Can Apple’s iPhone Camera Investment Help Drive Camera Sales?

Alan Bullock
 Dec 24, 2015

Apple iPhone Camera Module - 60 Minutes Screen CapThe two-part story about Apple on CBS News’ 60 Minutes last Sunday (December 20, 2015) covered a lot of ground, including CEO Tim Cook filling the shoes of the late Steve Jobs, the company’s legendary commitment to secrecy, the product design process, retail stores, and government access to encrypted personal information. Buried in part one was a 90-second section devoted to the iPhone camera, which revealed a few interesting statistics: Read more »

FAA Drone Registration Process Begins

Ed Lee
 Dec 23, 2015

FAAYou get a drone for Christmas and you want to fly it outdoors right away. Stop!

Before you do, you need to register with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or face the threat of severe penalties. Effective December 21, anyone who owns a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS), also known as a drone, must register with the FAA before they can fly it outdoors. Those who do not register could face civil and criminal penalties. This is all being mandated under the guise of public safety. Registration is free for the first 30 days through a rebate, then $5 after that. Registration is valid for three years. To learn more about the registration process, go to the FAA sUAS registration site. According to the FAA, it expects over 800,000 drones to be sold during this holiday season. Let’s hope the website can handle the impending volume.

Read more »

More Education is Key to Smartphone Photo Printing

David Haueter
 Dec 22, 2015

Smartphones are wonderful devices and it’s hard to imagine life without them now. I think it’s safe to say that many consumers don’t use anywhere near the full capabilities of their smartphones, and this is especially true when it comes to photo printing. It’s a simple fact that most consumers are now using their smartphones as their primary camera. In the recently published InfoTrends 2015 U.S. Photo Printing Study, 63% of survey respondents said they use a smartphone most often as their primary camera, compared to 20% who use a digital point & shoot camera most often.

Smartphones have great potential to boost the photo printing market, as the smartphone can essentially act as a photo kiosk. The problem is that even though most of the leading retailers and online photo service providers have apps available for photo printing and output, many consumers don’t really know how to go about ordering prints from their smartphone, or even making quality photo prints on their own home printer from the device. When respondents to the U.S. Photo Printing Study who have not printed smartphone photos were asked why not, the leading response (at over 34%) was, “I don’t know how.” Over 15% said it was “too difficult” and over 12% said their phone “didn’t support printing.”

Phone slide nn

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What does SaaS bring to CCM?

David Stabel
 Dec 21, 2015

The growing shift toward subscription-based software sales presents both challenges and opportunities for vendors in the customer communications management (CCM) sector—where on-premises licensing has previously been the norm. This blog post explores the impact of CCM as a Service on these vendors.

cloud-hosting

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InPrint 2015 – demonstrating that print is much more than ink on paper

Ralf Schlozer
 

November 2015 saw the second instalment of InPrint, the industrial print show and conference. A total of 3,400 visitors from 68 countries came to the Munich Trade Fair Centre. Compared to the previous event in Hannover, the numbers of exhibitors, attendees and foot print increased by a third.

InPrint focussed on three fields of application: functional, decorative and packaging printing. Unlike traditional printing shows, InPrint has a different attendee profile: Typical visitors to InPrint are companies such as system integrators, materials developers, and manufacturers interested in providing solutions for the industrial/decorative print market. But even if you do not intend on integrating a custom press, the show is a good opportunity to get informed on where printing technology is being used beyond document printing. Print service providers, who visit InPrint, have been able to expand their horizon while visiting vendor booths as well as attending the conference with its extensive program.

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The 2015 InfoTrends Holiday Card

Jim Hamilton
 Dec 15, 2015

This year the InfoTrends holiday card highlights Crossroads for Kids, a Boston-area charity that serves more than 1,000 young people annually with an immersive summer program. Many of those kids also participate in a comprehensive multi-year, year-round program of mentoring and enrichment designed to develop young leaders. InfoTrends has been contributing to Crossroads for Kids for a number of years, most recently through an office yard sale that we conducted in March.

The 2015 InfoTrends holiday card has two particularly interesting aspects. First, it makes use of a colorful and lively depiction of three snowmen, drawn by one of the young people who benefits from the programs provided by Crossroads for Kids. The second interesting aspect relates to the card’s production. A digital die-cut on the front of the card provides a peek into the stars and holiday message on the inside of the card. Printed at ANRO Communications in West Chester, Pennsylvania, the digital die-cut was facilitated using a Highcon Euclid. Many thanks to ANRO and Highcon for their support of this year’s card!

