September 09, 2011

Dan David, A Pioneer In Automatic Photo Machines, Dies

LONDON -- Businessman and philanthropist Dan David died on Sept. 5 in a London hospital after a serious illness. He was 82.

Dan David, A Pioneer In Automatic Photo Machines, Dies | Articles | Articles | Vending Times Inc.

David prospered in the photobooth business, starting his career in the early 1960s by purchasing a franchise from Photo-Me International with a $200,000 loan from a French businessman who became his partner for many years. David eventually became the principal shareholder in Photo-Me.

David served on the Photo-Me board from 1968 to 2007, holding the title of executive chairman twice and nonexecutive chairman once, and from July 2009 as a nonexecutive director. In 2005, Photo-Me honored the automatic photo machine pioneer with the title Life President of the Company.

When David was chairman of Photo-Me in 1999, the value of his and board member Serge Crasnianski's shares were reportedly valued at £210 million and £200 million, respectively.

He was also the founder of the Dan David Prize, which awards three $1 million prizes annually to people who contribute to human achievement in the realms of past, present and future. To support the philanthropic program, David created a foundation with $100 million endowment. The first prizes were awarded in 2002.

Born in Romania, David had been a member of a Zionist youth movement. He became a press photographer after finishing his university studies in economics. In 1958, his newspaper asked him to go to West Germany on an assignment. When he requested an exit permit from the Romanian secret police, his past as a Zionist was revealed and the newspaper fired him. He left Romania for France in 1960 and later settled in Israel.

"Dan was a charming man who continued to work with tremendous energy, despite his advancing years," said Crasnianski, Photo-Me's chief executive. "He contributed more than anyone to the growth of the group from the 1960s to the 1990s, and continued to be a wise and respected colleague. Our thoughts are with his wife and son at this time."

David is survived by his wife, Gabriela, and a son, Ariel.





Dan David, A Pioneer In Automatic Photo Machines, Dies | Articles | Articles | Vending Times Inc.

Posted by staff at 11:25 AM

July 18, 2011

Photo-Me Profit Increases On Cost Cuts

LONDON -- On the heels of cost-cutting measures and robust performance of its core business, Photo-Me International said its adjusted pretax profit rose 28% million for the year ended April 30, 2011. The British photobooth maker and operator, which calls itself "the instant service equipment group," said it expects improved financial performance over the coming year.

Photo-Me Profit Increases On Cost Cuts | Articles | Articles | Vending Times Inc.

For the year ended April 30, the company posted an adjusted pretax profit of £18 million ($28.9 million) compared with £14 million ($22.5 million) a year ago. Revenue fell 1% to £219.5 million ($352 million).

A 22.1% increase in adjusted operating profit was driven by strong performance in the operations division, which consists of photobooths, digital photo kiosks, photobook makers, amusements, kiddie rides and business-service equipment. These operations account for 80% of Photo-Me's total revenue.

Photo-Me said its adjusted EBITDA increased by 7.5% to £47.6 million. There was significant improvement in the net cash position to £40.7 million (including advance rental receipts of £8.2 million on an investment property). And the company announced an increase of 60% in the dividend to 2 pence per share.

"Operational improvement was due to a combination of a good performance in the key markets in our operations division as well as further efficiency gains from the recent restructuring plans," said John Lewis, Photo-Me's nonexecutive chairman.

The company said its photobooths, which are efficient and competitively priced providers of ID and fun photographs, represent a mature cash generative business. Over the year, Photo-Me said it increased the number of photobooth locations by almost 1,000, making for 22,400 total sites internationally.

(At year-end, the total number of Photo-Me vending machines sited worldwide was 43,700, compared with 43,850 in 2010. Photo-Me said the unit decrease was the result of a reduction in the number of its "low-cost amusement machines.")

Photo-Me said it plans to grow its photobooth business over the next year by "optimizing site coverage" and by introducing new products.

One promising product is described as a "designer booth," which supports social networking applications. Photo-Me partnered with Philippe Starck, the acclaimed French product designer, to create the new photobooth. Starck is best-known for his works in the "New Design" style. His work ranges from interiors to mass-produced consumer goods such as toothbrushes, chairs, houses and now coin-op machines.

Some 30 Starck photobooths have been installed in France. Photo-Me said it plans to place several hundred more throughout Europe over the next year.

Photo-Me has vending locations in more than a dozen countries, but they are concentrated in the UK, France and Japan. Expansion into China remained static last year, but it offers greatest opportunity for the international photobooth company in the future. Photo-Me is licensed to operate its equipment in Beijing.

The photobook maker is another opportunity Photo-Me is exploring. In late 2010, the company said it signed a memorandum of understanding with a major OEM for the distribution of its Photobook Builder.

The product is part of Photo-Me's Photobook suite, designed to be used in conjunction with a digital minilab. Photobook Builder scores, folds, glues, binds and trims product without any operator intervention, producing photobooks fully finished and ready for delivery to the patron.

Photo-Me said the memorandum of understanding contained a firm commitment from the OEM for the delivery of 1,000 machines by July 15. Over an 18-month period, Photo-Me said the manufacturer is targeting sales of 5,000 machines through its existing channels of distribution around the world.

Photo-Me Profit Increases On Cost Cuts | Articles | Articles | Vending Times Inc.

Posted by staff at 02:59 PM

November 03, 2010

Whitech to release new Imagine kiosks software

New release of photo kiosk software named "Imagine" by Whitech include desktop suite. Smart phone support for iPhone, iPad and Android. Also new CloudNET formed by FUJIFILM.

Photo & Imaging News: Whitech to release new Imagine kiosks software

Whitech Software Solutions has released its next generation Photo.Teller kiosk software Imagine, which will be available to customers in time for Christmas.

“The all new Imagine Kiosk software is a quantum leap forward that will take retailers and the general photo channel to a whole new level of flexibility, integration and consumer ease of use,” said Whitech managing director Steve Delnawaz.

Delnawaz said the release is a direct result of development based on the Imagine web service offered through the majority of major retail chains across Australia.

"Whitech's previous version of Photo.Teller software has had a major impact and stronghold on the photo kiosk market for many years and is considered by many as an industry standard by which all others offerings are compared," he said.

The company claimed operators will an “unprecedented level of control and flexibility allowing for in-store and external printing/production through to being able to manage all promotional tools and marketing capabilities and general management across all Imagine Kiosks and the related Imagine applications suite with single web-based administration tool.”

"The all new Imagine kiosks will offer the highest level of user ease of use and far greater flexibility allowing consumers to start an order with Imagine Web at home and finish and pay at the retail Kiosk in-store or vice versa if they wish," Delnawaz said.

The Imagine kiosk software will be followed by the release of the Imagine Desktop Application for consumer use at home or office, as well as Imagine smart phone applications for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Related Link on FUJIFILM seeking solutions in CloudNET unit.

FUJIFILM Australia has launched a new business unit named CloudNET that will pursue the development and commercialisation of a broader range of industry relevant value-adding service capabilities.

“CloudNET will provide a range of solutions that will help customers grow and better manage their business capabilities and opportunities through the provision of digital asset management services, analogue to digital transition programs, bespoke application integration and a range of pay as you go Software-as-a-Service and online storage solutions,” he said.


Posted by staff at 10:39 AM

October 21, 2010

Facebook Hits Bull's-Eye with Photo Printing at Target Kiosks

Kodak photo stations in Target add Facebook as picture print source.

Facebook Hits Bull's-Eye with Photo Printing at Target Kiosks


By Tammy Wolf
TMCnet Copy Editor

Facebook (News - Alert) has hit another bull’s-eye with its move to team up with Target in which Facebookers can now browse and print their pictures posted on the social networking site at the retail store’s Kodak (News - Alert) photo kiosks.


