packaging, and functional printing. The choices are not surprising, given prospects now for conventional document printing (down) and for “unconventional” printing such as packaging and labels (up). Kodak is fortifying for life after its planned exit from Chapter 11 next year and has made good choices, all markets where there is still growth for digital printing.
Smart, meet camera. Camera, meet…Android, apps, connectivity, Facebook, GPS, Instagram-like in-camera editing…also known as The Future. The new Nikon Coolpix S800c says to the smartphone “Anything your camera can do, mine can do better.”
What is it?
The Coolpix S800c is Nikon’s first “Smart Camera” to combine its camera imaging expertise with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), Google’s mobile platform. This is not the first smart camera to be announced this year. At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, Polaroid announced the SC1630 smart camera, a 16 MP Android-based camera. However, the camera has not launched yet, and it is questionable whether it will ever make it to market.
Last week I visited HP’s Graphic Arts Experience Center. I’ve written a blog called Lessons Learned at HP’s Graphic Arts Experience Center about that visit and in this video blog I show some print samples that I collected there. These samples include ones from HP Indigo, Inkjet Web Press, and Specialty Printing Systems (SPS) products.
If you’d like to see other print sample videos, please check out the Jim Hamilton YouTube channel. Here you’ll find a selection of my print sample videos as well as videos that have been recorded at various industry events.
Last week I went to Alpharetta, Georgia in suburban Atlanta to see HP’s Graphic Arts Experience Center. Opened in March of 2011, the site is a 60,000-square-foot showcase of HP’s graphic arts portfolio including its Indigo, SmartStream, Inkjet Web Press, Designjet & Scitex wide format, and Specialty Printing Systems (SPS) inkjet offerings. In addition to acting as a sales hub, the site also houses training facilities and is a center for graphic arts business development services for HP customers in the Americas.
I was invited to the Experience Center to attend an HP customer event along with a handful of industry analysts and trade magazine editors. It was an eye-opening experience in a number of ways and in this blog I’d like to share three insights I gained from the visit.
Make It Matter
The HP slogan ‘Make It Matter,’ which you see in HP promotional posters and on their employees’ business cards, has always reminded me of that scene toward the end of the movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’ where a dying Tom Hanks tells Matt Damon to ‘earn it.’ Movie dramatics aside, what HP has done with it Graphic Arts Experience Center has a lot to do with ‘making it matter.’ Bringing the whole portfolio (including Inkjet Web Press and SPS) under one roof makes a lot of sense and is particularly important given the cross-over opportunities for existing and future HP customers. That the site serves multiple purposes for sales, training, and business development is also key. The Experience Center has recently added an Inkjet Web Press T200 (that’s been upgraded to a T230) and it would also have an Indigo W7250 if it hadn’t been for the surge in demand for the product (the unit targeted to the Experience Center went to a customer in Massachusetts). I was highly impressed with the broad range of print samples, in fact, I felt like a kid in a candy store. (I madeÂ a video with some of those samples.) The samples cover a range of markets including commercial print, direct mail, technical, publishing, signage, labeling, packaging, and pro-photography printing.
With more consumers using smartphones as everyday cameras, vendors in the photo output market are striving to come up with easier ways to print photos captured on mobile devices. Walgreens is one of the leading retailers in the U.S. market, and has been proactive in going after the mobile photo market. Back in July, they introduced a developer portal that allows third-party software developers to integrate the Walgreens QuickPrints software development kit (SDK) into their apps, which will enable photo printing directly from iOS and Android mobile devices. The QuickPrints SDK is already implemented into seven partner apps, and is the first time that Walgreens has provided an open interface for developers to integrate their in-store services.
In many markets digital printing is maturing and while there is still good growth in colour printing, when combined with a decline in black & white digital print volume, the total growth rate is not that impressive (see also the blog on POD growth in US and Europe). But this is not the case for all countries and to find an exception we do not have to look very far.
Russia is by far the largest country in Central and Eastern Europe and since the year 2000 the Russian GDP has more than doubled. Apart from a dip in 2009 the economy has been growing rapidly and is poised to continue on that path. In fact, the Russian nominal GDP growth (including exchange rate effects and not adjusted for inflation) between 2000 and 2009 was better than China.
Not all industries in Russia have experienced growth at this rate however and the printing and publishing industries are among those that are lagging behind — not an unusual picture as printing demand generally follows the growth of other industries and requires an infrastructural framework that takes time to build up. InfoTrends held conferences on digital printing and publishing in Russia for several years and the interest in digital technology was obvious. It was also obvious that the market was still in an early phase.
But with improvements in the postal system and distribution infrastructure, a rise in advertising and publishing activities, and general growth in wealth, the demand for all kinds of print is rising. Not having a strong legacy in analogue printing is probably helping the digital print market and we certainly noticed growth in digital production equipment installations over recent years. Now, with a couple of years’ experience in tracking and observing the Russian digital printing market, the time has come for InfoTrends to publish a detailed Russian digital printing forecast for the first time. Read more »
As a father of four children, I often get insights about the meaning of life and the future of the printing industry from seemingly innocuous experiences and items that cross my desk. (Sorry, I’m an analyst. I can’t help myself.) This week it was an update on International Paper’s Franklin Mill and a letter from the principal of my son’s middle school (don’t worry, he’s not in trouble) that I believe are prescient on the direction of much of the paper and printing industry.
Less Freesheet, More Fluff Pulp
Back in October 2009, during the depth of the economic recession, International Paper (IP) made the difficult decision to close its Franklin, VA mill that produced over 600,000 tons of uncoated freesheet paper used for printing and copying (nearly 20% of IP’s capacity)Â and 140,000 tons of coated paperboard used for book covers, greeting cards, direct mail advertising and other products (7% of IP’s capacity). The closure resulted in over 1,100 job terminations and was extremely painful for the community of Franklin (population 8,600) who’s history was inextricably linked to the Camp family and Union Camp paper mill.
International Paper Franklin Mill
Diane Mathews, Daily PressÂ / October 5, 2010
IP’s chief executive John Faraci recently commented to the Wall Street Journal that during the recession, copy paper demand in North America “stopped overnight”. “We had no choice,” he said. “We didn’t have any orders.”
I believe many CEOs in the printing, office equipment, and paper industries were having a similar experience at that time.
Today BERG announced that the Little Printer, a small and unique thermal printer we wrote about in January, is available for pre-order in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The London-based design firm also made public the device’s price: Â£199 ($259 USD) plus shipping. The Â£199 price tag includes one Little Printer, the BERG Cloud Bridge (a small device that sits by one’s broadband router and wirelessly connects the Little Printer to the web), international power supplies, cables, and replacement paper. According to BERG, orders are first come, first served; the first batch of devices will ship 60 days from today. Read more »