Oct 31, 2013
The road to redemption and a World Championship for the Sox provides some lessons applicable to business. As Boston celebrates the win, the first lesson is that winning is fun. Being on a winning team builds morale; it keeps staff motivated and creates a positive environment. Winning organizations have less bickering, they act more cohesively. Employees believe in each other. When they enter the field of competition they believe they will win and that good things will happen.
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Oct 25, 2013
Screen USA hosted a two-day open house in its facilities in Rolling Meadows, IL. (Near Chicago) this past week and provided an update on three key digital printing products: the Truepress JetSX, the Truepress Jet L350UV, and the Truepress Jet3200UV.
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Back in August, Contour abruptly closed its doors, leaving the space to market leader GoPro, Sony, Ion, and newcomer Garmin. Contour was one of the pioneers in the action camera space and was founded in 2004 by Jason Green and Marc Barros.
According to Geekwire.com, the company at its peak had 70 employees and in 2011 generated $27.3 million in revenue. However, the company struggled to maintain a competitive position against the juggernaut marketing budget of GoPro and new entrants to the market like Sony and others who have much deeper pockets. The company had been struggling financially this year and efforts to sell the company did not pan out. As a result, it defaulted on $7.5 million in loans and was forced to close its doors and be placed in the hands of a court-appointed receiver who is tasked with selling the company.
With the action camera market still in an early stage of adoption and gaining more attention among consumers, it is unfortunate to see a company bow out already. However, the shutdown may be short lived. Geekwire.com reports that Contour has just been sold at auction for $1.93 million to Clark Capital Partners, an existing Contour investor. The deal still needs to be finalized. Clark Capital intends to reopen the company and re-launch the brand. It remains to be seen what happens to the former employees who were all let go when the company closed. Clark Capital is considering moving Contour’s headquarters from Seattle to Utah where it is located.
Clark Capital has its work cut out for itself. The first thing it will need to do is to repair relationships with Contour’s suppliers, dealers, and customers, which were likely hurt because of the abrupt closure. Suppliers were stuck with inventory, dealers were stuck with product and no sales support, and consumers were not able to get any customer or service support. Once Contour gets production rolling again and reestablishes a dealer channel, it must invest the marketing dollars to rise above the noise that other action camera companies are making.
Companies looking to get into the action camera business may want to explore a potential investment position in the new Contour, as they will be able to get in above the ground floor. If the company is successful in its re-launch, it can ride the wave of market growth of action cameras expected in the coming years.
To learn more about the action camera market refer to InfoTrends’ The Wearable Camera Market report. It is available to clients of our Digital Photography Trends Service or from the InfoTrends report store.
Oct 24, 2013
The account consolidation and mobile bill payments markets continue to heat up, with a variety of innovative services and growing consumer interest creating pressure on billers to support consolidation and provide mobile options. One of the most active players has been Check, which announced in September a $24 million Series C investment–from Menlo Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, and Pitango Venture Capital–bringing the total investment to $49 million. Already with millions of active users, Check is now offering its mobile bill pay service to billers who want to fill this gap within their payment options.
As a refresher on Check, here is what you need to know:
- Free mobile app to pay and track bills
- Changed its name from Pageonce in May
- Founded in 2007 to provide online account consolidation and tracking
- Expanded into bill payments with an emphasis on mobile (98% of usage)
- Cites 10 million users and averages $2 million/day in bill payments processed
- Users have access to 8,000+ billers by entering user ID and password
- Revenue comes from Read more »
Oct 23, 2013
Today was the start of SGIA Expo, the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association annualÂ trade show.Â The first day has to be considered a success as large crowds came into the Orange County Convention Center and there were numerous new products launched at the show. There were a few things that struck me from the first day.
1.Â Three big digital textile printing equipment suppliers (Hollanders, MS Srl and Reggiani) were atÂ the show either on their own or through new distributors here in the United States.Â It is clear that all three were drawn by the growing soft signage market as they wereÂ featuring smallerÂ soft signage-oriented printers, not their high-end production textile printing solutions. Textiles are generally pretty hot here, as Agfa alsoÂ debuted a textile printing system here today.