According to a press release, getting the photos off the website and into your hands requires little effort. All shoppers need is their Facebook login information when visiting the kiosk, which will be connected to the Web and will still offer all photo printing options, including DVD slideshows, greeting cards, photo books and collages.
"Kodak has always been a leader in innovative photography solutions and Target (News - Alert) is proud to be the first mass retailer to offer this creative solution nationwide," said Mark Schindele, Target's senior vice president of merchandising, in a statement. "We know our guests are increasingly sharing their photos online, and Kodak picture kiosks with social network connectivity allow them access to their favorite photos along with the convenience of printing the images during their regular Target shopping trip."
Target, which refers to the new feature as “social network connectivity,” said Facebook is the only photo source that it is currently teamed up with, but suggested other prospects may occur down the line.
Just this week, Facebook developers “scratched an itch” and introduced a new drag-and-drop interface that allows users to change the sequence of photos within an album without having to click the “Edit Album Info.” In addition, Facebookers can shuffle the order of entire albums of photos with just a click of a mouse. According to a Facebook representative, this new feature is one that users requested more than any other.
This month has been epic for Facebook, as the site has majorly revamped itself in terms of photo features. It recently added capability for high-resolution images (which transitioned from 720 pixels to 2,048 pixels on the largest edge), rebuilt its uploading tool for faster and easier processing and tagging, changed the photo viewer to include a dark frame around pictures, and accelerated navigation.
In addition, Facebook also added a data download feature, which can give users more control over their information but enables photo-browsers to pull down photos in bulk.
With three billion photos already uploaded by its 500 million users, it’s safe to assume Facebook will continue to keep its eye on the prize in terms of satisfying its photo-hungry audience.

Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet copy editor. Previously she was assistant to the editor at The Darien Times, a weekly newspaper in Darien, Conn., where she edited submissions, did page layout and design and helped manage the newspaper�s website. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

Facebook Hits Bull's-Eye with Photo Printing at Target Kiosks

Posted by staff at 12:06 PM

September 23, 2010

Kodak and Walmart Canada Renew Agreement

Kodak announces renewal signed with Walmart Canada. 320 locations across the country. Version 4 & new APEX. Nicki Zongrone is GM for Retail Systems Solutions at Kodak. New emphasis on processing video. Integration with Facebook and Picasa.

Kodak Partners with Walmart Canada to Raise the Bar on Retail Photo Services - MarketWatch

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sep 23, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Eastman Kodak Company (EK 3.84, -0.03, -0.78%) today announced that it has renewed an agreement with Walmart Canada Corp. to be the principal supplier of retail photo kiosks and dry lab systems, consumable products, and services across the retailer's entire chain of photo centers.

Walmart Canada is the leading photo retailer in Canada, with more than 320 locations across the country. Kodak will continue to provide media, supplies, and service to Walmart Canada's existing behind-the-counter lab systems and instant photo kiosks. In addition, Kodak will convert up to 100 Walmart Canada photo centers from traditional wet lab systems to KODAK Adaptive Picture Exchange (APEX) dry labs over the next 12 months. These new installations demonstrate the flexibility and scalability of the APEX system, as they are all higher-volume print locations that deliver thousands of prints per day.

With the new APEX labs behind the counter, Walmart Canada will expand its photo service offer to consumers to include premium products such as greeting cards, calendars, collages, and photo books. APEX is a modular and scalable platform, so the retailer has considerable flexibility for customization and can choose the APEX and kiosk features that best match the footprint and traffic of each store, while also enabling robust and trackable print-to-store connections from the Internet. Kodak will also be outfitting the APEX installations with duplex and wide format printers for creating dual-sided cards and photo books, as well as poster prints. The decision to work with Kodak followed a head-to-head comparison between Kodak's retail solutions and other competitive solutions for both equipment and support.

"Kodak has been a strong partner, helping Walmart Canada to build a leadership position in photo retailing with innovative and cost effective solutions," said Kevin Sorby, Director of Technical Services, Walmart Canada Corp. "We see APEX and the enhanced KODAK Kiosks as a hub that can drive incremental revenue and increased customer satisfaction through new products and faster, easier service."

In addition to innovating behind the counter, all of Walmart Canada's photo centers will take advantage of the new KODAK Picture Kiosk Software 4.0 enhancements, including Video Snapshots feature, which lets consumers easily select images from video clips, convert them into digital pictures, and then use them to create prints or premium products in seconds; Pet Eye Retouch feature, which allows pet owners to fix the unnatural color that occurs in pets' eyes when photographed with a flash; Facial Retouch feature, which automatically identifies facial imperfections and reduces or removes them to match the skin's original color and texture; and Social Network Connectivity feature, which enables consumers to download images from KODAK Gallery, FACEBOOK site, and PICASA Web Albums program, and use them to create prints and premium photo products.

"Walmart Canada was the first Canadian retailer to offer instant kiosk based photo services in all of its stores and is engaging consumers at the photo center and helping them experience the wide range of photo products that fit into their lifestyles," said Nicki Zongrone, General Manager, Retail Systems Solutions and Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. "We look forward to introducing them to the exciting new and highly profitable print and premium products that our award winning APEX and industry leading new KODAK Kiosk software enhancements enable."

Another key factor in forging a strong relationship with Walmart Canada has been Kodak's ability to help Walmart Canada fit its photo center into the retailer's overall sustainability strategy with systems that are highly energy efficient, as well as highly efficient in media and consumables usage to minimize environmental footprint and waste. APEX uses 70 to 90 percent less energy than comparably-sized traditional chemical-based photo-finishing equipment. On average, the potential electricity cost savings are around $1,500 annually. It also consumes no water, saving an estimated 5,000 liters of water annually when compared to manufacturers' specifications for comparably-sized wet minilabs.

"We see the benefit of using no chemistry in our lab systems. Making our stores better for the environment is a key focus for Walmart Canada," said Sorby.

About Kodak

As the world's foremost imaging innovator, Kodak helps consumers, businesses, and creative professionals unleash the power of pictures and printing to enrich their lives.

To learn more, visit www.kodak.com and follow our blogs and more at www.kodak.com/go/followus.

More than 75 million people worldwide manage, share and create photo gifts online at KODAK Gallery--join today at www.kodakgallery.com.

(KODAK is a trademark of Eastman Kodak Company.)

2010

SOURCE: Eastman Kodak Company

Posted by staff at 07:50 AM

April 05, 2010

Cruise Ships - New Photo Management Solution, PicsWare

New metatag image software for photo processing with special application for cruise ships. Nice stuff!

New Photo Management Solution, PicsWare, Simplifies the Picture Tagging, Viewing, and Printing Process for the Cruise and Tourism Industry

Analytical Design Solutions, Inc. (ADSI), developers of KioWare Kiosk Software, and OneSource Interactive have announced the release of PicsWare, a portable photo tagging solution that sends pictures to print-on-demand kiosks. PicsWare enables professional photographers to tag photos by scanning ID cards on a handheld computer and transfers the data to a self-service kiosk where customers can quickly locate and print pictures. Targeted towards the cruise, tourism and hospitality industries, PicsWare simplifies this process, improving the customer experience, increasing revenue opportunities, and making cruise ships more environmentally friendly.

(PRWEB) March 18, 2010 -- Analytical Design Solutions, Inc. (ADSI), developers of the KioWare Kiosk Software, and OneSource Interactive have announced the release of PicsWare (http://www.picsware.com), a portable photo tagging solution that syncs up and sends pictures to print-on-demand kiosks.

PicsWare is a photo management solution that streamlines the picture-taking, tagging, viewing, printing and
purchasing process by integrating a handheld computer and attached card scanner, Wi-Fi camera and print-on-demand kiosk stations. PicsWare allows photographers to take a picture and scan a passenger’s ID card in order to tag the photo as that passenger. The system integrates a Wi-Fi Camera with a portable handheld computer running PicsWare Mobile. The computer has a card scanner, which tags the picture to that passenger and syncs it up to a centralized server. The server then distributes the pictures to print-on-demand kiosk stations, which attract customers by rotating through the various pictures snapped.

Once at the kiosk, customers can retrieve their photos by simply scanning their ID card at the kiosk; they also have the ability to search by time, date, event, group and other activity related criteria. Customers can then print their pictures, download or share them with family and friends online.

PicsWare is designed for the travel, tourism and hospitality industry but is uniquely suited for the cruise industry. Millions of people cruise each year; cruise photographers snap numerous pictures of each passenger, which are typically printed and posted on the corridor walls of the ship. Edward Crowley, co-founder of PicsWare states, “It can sometimes be difficult to locate one picture among the sea of other smiling faces. PicsWare creates a more efficient way to find these pictures, while increasing the overall passenger experience.”

The software can provide a rapid Return-On-Investment (ROI), multiple opportunities to increase revenue, and the ability to gain press attention for going green. ROI can be seen immediately as utilizing a self-service kiosk frees up wall space for other profitable uses, such as advertising. This self-service kiosk solution also eliminates the need for manned Point of Sale (POS) stations.

This platform also provides an opportunity for supplementary revenue streams through ads and promotions on the kiosk, as well as post-cruise purchasing opportunities. Passengers can charge the pictures to their room and print on-demand at the kiosks. The pictures can also be shared online after the cruise, allowing passengers to share with others and giving them a second chance to purchase the pictures. Sharing the pictures with friends and family will promote the cruise experience and influence them in joining the next time.