InfoTrends-Crossroads holiday card

The 2013 and 2014 InfoTrends holiday greeting cards also have interesting backstories. Read more »

Exploring the Future of Payments at Money20/20

Matt Swain
 

Loathed Tasks - Cleaning Bathrooms and Paying Bills

What is the most loathed household task for Americans? It turns out that it is cleaning bathrooms. The second most common response, however, was paying bills. In fact, 32% of the 2,000 consumers we surveyed had missed a payment due date in the last year, most often because they simply forgot to pay. Stress plays a significant role in why consumers dislike paying bills.

Why Consumers Dislike Paying Bills

These insights came from research that we conducted earlier this Fall in preparation for Money20/20, Read more »

Annual Camera Wrap-Up – Mirrorless Models March In

Carrie Sylvester
 Dec 14, 2015

For the last three years we have done a year-end round up of the cameras that were introduced. It’s always an interesting exercise to take a look back on what features and technologies vendors have chosen to feature in their products.

Although there were many, 72, cameras introduced this year, the number pales in comparison to years past. That number of models, although impressive, is over 20% lower than the 98 models introduced in 2014. Just a few years ago in 2012, there were 146 models introduced almost double the number of cameras introduced this year (Source: InfoTrends U.S. Camera Model Tracker). Just because there were fewer cameras released doesn’t mean there weren’t some great new cameras.

We have broken out some of the introductions by popular features and functions, including Wi-Fi connectivity and mirrorless. Read more »

Sharp National Dealer Meeting – Turning The Corner, Abounding Enthusiasm

David Ramos
 Dec 11, 2015

I have just returned from the Sharp National Dealer Show held at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas.  Quite frankly I could do a positive write up on the event based on that fact alone just because I love Texas!  But I’ll keep it professional and focus on the host (Sharp) and their event content but first let’s get some housekeeping items out of the way before I do a deep dive on the most exciting facets of the event.

Unless you have been living on the moon, you know that Sharp has struggled financially.  In May, they unveiled an annual loss of $1.9bn.  However, my prediction is that Sharp will never die and they will continue to evolve and adapt.  This is not to understate the issues they face, only to emphasize the fact that Sharp, like many companies that have confronted this class of challenges before them will most certainly evolve and adapt.  Executive Managing Officer of Sharp Corporation and President of Business Solutions, Mr Kazushi Mukai stated in the General Session to open the event, “As you have read in the news, Sharp is struggling through the restructuring process of transforming from its legacy categories which have been accumulated throughout history.  However, while it has taken a lot of time, we are basically through that change.”  So, let me make the statement again, they (Sharp) will continue to exit certain businesses; they will most certainly evolve and adapt to the changing industry landscape, but SharpWillNeverDie.

The message throughout the event was on Sharp’s commitment to B2B business, not consumer expansion.  Doug Albregts, President – Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America, stated “The B2B world is about relationships and we will work hard to expand your opportunities in this market” and have positioned Sharp for growth through B2B with a number of tactics:

  1. People
  2. Training
  3. Simplifying Programs
  4. Improving Delivery Times
  5. Working Capital
  6. Tech Data
Doug Albregts

Doug Albregts, President – Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America discusses relationships and partnerships.

How has this strategy and execution started to pay off?  Sharp had their 6th straight fiscal of revenue growth for SIICA despite exiting non-core businesses.  In spite of all the challenges, MFP revenues also grew 6.5% over the prior period and the profit story is equally impressive.  Last fiscal, the Sharp US Document Business was one of the most profitable in their history.  SIICA grew its operating profit by 145% vs. the prior fiscal period.  That is a foundation of results they can continue to build on.

The Sharp team was very excited and enthusiastic about this meeting, and rightly so, as it kicked off the strategy that Doug Albregts and his team had carefully been building over the last 2 years and of course, they also had some new print devices to launch.  New products from workgroup color to high speed mono…I want to be brutally honest here, I am NOT a widget guy.  The widget is the least fascinating piece of our industry to me, even back to the time when I was selling said widgets down the street in my first job at Xerox.  I am more from the business vein of building solid relationships with my clients and solving business problems, the widget is just a mechanism to help accomplish that (I can hear the collective whining from the industry “Gear Heads” as I write this piece, get over it Gear Heads).  Are we clear on my feelings about this?  Because it’s really important as to what I am about to write next, which is something I have never ever once said or written, ever.  One of the most exciting moments during the event, if not the most exciting moment was the launch of 10 new clean sheet design A3 product line in the 30 – 60 PPM range (click the link and read all about it). All models will use the same engine, accessories and most importantly common parts and supplies, making this one of the easiest product lines for service operations to support.

Did you read that last part?  This is how exciting it was for the participants, just so I paint you a clear picture.  When Shane Coffey, Senior Director, Product Management at Sharp Electronics, presented the new product line up, Dealer Principals, Sales and Services leaders, all in the audience literally shouted with enthusiasm and everyone in the audience was vigorously applauding…over a widget launch people, a widget launch!

image1

Shane Coffey, Senior Director, Product Management & Mike Marusic, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Supply Chain and Service discuss launch of 10 new models built on clean sheet design.