2. Solvent is a big target – both HP (Latex 3000) and EFI (VUTEk GS3250lxr Pro) positioned their new solutions as replacements for solvent for production wide format graphics printing.Â I don’t envy PSPs who are facing the decision between these technologies, both offer a long set of advantages over older technology and promise the ability to print a range of new applications.
3. More action at the high-end – SGIA generally caters to bigger PSPs, so it is not surprising that some of the vendors highlight their high-end system advancements at this show. Inca Digital, HP, Agfa, Matan, Durst and EFI all have news related to their top-of-the-line printers.
There will be more on trends from SGIA over the next couple of days. If you are interested, please follow me on Twitter @tgwideformatguy.
Oct 22, 2013
Kodak is leveraging Charlotte, NC-based ImageMark as a customer demonstration center
If you were looking to purchase a production digital printing device, a platesetter, or workflow software, where would you rather see it? I think it’s clear that if possible you’d like to see it in action at a customer site. At a customer site, you could see an actual implementation and ask real-world users all the questions you want about the product: Does it do all they say it can? What problems have you had? Is it upgradeable? Can it handle the types of jobs that I want to run on it? What are the service and consumable costs associated with this product? Of course this type of dialog is ideal, but how many sites would be willing to put up with this on a regular basis? Recently, I got a chance to see how this might work at an innovative print service provider called ImageMark Business Services in Gastonia, North Carolina (just outside Charlotte), which is embarking upon a partnership with Kodak.
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Oct 18, 2013
It seems that in today’s world everybody owns a mobile phone, whether it’s a basic feature phone or a fancy smartphone. One feature of the mobile phone that we can’t seem to get enough of is the camera The 2013 Mobile Imaging survey results showed that nearly 9 out of 10 people surveyed own a mobile phone with camera and furthermore 92% of these respondents use their mobile phone to take pictures.
When camera phone users were asked which three features most influenced their decision when they selected their current phone, one of the most popular motivators was having a built-in camera. Read more »
Oct 11, 2013
Back in February of this year, I blogged about my mission to replace the Nikon D200 DSLR I’ve been shooting with for the past several years. That search would have been easy if Nikon had replaced the D300s SLR (introduced well over five years ago) with a new D400 model, but they haven’t and there don’t seem to be any indications that they will, so I’ve spent this year testing the FX-format full-frame D800 (see the D800 blog), and D600 cameras, and most recently the D7100 DX-format model.
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Oct 8, 2013
Intelpack, India’s main packaging technology show, took place from September 12 to 14. The show was co-located with two other Indian shows on food and drug manufacturing,Â “Foodtek 2013” and “Pharmapack 2013.” The combined event spread over 14,000 square meters of floor space at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai, India. During its three days, over 8,000 visitors saw the offerings of 175 exhibitors, including makers of coding equipment, tray sealing machines, converting machines, carton erectors, flow wrap applicators, and form/fill/seal lines. Many media suppliers exhibited as well, such as for flexible packaging films, folding carton board, corrugate, and seal materials. On balance, it looked like a smaller version of Pack Expo in the U.S., with both Indian and international exhibitors promoting their technology and materials. Meanwhile the overall Indian packaging market has been variously estimated at about $19 billion in annual value, with annual growth of 8% or more, and its food, beverage, and pharmaceuticals industries are quickly modernizing.
Figure 1: Entrance to Intelipack 2013
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Oct 7, 2013
BTA East District Grand Slam Event in Baltimore, MD September 26-27 was insightful, intriguing and had a key message from one of the industry and worlds most aggressive company’s.Â However, before I cover details on the event, I want to share information that I feel should be communicated to the independent channel regarding the Business Technology Association.Â Founded in 1926, the Business Technology Association (BTA) serves office and information technology dealerships, resellers, manufacturers, distributors and services companies. Its core members – office technology dealerships – consult, provide services and sell hardware, software and supplies with the goal of helping businesses maximize their investment in devices and technology.Â The association’s offers a variety of services to its members:
- Educational programs
- Industry analyst information and research
- Legal services
- Publications and guidance
- Peer groups
- District events (East, West, Southeast and Midwest) Read more »