At the same time, this helps to make the ship more environmentally-friendly by eliminating the need to print pictures that aren’t purchased. The kiosks can offer a more “green” marketing approach by grabbing attention with a secondary monitor or other forms of digital signage, flashing the pictures in front of consumers.

PicsWare’s simplification of the picture-taking, tagging, viewing, printing and purchasing process helps cruise ships to become more environmentally friendly while improving the customer experience and increasing revenue opportunities.

About PicsWare
PicsWare (www.picsware.com) is a joint venture between ADSI and OneSource Interactive (http://www.onesourceinteractive.com/), veterans of the kiosk industry. ADSI is an IT consulting company that has developed numerous and varying award-winning kiosk applications since 2001. ADSI has also developed the KioWare (http://www.kioware.com) retail product line of kiosk system software that secures the operating system. There are over 25,000 licenses of KioWare in over 60 countries.

###

PicsWare
Ed Crowley
717.843.4790

Posted by staff at 09:06 AM

December 09, 2009

Photo Kiosks - Photo-Me Declines on "Hopeful" Forecast

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Photo-Me International Plc, a U.K. operator of photo booths, fell the most since February after saying it is “hopeful, rather than confident” of making a profit in the second half.


source on Bloomberg

Photo-Me declined 13 percent in London trading today. “The second half historically tends to be much the weaker of the two, in particular for Operations, and market conditions remain extremely difficult,” the Bookham, England-based company said in a Regulatory News Service statement today.

Photo-Me operates amusement machines and digital printing kiosks as well as photo booths. Net income attributable to owners of the parent for the six months ended Oct. 31 rose to 8 million pounds ($13 million) up from 1.7 million pounds in the same period a year earlier, the company said in the statement.

Photo-Me will pay an interim dividend of 0.25 pence per share, the first since 2007.

“We will look at the finances of the company and make sure we pay a dividend going forward if we can as well, that’s of course the ambition,” Chairman Hugo Swire said in a phone interview today.

Photo-Me fell 6 pence, to close at 39 pence, giving it a market value of 140.4 million pounds.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Martin in London bmartin38@bloomberg.net.

Posted by staff at 12:35 PM

July 30, 2009

Lucidiom Launches new Photo Kiosk terminal

Lucidiom this week announced the release of a new photo kiosk, the APM 3700. The new model was introduced at the PRO show earlier this spring.

“A major issue for retailers today is the look and feel of their shops and the sleek and skinny APM 3700 is designed with that in mind,” Lucidiom's president, Steve Giordano, Jr, said as part of the announcement.

“Space, security, aesthetics and noise levels were all considerations for this latest APM model. For instance, the APM 3700 is 30 percent smaller in depth and will accommodate just about every retail fixture.

It also boasts cable control – all the cables and cords can be contained within its shell allowing retailers to better merchandise their fixtures without concern for bothersome cables.”

Picture of unit

Posted by staff at 08:30 AM

May 01, 2009

Photo Kiosks - Business Update for PNI

PNI providing business update today in conference call. Background includes news about Fred Meyer and KingSoopers for new photo sites and over 700 software deployments.

PNI Digital Media Provides Business Update and Date of Release for
Second Quarter 2009 Financial Results PhotoChannel to Release
Results and Host Investor Call at 4:30 pm Eastern on May 13th, 2009

2009-04-30 14:21:06 -

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 04/30/09 -- PNI Digital Media (TSX VENTURE: PN)(OTCBB: PNWIF), ("PNI" or "PhotoChannel"), the leading innovator in digital photography and media solutions for retailers, will release its unaudited financial statements for its second quarter ending March 31st, 2009 on Wednesday, May 13th, 2009. A conference call will be held at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:30 p.m. Pacific, on May 13th, 2009. Kyle Hall, Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Rallo, President, and Simon Bodymore, Chief Financial Officer, will host the conference call.

BUSINESS UPDATE:

The Company remains very focused on its goals for the current fiscal year, and wishes to advise shareholders that record order volumes continued through the recent quarter. For the quarter ending March 31st, 2009, overall retail value of sales processed through the PNI Digital Media Platform on behalf of our retail partners was up 213% over the same quarter in 2008. Total orders processed for the quarter were up 153% over the same quarter last year, with an average daily order volume of 31,000 orders.

NEW BUSINESS:

PNI is pleased to announce that it has been selected by Fred Meyer and King Soopers (both Kroger companies) to deliver their next generation online photo site and kiosk. PNI will deliver two new photo sites branded for Fred Meyer and King Soopers, as well as over 700 kiosk software deployments. The kiosk software is part of PNI's "Connected
Kiosk" program and was recently acquired as part of the purchase of Works Media, now integrated to the PNI Platform. Besides providing 1-hour print capabilities, both the online site and the kiosks will be fully outfitted with a large selection of gift products. The new services will start being deployed in the current quarter.

About PNI Digital Media- Founded in 1995, PNI Digital Media (also known
as "PNI" or "PhotoChannel") operates the PNI Digital Media Platform,
which provides transaction processing and order routing services for
major retailers. The PNI Digital Media Platform connects consumer
ordered digital content, whether from in-store kiosks, online sites or
desktop software, with retailers that have on-demand manufacturing
capabilities for the production of merchandise such as photos and
business documents. PNI Digital Media successfully generates millions of
transactions each year for retailers and their thousands of locations
worldwide.

For more information please visit www.pnimedia.com : www.pnimedia.com
.


Posted by staff at 12:01 PM

March 04, 2009

PMA Reports - Touchsmart Showing Up

touchsmart_120.jpgSeveral companies were using HP's touch-screen desktop PC, the TouchSmart, loaded with their own software to let PMA attendees try out photo-printing solutions, and retail store kiosk software.

HP TouchSmart moonlighting as photo kiosk
by Erica Ogg

LAS VEGAS--Yes, this is a camera show, but as the PCs reporter, I couldn't help but notice that Hewlett-Packard had a distinct presence outside its own booth here.

Several companies were using HP's touch-screen desktop PC, the TouchSmart, loaded with their own software to let PMA attendees try out photo-printing solutions, and retail store kiosk software.

Digilabs, which makes free software for printing photo books and calendars, was using the touch-screen desktop to demonstrate its software. DNP Photo also had TouchSmarts in its booth to show how its Tomo software works. Tomo lets users upload photos online at home and then print them at a retail location.
touchsmart_220.jpg
Also spied was Storefront.com, which had a half-dozen TouchSmarts available for use. Storefront.com makes software for retail store printing kiosks as well, and is hardware-neutral, according to a representative for the company. It's the first time Storefront.com has used the TouchSmart to demo its product, but the employee said they're likely to use it again since it's "relatively cheap" compared with commercial kiosks.

A Digilabs employee shows his company's software on the TouchSmart PC.

It's certainly not "relatively cheap" for a desktop PC. HP has heavily promoted the TouchSmart as a family PC, for use in rooms like the kitchen by suburban moms. Desktops in general are a dying form factor for PC makers, so maybe this consumer-oriented computer has a chance at a second career as a commercial PC.

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who writes about consumer electronics and PCs, mostly as chief correspondent for Crave. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur. E-mail Erica
erica.ogg@cnet.com

Posted by staff at 12:14 PM

March 02, 2009

Acquisitions - Noritsu picks up Lucidiom photo kiosks

Noritsu America Corporation to Acquire Lucidiom Inc., a Market Leader in Retail Photo Kiosks and Online Photo Services. Lucidiom bigger clients/footprints include Walgreens.

BUENA PARK, CA - Noritsu America Corporation, a global leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced that it has entered into an exclusive letter of intent to acquire Lucidiom Inc. a market leader in self-service retail photo kiosks and online services. By acquiring Lucidiom, Noritsu will be positioned to deliver the most complete offering of proven photo imaging solutions and services for the retail industry.

Part of Noritsu's strategy to provide comprehensive digital imaging solutions, the acquisition of Lucidiom will enable Noritsu to develop a strong in-store and web-based presence for retail photo delivery and consumer-driven creative photo products and services. The combination of two industry leaders, Noritsu and Lucidiom will offer completely integrated photo solutions which can deliver maximum choice for consumers and more revenue-generating options for retailers at the point of sale or via the web.

"This acquisition is an important step forward in our vision to provide the retail industry a compelling single source photo solution," said Mr. Akihiko Kuwabara, president of Noritsu America Corporation. "We are also broadening the retailer's opportunities for new sources of revenue via the web."