Now here is why the announcement was met with such enthusiasm by Sharp constituents.  Almost 70% of operating income contribution in the dealer business model (most commonly and affectionately referred to as the Tom Johnson model) is derived from service operations.  So when you create a product platform that locks in the same cost structure for the 30ppm device that you will receive on the 60ppm device and all speeds in between, and reduce parts and supply expense and oh by the way, reduce “Car Stock” for technicians, you immediately drive; improved cash flow for your dealers, improved operational efficiency for your dealers, and improved profitability for your dealers.  One of the number one complaints I hear from dealer principals and service leaders is that of their manufacturers developing too many models with no commonality from one product to the next and increasing the difficulty for the dealer to manage the service component of their business.

Dealer principals and service leaders repeatedly state their challenges when it comes to service efficiencies coming in variations of the following:

  • Predictability of service events
  • Risk of bad products
  • Parts and supply stocking and ordering
  • Financial risks due to improper inventory management
  • Parts car stocking and deployment
  • Territory structure at the technician level
  • Hitting service productivity benchmarks

The new product line up was designed based off Dealer feedback and will certainly have a positive impact for all of the Sharp partners.  Sharp’s product fair showcase was also excellent and one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, with over 60 partners showcased such as YSoft, DocuWare, MWAi Forza, Print Audit, the Business Technology Association and many more.

Sharp has made significant improvements in its restructuring, they continue to invest in the office technology space, they have further expanded their partner network, and, most importantly, they are highly committed to the office equipment dealer channel with the right programs and product design to improve dealer profitability and operations.  With a strategy like this Sharp, will never die!”

Keeping things Simple with HP Digital Capture

Anne Valaitis
 Dec 4, 2015

On December 3rd, HP Inc. announced new offerings designed to create a more efficient and streamlined capture environment. According to HP Inc., these new solutions will target deployment of digital capture in a variety of business environments in a simpler, more cost effective manner. In addition to the benefits and economics of a digital capture solution, HP also made an announcement of new scanners and MFPs with advanced features designed to tackle paper-centric workflows.
Data from the recent InfoTrends Multi-Client study entitled, The Future of Scanning, revealed that of the 500 respondents, 47% stated that shifting from paper processes to electronic was a business priority. Paper processes, often thought of as antiquated and cumbersome are being targeted as areas of transition and automation. Vendors and providers are seeking not only to identify inefficiencies in processes but apply convenient low cost solutions as well.

HP pursues the goal of delivering a full featured digital capture solution without the need of investing in a complex, broadly featured system. In addition to a lower cost of implementation, a rapid deployment of the solution is expected with the help of templated workflows to common process areas.  The HP Scan Configuration Service, when bundled with an installation of HP Embedded Capture, provides for a low touch workflow process initiation. Template-based scan flows are available for industries such as healthcare and financial services with more said to come. These templates can be used for common, repeatable tasks within these often demanding process areas with little or “light” configuration. The new service functionality is embedded without the need for an additional server or heavy infrastructure burden. HP has set the pricing at a one-time fee of $25 per device, when bundled with the purchase and installation of HP’s Embedded Capture.

In addition to the new JetAdvantage Solutions, HP announced three new ScanJet devices and an expansion of their A3 MFP portfolio. The ScanJet model Pro 2500f1 and 3500f1 are personal desktop flatbed scanners replacing aging models in this segment class. The ScanJet 4500fn1 is an entry level network connected scanner with features such as scan to mobile via wi-fi and wi-fi direct, HP JetAdvantage Capture App and paper handling using HP EveryPage technology suite. The Scanjet 4500fn1 is also replacing aging models in the segment class of devices.

Model Scanjet 4500fn1:


 

 

 

 

 

The HP MFP S965dn and HP MFP S975dn models are for light production printing environments and workflow onramp with support for HP Capture and Route. Each is 65 and 75 page per minute print speed respectively with a variety of finishing options available; fold, insert, trim, saddle stitch, as well as punching. The 10.1” touch screen offers a high resolution preview and retractable keyboard. Up to 150k pages monthly provide the highest print volumes in the HP MFP portfolio.
Model S900 Series:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An easy, low cost solution to digital capture, along with pre-built templates for common business process workflow automation is an attractive solution as businesses of varied sizes are working through activities related to conversion. InfoTrends believes businesses will continue to seek out ways to transition laborious processes to a more streamlined, automated approach. Offering solutions that can address this, in a low cost, uncomplicated way with paths to expand will serve as a successful strategy for vendors competing in our industry.

 

 

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