Commenting about the pending acquisition, Stephen Giordano, Sr., founder, chairman and CEO at Lucidiom Inc., said: "Our focus since the beginning has been to empower the creativity of the consumer through the finest quality photo kiosk and web experience, while at the same time maximizing the return for the retailer. Now, we will have the opportunity to work closely with Noritsu's large retail customer base, providing truly innovative and creative photo products and services that will drive revenue growth and build consumer loyalty. We're delighted to be leading the industry's social expression revolution."

While post-acquisition plans are still being developed, Noritsu intends to retain Lucidiom's workforce, including its senior management. It is expected that Lucidiom will continue to operate out of its Vienna, Virginia headquarters facility after the acquisition. The acquisition, which is expected to close in Q2 of calendar year 2009, is subject to final agreement on terms as well as customary closing conditions, including approval by the stockholders of Lucidiom Inc.

About Noritsu America Corporation

Noritsu is a leading global manufacturer of professional digital imaging equipment, and a leading global provider of high-quality photo printing solutions to retailers, photo studios and other print-intensive environments. With over 15,000 system installations in North America, and availability in over 180 countries worldwide, Noritsu has been at the forefront of innovation in the image processing industry for nearly six decades, introducing revolutionary technologies such as the world's first one-hour film developing and printing system. Noritsu continues to build its legacy with its advanced line of award-winning imaging hardware and software products and solutions that offer consumers greater quality and choice in preserving their memories, while delivering high performance, flexibility and profit-making potential to Noritsu customers. Noritsu has implemented a strategy to engineer environmentally friendly products and operations that include chemical-free processing and reduced power requirements.

For more information on Noritsu and its comprehensive line of products, visit www.noritsu.com or call (800) 521-3686.

About Lucidiom Inc.

With more than 55,000 APM photo kiosks deployed worldwide, Lucidiom Inc. is the leading provider of social expression imaging solutions. Lucidiom's flexible and brand-independent digital photofinishing system, known as Lucidiom EQ, enables retailers to develop in-store and online revenue streams beyond the standard 4x6 print and empowers consumers to express themselves through images. Lucidiom EQ runs on the APM Network and features the best business systems, software tools and equipment: the APM photo kiosk; scrapbooking and creative content; the EQ Printer; APM ProfitWatcher statistics tracker; Photo Finale Web portal and the Lab 50 management system. For more information about how Lucidiom drives social expression in the digital imaging world, visit www.lucidiom.com.

The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. Noritsu shall not be held liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. All non-Noritsu brand names, product names, or trademarks herein belong to their respective holders.


Contacts:
Cynthia Nowicki
Noritsu America Corporation
714-521-9040 x6331
Email Contact

Jenny Pareti
Lucidiom Inc.
703-564-3400 x182
571-201-2816 (cell)
Email Contact


Posted by staff at 08:26 AM

February 26, 2009

Photo kiosks - Photochannel Reports Profit

Photochannel or PNI reports record revenue for the first quarter. Also finalizes purchase of all WorksMedia assets. Worksmedia provides photo software to approximately 5,000 units. PNI used to be known as Pixology.

Record Revenues and Record EBITDA for Q1 Fiscal 2009
February 25, 2009: 04:00 PM ET


PhotoChannel Networks Inc. (TSX VENTURE: PN)(OTCBB: PNWIF), the leading innovator in digital photography and media solutions for retailers, reports its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 for the period ended December 31, 2008. All amounts are expressed in Canadian dollars. The following discussion is qualified in its entirety by reference to the company's financial statements and accompanying management discussion and analysis, which are accessible on the SEC'S website at www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

FIRST QUARTER FISCAL 2009 HIGHLIGHTS

- Net profit of $940,644 versus a loss of $1,082,600 for the comparable period of fiscal 2008

- Record revenues of $7.2 million, up 67% year-over-year

- Transactional revenues of $5.8 million, up 91% year-over-year

- Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA(1) of $2.8 million, compared to an adjusted EBITDA loss of $117,483 in the first quarter of 2008 (adjusted EBITDA defined as net profit plus amortization and stock-based compensation expense)

- Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA representing 39% of net-revenues for the quarter

- Earnings per share (EPS) of $0.03 versus a loss per share of $0.03 for the comparable period of fiscal 2008

- Non-GAAP adjusted Earnings per share (EPS)(1) of $0.08 versus $0.00 for the comparable period of fiscal 2008

- At December 31, 2008 the Company had approximately $3.1 million cash on its balance sheet

ORDER METRICS

- Over 4.9 million orders were transacted in the first quarter of fiscal 2009

- Average daily orders of approximately 53,000 versus 15,000 for the same period of fiscal 2008, a 240% increase year-over-year

- Peak day saw over 134,000 orders placed and over 5.2 million images pass through the PNI Platform

"The first quarter of fiscal 2009 has been a record quarter for PhotoChannel in a number of ways," states Kyle Hall, CEO of PhotoChannel. "During the first quarter of 2009, we recorded a net profit for the first time in corporate history, record overall revenues and record transactional revenue. The $2.8 million in adjusted EBITDA is also a record for the Company. This past holiday season confirmed that the PNI Platform is robust and economically scalable. In 2009 we expect to see the PNI Platform deliver many new innovative services that leverage the foundation the Company has built."

The company will host a conference call and webcast to discuss fiscal Q1 2009 results with Kyle Hall, Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Rallo, President and Robert Chisholm, Chief Financial Officer of PhotoChannel, today, February 25, 2009, at 4:30 PM EST.

To access the conference call, investors should dial 1-888-300-0053 in North America or 1-647-427-3420 internationally and quote passcode 85763624. Please call 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.

PhotoChannel will also offer a live and archived webcast, available at: www.photochannel.com/webcast

WORKSMEDIA ACQUISITION

The Company today formally entered into a Share Purchase Agreement to acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding share capital of WorksMedia Limited. The deal, the intention of which was announced late last year, is expected to close imminently, subject to acceptance by the TSX Venture Exchange. WorksMedia specializes in kiosk and desktop software that allows consumers to place orders for photos and photo related merchandise. The WorksMedia software is deployed on over 3,000 kiosks around the world and millions of home computers.

"While PhotoChannel believes the photo industry is amid a transition from kiosk based ordering to online ordering, the rich media interface of the WorksMedia software makes it ideal to augment the PNI push to add gifting products to store based kiosks that are connected to the PNI Platform for ordering," says Kyle Hall, CEO of PhotoChannel. "The acquisition of WorksMedia provides PNI with a fully integrated store and home ordering solution that will also serve as the foundation for the development of all future PNI kiosk and desktop applications for consumers to use in an increasingly "connected life" at home, at work and at the retail store."

The acquisition strengthens PNI's vision of the PNI Platform as the "Routing Tier" which moves orders seamlessly between the creation point and thousands of connected stores or fulfillment centres for the production of physical product. With this acquisition, PNI will have over 6000 kiosks deployed worldwide. In addition to the products and business being acquired, PNI also gains valuable development resources located in the cost effective location of Southampton, UK. Upon deal close, PNI will begin to relocate the employees in its Pixology division to Southampton and close the Guildford office in the very near future.

In conjunction with the pending office relocation, PNI recently began restructuring the activities of its UK based division, resulting in an immediate 30% reduction in staff numbers. This reduction should result in annual cost savings of approximately $480,000 which will be offset by one-off severance costs of $75,000, to be taken during fiscal Q2. "WorksMedia has been a profitable company since inception," states Hall. "We expect them to have a significantly positive impact on our kiosk software division's productivity, while also being instrumental in our ability to reduce our overall costs going forward."

Under the terms of the Agreement, PNI will pay the shareholders of WorksMedia Limited $2.1 million in 13 equal monthly installments and issue 750,000 common shares of the Company in three (3) equal installments of 250,000 common shares after 12, 24 and 36 months in exchange for all of the issued and outstanding shares of WorksMedia Limited. Furthermore, if specific pre-determined annual performance targets are met, the shareholders of WorksMedia will receive up to an additional 900,000 common shares over the next three years.

BUSINESS UPDATE AND OUTLOOK

PhotoChannel continues to invest and build on its offerings, working to ensure that customers are always provided with high quality solutions offering full scalability without having to compromise on convenience or pricing.

During the first quarter of fiscal 2009, the Company saw its large retail partners continue an aggressive marketing campaign of their online services. PhotoChannel believes this will continue throughout 2009 as retailers seek to maintain and increase their market share. The marketplace, where PhotoChannel provides one of the dominant online solutions for photofinishers, continues to accelerate rapidly. Unique features of the PNI Digital Media Platform, including seamless up-sell options to higher margin items, provide retailers with opportunities to expand their service capabilities to their consumers.

"During fiscal 2008 a significant investment was made in developing our infrastructure," said Kyle Hall. "We will leverage these past expenditures during fiscal 2009 and are focused on maintaining cost control, while delivering an unprecedented level of service to our retail partners and the best photo options available to consumers."

FIRST QUARTER FISCAL 2009 FINANCIAL RESULTS

Three Months Three Months
Ended Ended
December 31, December 31,
Description 2008 2007 Change % Change
------------------------------------------------------
Transaction fees $ 5,775,841 $ 3,018,482 $ 2,757,359 91%
Installation fees 958,732 973,063 (14,331) (2)%
Membership fees 260,495 170,322 90,173 53%
Professional fees 76,093 136,727 (60,634) (44)%
Archive fees 105,172 - 105,172 -%
------------------------------------------------------
Total $ 7,176,333 $ 4,298,594 $ 2,877,739 67%
------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------
Consistent with the Company's long-term goal of moving to a transactional fee based model, revenue from transactions represented 80% of total revenue during the first quarter of 2009 compared with 70% in 2007.

The Company's overall increase in revenues was primarily attributable to three factors:

- New customer additions during fiscal 2008.

- Organic growth in usage of the PhotoChannel Network from customers of our photo-finishing retailers, as retailers push the convenience of one hour printing from online through continued marketing efforts.

- Additional organic growth fueled by high growth in the creative products area, including calendars, cards, photobooks and gifts.

Net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 of $940,644 versus a net loss of $1,082,600 in the comparable period of fiscal 2008. Major contributors to this turn around are as follows:

- A 91% increase in transactional revenues over fiscal 2008 (an increase of $2,757,359)

- Change in foreign exchange gains resulting in a net year-on-year gain of $712,825 primarily incurred as a result of holding an inter company account in UK pounds

About PhotoChannel- Founded in 1995, PhotoChannel operates PNI Digital Media to provide services for major retailers, wireless carriers and content providers. The PNI Digital Media Platform connects consumer ordered digital content with retailers that have on-demand manufacturing capabilities for the production of merchandise. PNI Digital Media generates transactions for retailers and their thousands of locations worldwide.

For more information please visit www.pnidigitalmedia.com.

PhotoChannel Networks Inc.
Consolidated Statement of Earnings (Loss) and Statement of Comprehensive
Earnings (Loss)
Unaudited - Prepared by Management
(expressed in Canadian dollars)
Three Months Ended
----------------------------
December 31, December 31,
2008 2007
------------- -------------
Revenue $ 7,176,333 $ 4,298,594
Expenses
Network delivery 2,371,794 1,823,117
Software development 1,810,956 1,494,036
General and administration 988,226 1,079,892
Sales and marketing 322,864 270,243
Amortization 1,399,028 789,657
----------------------------
6,892,868 5,456,945
----------------------------
Net profit (loss) before the undernoted 283,465 (1,158,351)
Foreign exchange gain 714,286 1,461
Interest income 6,998 74,290
Interest expense - capital lease (44,763) -
Interest expense - other (18,617) -
Loss on disposal of property and equipment (725) -
----------------------------
657,179 73,588
----------------------------
Net earnings (loss) 940,644 (1,082,600)
Other comprehensive loss:
Unrealized foreign exchange loss on
translation of self
sustaining foreign operations (note 7) (457,675) (496,001)
----------------------------
Comprehensive earnings (loss) $ 482,969 $ (1,578,601)
----------------------------
----------------------------
Earnings (loss) per share (note 7)
Basic $ 0.03 $ (0.03)
Fully diluted $ 0.03 $ (0.03)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reconciliation of GAAP earnings (loss) to non-GAAP adjusted Earnings(1)
For the Three Months Ended December 31, December 31,
2008 2007
$ $
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Net earnings (loss) 940,644 (1,082,600)
Add back:
Amortization 1,399,028 789,657
Stock-based compensation 453,383 175,460
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Non-GAAP Adjusted Earnings 2,793,055 (117,483)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Non-GAAP adjusted Earnings per share (Basic) $ 0.08 $ -
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Non-GAAP Measures

This release includes references to non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP adjusted Earnings per share data. These non-GAAP measures are not in accordance with, or an alternative for measures prepared in accordance with, generally accepted accounting principles and may be different from non-GAAP measures used by other companies. In addition, these non-GAAP measures are not based on any comprehensive set of accounting rules or principles.

PhotoChannel believes that the presentation of certain non-GAAP measures, including non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA and non-GAAP adjusted Earnings per share, when shown in conjunction with the corresponding GAAP measures, provides useful information to investors and management regarding financial and business trends relating to its financial condition and results of operation.

PhotoChannel Networks Inc.
Consolidated Statement of Earnings (Loss) and Statement of Comprehensive
Earnings (Loss)
Unaudited - Prepared by Management
(expressed in Canadian dollars)
December 31, September 30,
2008 2008
----------------------------
Assets
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents $ 3,098,265 $ 2,670,988
Accounts receivable (note 6) 5,418,071 4,019,286
Prepaid expenses and other current assets 465,294 430,616
----------------------------
8,981,630 7,120,890
Property and equipment 7,671,412 6,786,650
Deferred expenses 58,168 52,882
Intangible assets 4,315,158 5,164,492
Goodwill 1,469,389 1,498,539
----------------------------
$ 22,495,757 $ 20,623,453
----------------------------
----------------------------
Liabilities
Current liabilities
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $ 8,722,410 $ 7,480,800
Current portion of deferred revenue 557,482 658,045
Current portion of capital lease obligations 490,072 490,072
Loan payable 924,670 969,886
----------------------------
10,694,634 9,598,803
Deferred revenue 238,772 363,108
Long-term portion of capital lease
obligations 298,120 375,875
Asset retirement obligations (note 5) 21,096 22,009
----------------------------
11,252,622 10,359,795
----------------------------
Shareholders' Equity (note 7)
Share capital $ 65,725,392 $ 65,614,347
Warrants 4,961,826 4,961,826
Contributed surplus 11,996,628 11,611,165
----------------------------
82,683,846 82,187,338
----------------------------
Deficit (69,826,504) (70,767,148)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss (1,614,207) (1,156,532)
----------------------------
(71,440,711) (71,923,680)
----------------------------
11,243,135 10,263,658
----------------------------
$ 22,495,757 $ 20,623,453
----------------------------
----------------------------
Caveat

The statements that are not historical facts contained in this release are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. PhotoChannel's actual results could differ materially for those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, changes in technology, employee retention, inability to deliver on contracts, failure of customers to continue marketing the online solution, competition, general economic conditions, foreign exchange and other risks detailed in the Company's annual report and other filings.

Additional information related to the Company can be found on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on the SEC'S website at www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml.

WARNING: PhotoChannel relies upon litigation protection for "forward-looking" statements.

The TSX Venture Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the information contained in this release.

Contacts:
PhotoChannel Networks Inc. - Financial Information
Robert Chisholm
CFO
(604) 893-8955 ext. 224
Email: rchisholm@photochannel.com
PhotoChannel Networks Inc. - Investor Information
1-800-261-6796
Website: www.pnidigitalmedia.com

Posted by staff at 09:18 AM

February 24, 2009

Business News - Ritz Files Chapter 11

Ritz Camera, now an 800-store national powerhouse after absorbing rival Wolf Camera in 2001, has filed for bankruptcy protection. It would appear to be the latest "before-Internet" business model operation to have fallen victim to the Internet.


Monday, February 23, 2009
Ritz Camera Files Chapter 11—Triggers Fond Memories of Better Times
Feb 23 2009 4:51PM | Permalink | Email this | Comments (2) |
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Thirty-seven years ago, I walked into the tiny Ritz Camera kiosk store at “The Mall” in St. Matthews (a suburb in my home town of Louisville, Kentucky) and bought my first Canon 35mm SLR—an FTbn—with a 50mm, f1.8 lens. It was a terrific camera and one I’d chosen after attending a live Canon seminar in Cleveland where I was getting my BSEE. The guy behind the Ritz counter was very helpful and knew enough about cameras to aid my purchasing decision.

Back then, Ritz was a small chain of camera stores, but the kiosk store presented a much friendlier environment than Louisville’s more “professional” camera stores. I know because I visited all of them before deciding where to make my purchase. It didn’t hurt that Ritz was the price leader among those stores although not competitive with stores in Chicago (like the gone but not forgotten Altman's on Wabash Street) or the advertisers in Popular Photography and Modern Photography. I know because I scrutinized the ads in those magazines carefully.

Fast forward to today, or actually yesterday. Ritz Camera, now an 800-store national powerhouse after absorbing rival Wolf Camera in 2001, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The debts have mounted and sales are in the dumper. Photofinishing sales, a Ritz mainstay profit center, are also poor.

What’s to be gleaned from these events? I’m no expert, but I can say that I’ve not bought much at Ritz or Wolf for years even though there are several here in Silicon Valley that I’ve visited a few times. Before you accuse me of the widespread practice of visiting the store to try stuff out and then ordering on the Web, you should know that my major camera purchases are indeed local. I buy either at San Jose Camera or Keeble & Shuchat in Palo Alto. Accessories I buy online, usually from eBay. But those accessories are so cheap, I don’t bother trying them out first.

The Internet is clearly a major factor in this situation. The availability of cheap accessories such as screw-on lens filters from low-cost sellers on eBay cuts into after-purchase accessory sales. But a mass-market sales mentality also has to be a factor. Almost every time I’ve gone into a Ritz or Wolf Camera store in the past several years, I’ve been disappointed. The selection seems very limited in these small stores, as limited as they were in that tiny kiosk store I patronized in 1972 but the times and the competition are very different today. Accessories such as batteries and memory cards are way overpriced at Ritz and Wolf compared to Fry’s Electronics down the street. If I want to try a good selection of cameras and talk to knowledgeable people, then I know I need to go to San Jose Camera or Keeble & Shuchat.

So a business model that worked well in the 1990s doesn’t seem so smart today. I can’t help but feel that the currently liquidating Circuit City stores fall into the same category. Differentiation is important in this cutthroat-competitive world, for stores and for products. Which leads to this question: How are you differentiating your company’s offerings? It’s an important question.

Posted by staff at 07:31 AM

February 20, 2009

RocketLife Touch Announced At PMA -- For Kiosks, Photo Lounges & Touch Screen Computers

February 19, 2009, Folsom, CA –RocketLife LLC www.RocketLife.com, the inventors of ground-breaking award-winning new media technologies, announced today that it will be introducing “RocketLife Touch™” at the Photo Marketing Association Show (PMA), held March 3-5, 2009 in Las Vegas.

source article

Photo Merchandising with Ultra-Fast Photo Imports, Multi-Layered Themes,
Smart Arrangement Technology & 3D Digital Merchandising

February 19, 2009, Folsom, CA –RocketLife LLC www.RocketLife.com, the inventors of ground-breaking award-winning new media technologies, announced today that it will be introducing “RocketLife Touch™” at the Photo Marketing Association Show (PMA), held March 3-5, 2009 in Las Vegas. RocketLife Touch is an exciting new photo creation and merchandising product for the next-generation touch screen experience for kiosks at retail sites, photo lounge kiosks, and touch screen computers.

Utilizing RocketLife patent-pending technologies, such as ultra-fast import of hundreds of photos, multi-layered photo themes with new enhancements, Smart Arrangement Technology, and 3D Digital Merchandising, RocketLife Touch expands touch capabilities to a variety of new venues and environments for rich photo product creation, from stunning collage prints and posters to professional designed lay-flat photo books.

RocketLife Touch can be branded to the reseller partner and supports both localized and centralized fulfillment. RocketLife Touch is being launched and demonstrated at PMA 2009 running on HP’s Touchsmart™ PC, and supports many other kiosks and touch screen environments.

RocketLife Touch is unique in its ability to offer customers flexibility of product, design, and ordering. Current kiosks severely limit a customer’s creative choices, because their technology allows only rudimentary, flat, fixed template designs and little, if any, creative control. In far less time than it takes to create and order products with other solutions, RocketLife Touch allows customers to easily and instantly play with very sophisticated and beautiful photo and theme capabilities, including full and free positioning of all elements, image processing, multi-layer compositing, placeable graphics, advanced text and more.

Using a consumer’s natural desire to touch and move things, RocketLife Touch provides fast, intuitive touch capabilities which give the user more power to explore his or her creativity to make a professional photo book, designer mug, poster or any other personal photo product featuring dramatic enhancements, such as full placement and layering of photos, graphic objects and text, and even image processing and special effects. RocketLife Touch allows this for the first time in a kiosk, photo lounge, or home environment.

While other solutions provide rudimentary products in order to move customers in and out quickly, RocketLife Touch encourages customers to be more creative; yet RocketLife is able to do so in far less time. Testing in major retail environments show that customers create and purchase more products at higher dollars per minute with RocketLife Touch than with competitors. Customers preferred RocketLife Touch’s creative solution, because it lets them quickly create what they actually want instead of having to compromise their vision of the end-product.

Advanced Software Techniques
RocketLife Touch uses advanced software techniques (such as high-speed assembly language) to create the quickest, most responsive system, so that a customer’s experience is fast and fluid. This, combined with advanced themes, graphics, and compositing capabilities, gives RocketLife Touch its unique power and creativity.

RocketLife’s award winning Smart Arrangement Technology populates every product in just seconds, providing the consumer with a fun and exciting shopping experience. Consumers see their creations come alive with RocketLife’s powerful 3D Digital Merchandising fluidly showing the changes they make on each product in real-time.

RocketLife Touch’s interface is consistent throughout the RocketLife Touch product line. For example, if a customer uses a RocketLife Touch kiosk and then goes home and visits a RocketLife online store using their touch screen computer, the online version would act and respond to their touch just like the store kiosk did, making the interface’s learning curve an easy, one-time step.

RocketLife Touch Benefits for Customers:

* RocketLife Touch creates customized products exactly the way consumers want them, removing the belief that it is an impossible task to achieve with a touch screen or in a busy retail environment.
* RocketLife Touch is easy to learn because it utilizes our natural desire to touch and move things.
* RocketLife Touch becomes a personal experience through the interaction with the screen and instant results through the 3D Digital Merchandising of the products they create.
* One easy learning curve – kiosk and home interfaces are the same, making it easy to use.

RocketLife Touch is available immediately for photo kiosks and computer touch screens. For more information, see www.RocketLife.com.

ABOUT ROCKETLIFE LLC
Personalized Technology Designed for the Customer
RocketLife LLC is an outstanding showcase of teamwork; endowed with the spirit of imagination and decades of creative and programming expertise. With divisions in California and Florida renowned for marketing and technical innovation, RocketLife is the beneficiary of three decades of pioneering market-making technologies, giving people the ability to create and share stories with unparalleled quality and impact.

Between their divisions, teams, and outstanding and creative individuals, RocketLife has been at the cutting edge of media, messaging, and technology. Efforts in pioneering video and software technology have earned prestigious awards, including three primetime Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development. The team has invented and shipped over one hundred different products to well over a million customers. Their experience and creativity in personalized messaging has resulted in rewarding partnerships with top name companies.

To take RocketLife for a spin, visit www.RocketLife.com.

Posted by staff at 08:31 AM

January 14, 2009

Photo Apps - Now the Virtual Mirror

IBM to show virtual mirror kiosk at NRF. Takes a photo of the person and then stitches in different makeup and coloring so you can see what you look like before you buy. Used in Israel now and set to come to the US. HP showed this last year at Kioskcom in Vegas & Seepoint has done similar with Neutrogena.

IBM Debuts "Virtual Mirror" Kiosks For Hair and Makeup Help
Fri, 01/09/2009 - 6:00am by geeksugar268 Views - 2 comments

Next week, IBM will be introducing their first ever "Virtual Mirror" kiosk at the National Retail Federation in NYC. What it does is take a digital photo (of the shopper) and scan in various makeup and hair coloring products that they may be interested in purchasing. Without having to actually try the makeup on you are guaranteed true colors and an accurate replica of your face. The EZ Face virtual mirror is already being used by Super-Pharm, one of the biggest drugstores in Israel, and will hit large US retailers sometime this year.

With virtual dressing rooms at a number of H&M stores and an Adidas shop in Paris utilizing virtual shopping mirrors, it's no surprise that this kind of technology is catching on. What do you think? Would you ever trust something like this to give you a precise makeup portrayal?

source link

Posted by staff at 11:51 AM

December 04, 2008

Photo kiosks - aVinci Media Launches Gold Plus Kiosk

Press release -- aVinci Media Launches Gold Plus Kiosk Product. New Release Features "One Click" Photo Books and Posters. Currently available in approximately 3,300 Walmart stores.

DRAPER, Utah, Dec 03, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- aVinci Media Corporation ("aVinci", AVMC.PK, www.avincimedia.com), recently launched the myMovieMaker Gold Plus product line on photo kiosks across the U.S. myMovieMaker Gold Plus offers fully licensed popular music, new themes with Hollywood-style special effects, and beautifully designed DVD cover packaging. Themes for the photo movies include Christmas, The Polar Express Christmas, All Occasion, Vacation, Wedding, Baby, Achievement, and others. A new feature to myMovieMaker allows customers to order matching photo books and posters with "one-click." Customers simply choose a theme and add the photos they would like to include, and myMovieMaker does the rest. Once the order is submitted, the finished product is available for pickup at the retail store within days. myMovieMaker photo DVDs, photo book and posters make affordable and memorable gifts this holiday season.

aVinci's Gold Plus products are now available on photo kiosks in approximately 3,300 Walmart stores across the U.S.

About aVinci(R) Media Corporation
aVinci Media Corporation develops compelling and easy-to-use solutions for photo consumers, available through major retail partners that revolutionize how individuals create, capture and share compelling personal moments. The company developed the aVinci Experience product line to simplify and automate the process of creating professional-quality, multi-media productions using personal photos and videos. Visit http://www.avincimedia.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, assumptions and uncertainties that could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statem
SOURCE: aVinci Media Corporation

Posted by staff at 09:51 AM

September 12, 2008

Photo kiosks : Photo-Me Posts Loss

Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Photo-Me International Plc, the U.K. operator of 21,400 photo booths, said business in July was ``disappointing'' and economic conditions in its main markets are ``depressed.''

Photo-Me in July posted a full-year net loss of 19.9 million pounds ($35.2 million) compared with a profit of 7.8 million pounds a year earlier. A shareholder revolt succeeded in ousting the company's board including Chief Executive Officer Serge Crasnianski and Chairman Vernon Sankey in 2007. Thierry Barel was appointed CEO in December and has since cut staff, streamlined logistics and added new services in an effort to return the company to profit.

``Reducing the debt is our priority,'' Barel said today in a phone interview. Photo-Me expects net debt to be ``in the region'' of 25 million pounds at the end of the fiscal year from 45.5 million pounds a year earlier, he said. As of July 31, net debt was 45.1 million pounds, compared with 38 million pounds a year earlier, Photo-Me said today in a regulatory statement.

Revenue in May and June, adjusted for currency swings, ``slightly'' increased, said Photo-Me in the statement. Revenue and profit for the three months ended July 31 were in ``line'' with the company's forecasts. Photo-Me did not give any financial details.

Photo-Me fell 0.25 pence, or 1.8 percent, to 13.5 pence as of 9:21 a.m. in London. The stock has fallen 58 percent this year, trimming the company's market value to 48.6 million pounds.

`Seasonal Business'

``Photo-Me is a seasonal business,'' the Bookham, England- based company said today in the statement distributed by the Regulatory News Service. ``The first quarter contributes an insubstantial amount to annual profit.''

Hardman & Co analysts Roger Hardman and Yvette Riachi estimated in a note on July 16 that Photo-Me will have net debt of 22.2 million pounds by April 30, 2009. Barel said the estimate was ``optimistic.'' Hardman, who does not rate the stock, said the company's debt may be eliminated by April 2010.

``We are pretty confident that the cash situation is improving on a daily basis,'' Barel said. ``Hopefully we will generate more net cash than last year.'' Barel declined to say how much costs will be reduced by in the current fiscal period.

The company, which generates most of its turnover from photo booths, has added new services and expanded kiosk sites as European countries introduce passports and identity cards with biometric features. Photo-me is in talks with 10 companies about developing new services, Barel said.

As of April 30, 2008, the company operated 42,580 vending sites worldwide, about half of which were photo-booths. Digital kiosks amounted to 4,500 sites. Other services included entertainment machines for children, copiers and self-service launderettes. The company plans to add at least 700 kiosks in the current fiscal year, Barel said.

Posted by staff at 07:22 AM

June 09, 2008

Picture a digital world

How digital continues to change the photo industry and especially for the smaller photo stores with their new digital printing lounges.


Picture a digital world

BY LYNN ASCRIZZI

Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- Even Ansel Adams might be stunned.

If alive today, the celebrated photographer of the American West, who mostly shot his crisp, black-and-white scenics with a large-format view camera, might be blown away by the digital-camera revolution.

Since the early 1990s, camera technology has zoomed. Digital imagery has swept across film-based photo industries, leveling the playing field between pros and amateurs.

"It's probably one of the biggest changes we've seen in the last 30 years," John Goodine of Elm City Photo in Waterville, said of the digital-image takeover.

Today, anyone with a decent "point and shoot" can take a good snapshot, instantly view the picture, edit it and reshoot and/or print out selected images. People can photo-swap online at Web sites such as Shutterfly.com and Wal-mart.com. And, get a print made for under $5.

How do photo/camera shops and professional photographers stay in business? Against all odds, they are thriving -- if they are adaptable and smart enough to learn rapidly changing systems.

For Goodine, surviving meant seeing the digital wave coming. In the early 1990s, he took a two-week intensive workshop to learn how the new imaging systems could be interfaced with conventional photo processing. For him, the mid-'90s marked a tough transition, as he paid off old equipment and bought new.

"We had to adapt or die," he said, of the family photo shop begun in 1946 by his parents, Leroy and Dorothy Goodine of Waterville.

"Today, our store has a conventional photo lab, where we process film, and also equipment to process digital imaging. We have developed a digital-printing lounge, called Cafe Click. Customers can come to the cafe, sit at a kiosk -- a touch-screen computer -- have tea or coffee, and print their pictures. We have two learning stations and five kiosks," he said.

Recently, the business installed a remote digital kiosk at People's Hair Design in Waterville. All the kiosks are linked by a land line or via the Internet to his photo lab, where he uses the interpretive software, Lab50.

"The kiosks are showing a 10 percent increase since last spring," he said.

The store also accepts photos through its Web site, ElmCityPhoto.com. Customers can upload pictures stored on their home computer, images that come into the store's Lab50 system. And, they can order and pay for photos online. A trained employee at the photo shop does manual color corrections on each print that comes across, Goodine said.

The store also maintains an active portrait studio. Two large-format printers can create poster-sized prints on archival paper. And, the shop strives to keep prices competitive, by networking their purchase power with other independent labs.

"We have a network of customers from all over the world. ... We're not restricted to customers in Waterville. People (U.S. soldiers) have sent us photos from Iraq," he said.

He also keeps a sharp eye out for "the Achilles heel" in business. "And that is good customer service. And producing a better product," he said.

Moreover, the store offers workshops, such as, "I've Got My Digital Camera. Now What?," for the technologically challenged "who don't know how to double-click a mouse. We help people trouble-shoot their imaging problems," he said.

He also knows his prime customers.

"Eighty-three percent are women. Women are spearheading the digital revolution, making the decisions about digital cameras," he said.

Coping with 'Uncle Bob'

For professional wedding photographers like Samantha Depoy-Warren of Farmington, who owns and operates, I Do Click Wedding Photography, the digital age is a boon.

"I'm surviving quite well," Depoy-Warren, 25, said, of her growing business, which she has been running for more than two years.

Her background in news reporting and photojournalism helped her carve out a niche in photojournalist-style wedding shots.

"It's not all 'smile and cut the cake,'" she said. Instead, like a fly on the wall, she aims for photos that tell a story and leave an imprint of intimate emotion, like the bride's mom wiping a tear away from the father's face or the groom playing boccie on a beach in York with his buddies, the morning before the wedding.

"It's important not to draw attention to myself. I don't carry tripods or reflectors. I use the smaller, quieter cameras," she said, of her D50 Nikon single-lens reflex and D80, a semi-pro model. She saves the big gun, the D2 professional, for special shots. Her prices have grown with her reputation, she said, from $900 a wedding to $3,000 to $6,000 and more.

But there are snags.

"I call them 'Uncle Bobs.' They're a huge issue in the industry," she said, referring to wedding guests who come with the same camera equipment that she has, or better.

"Some photographers have it in their contracts not to allow other cameras on the scene. I would never do that. While it is frustrating when guests stand in the way or try to give directions, part of my job as a professional is handling these situations with tact and grace, while still capturing the moments I see," she said.

Soon, she will be "rebranding" the name of her business to Samantha Warren Weddings. Her new Web site will be coming online this summer.

"I have never expected myself to be as successful as I am and to grow as a businesswoman so quickly," she said.

Image snatching

Charlie "Chuck Fox" Cabaniss of Fox Photography Services in Vassalboro waited until 2004 before he retooled and went digital, he said.

"It is probably one of the best moves I made in my business. My quality of work increased 50 percent, because of the creativity aspect, in which I can do all my own editing and printing. I enjoy it more," he said.

Cabaniss, 53, who has a home studio, takes weddings, individual, family and senior portraits, boudoir photos (sensual pictures of women) and "traditional glamour" or nude shots and aerial photography.

He doesn't feel threatened by lots of people running around snapping their point and shoots.

"A person can pick up a scalpel, but that doesn't make them a surgeon. It comes down to talent and ability," he said.

What is old is new again

But there is a downside to digital, he noted.

"The only way I've been hurt is by people who steal images. Some people buy a print and turn around and don't pay for the right to publish or use it. It happens a lot to professional photographers. I put my logo on each print, when I provide wedding preview discs," he said.

Despite image-stealers, his business has grown every year, he said.

"But I would be making a much better living without that problem" of stolen images. "That is the only drawback to the digital age," he said.

Meanwhile, now that everyone is going digital, what's happened to those beautiful cameras that people purchased in the '70s, '80s -- the Canons, Nikons and Minoltas with the great lenses?

Goodine of Elm City Photo is seeing a resurgence in film.

"People are rediscovering those beautiful old cameras. Uncles and fathers are giving them to their kids. . . . . if you bring in a roll of film, we put the images on a CD.

"I have a 1938 vintage Zeiss-Ikon, a German camera. I bought it at a yard sale for $5 and still use it," he said.

Lynn Ascrizzi -- 861-9245

lascrizzi@centralmaine.com

Posted by staff at 09:04 AM

May 21, 2008

Photo Kiosk - news from the world of photo kiosks

New offerings and awards announced by both Lucidiom and by Xerox.

Xerox news from UK

Xerox targets retailers with Photo Kiosk product

Tim Sheahan, printweek.com, 20 May 2008

Xerox has launched a kiosk device for personalised photographic applications, targeted at the retail market.

The product will target storefront locations, such as photo retailers and copy centres that sell personalised applications, including calendars, posters and photo albums, as well as litho printers making a foray into digital printing.

The machine has been designed to work with the full range of Xerox's production colour portfolio, which includes the DocuColor range up to its iGen 3 series.

Xerox has built the Photo Kiosk using software from Spanish company Imaxel.

Photo Kiosk is being pitched at customers wanting to create photographic products with a quick turnaround time by using 60-plus templates, which allow for the placement of images and messages.

The file is then turned into a PDF and sent to one the company's printers via its Freeflow workflow system.

Kevin O' Donnell, Xerox marketing manager colour products for UK & Ireland, said: "We've been looking for a photo product-based opportunity for a while. With 140m digital cameras sold worldwide in 2007, there is massive scope from retail outlets to universities, for the creation of personalised products such as calendars and albums."

The Xerox Photo Kiosk is available immediately, with prices starting at £5,000.


News from Lucidiom

Photo Experts Selects Lucidiom to Power Wholesale Lab
WEBWIRE – Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lucidiom APMs Loaded with EQ Pro Software Provide Complete Imaging Solution for Largest Private Wholesale Lab Facility in U.S.

Woodside, New York.- Photo Experts Inc., a leader in the photo developing industry since 1981 and the country’s largest wholesale facility, today announced it has selected Lucidiom Inc. as its digital imaging solutions provider.

Photo Experts will install more than 300 APM 2000 kiosks at remote dealer locations across New York with order fulfillment at their central wholesale lab facility in Woodside. The kiosks, or automated photo machines (APMs), will be fully loaded with Lucidiom EQ Pro software, providing thousands of photo printing, photo book, creative memory, gifting and CD/DVD options to the consumer and countless revenue opportunities for Photo Experts dealers.

"Photo Experts has been a print fulfillment industry leader since 1981 and as we expand our business into the digital market, we want more than a simple kiosk provider, we want a business partner, in the photofinishing industry" said Photo Experts Partner Jerry Pi. "We have chosen Lucidiom based on their outstanding reputation in the marketplace, their powerful software and robust product offerings, as well as their ability to meet our aggressive timetable for deployment"

"Whether it’s a photo book, folded card, bound calendar or even a standard print, Photo Experts will be able to offer that and more to their dealers now that Lucidiom is their digital imaging solutions provider" said Steve Giordano, Jr., Lucidiom president. "The return on investment for Photo Experts will be impressive based on data we’ve seen from other Lucidiom customers’ revenue growth in the creative market. Photo books and folded cards continue to top the growth charts for our customers. We look forward to Photo Experts’ success beyond the 4x6 print"

Posted by staff at 11:49 AM

April 10, 2008

Rite Aid and Fujifilm Announce Partnership

Rite Aid Stores Nationwide To Launch Expanded, State-of-the-Art Photo Services Starting This Summer. “Our agreement sets the stage for creating a ‘Best in Class’ photo solution for our more than 5,000 Rite Aid stores nationwide,” said John Pollock, Rite Aid vice president category management.


Fujifilm's Feed For Thought: RITE AID AND FUJIFILM ANNOUNCE COMPREHENSIVE PHOTO SOLUTIONS AGREEMENT

“Fujifilm will be our partner and the end-to-end solution provider as we re-launch our photo products business.”

With this new multi-year agreement, Rite Aid customers will enjoy a significantly wider range of state-of-the-art photo products and services through more convenient, easier-to-use technology.

Rite Aid Photo centers will operate using Fujifilm GetPix kiosk instant print solutions and Fujifilm Frontier Dry Lab solutions. Fujifilm will also be the exclusive supplier to Rite Aid for brilliant color film, including a selection of convenient Fujifilm One Time Use Cameras, Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper and chemical supplies. Fujifilm will also provide send-out photofinishing services by Fujicolor Processing, including prints, photo books, greeting cards, enlargements and a wide range of new heirloom-quality photo gift products, such as blankets, ties and other items.

Rite Aid customers will have the added convenience of an easy-to-use photo website from the comfort of their own homes, which will allow them delivery of their purchases to any Rite Aid store across the country. So if a customer orders traditional 4”x 6” prints or a creative photo gift, relatives who live in another part of the country can pick them up at their local Rite Aid without the added cost of packing and shipping the items.

When customers choose to visit Rite Aid stores in person, they will be able to use a kiosk display similar in design to the Web experience, but with an additional convenience. Customers will be able to get their prints made in minutes, on the same day or in a few days in most stores, depending on the customer’s choice.

“We are proud to be partnering with one of the nation’s leading drug store chains. This agreement is a testament to the confidence Rite Aid has in Fujifilm, and our commitment to the photo retail business,” said Bing Liem, vice president sales, Imaging Group, FUJIFILM U.S.A. “We have a deep understanding of the needs of the retail photo market, and look forward to continuing to innovate on the behalf of consumers, who know they can rely on Fujifilm.”

Posted by staff at 07:28 AM

March 18, 2008

DIMA Photo Kiosk Shootout Results

DIMA Photo Kiosk Shoot-Out Results -- The super bowl of photo kiosks was held recently at the PMA show in Las Vegas and Storefront achieved a blowout victory winning 6 of 8 categories.

ImagingInfo.com - Article - Quarterly Kiosk Update

Storefront.com Wins the Super Bowl of Kiosks with a Blowout Victory

To the folks at Storefront.com, the Super Bowl is over. They won and are now uncorking the champagne to douse each another.
storefront_kiosk.jog.jpg
The equivalent of the Super Bowl in the kiosk business is the DIMA Photo Kiosk Shoot-Out, which was held in Las Vegas the day before PMA opened. Unlike the face-off in Arizona, where one team plays only one other team in one game, DIMA's Super Bowl pits 28 kiosks in eight separate competitions.

Storefront.com won six of the eight competitions, the most one-sided blowout since the Shoot-Out five years ago. Kodak was a winner of one category, and Whitech the other.

The competition is broken down into four separate categories: Digital Order Station; Instant Print Kiosk; Software Only; and Multi-Function Photo Kiosk. Each category is judged by two different panels: a group of three industry experts and a consumer panel of local residents. In total: eight competitions.

Kodak took the Expert's Choice honors with its new G4x Print Station in the Multi-Function Photo Kiosk category as selected by the expert panel. Whitech was the winner in the Digital Order Station group, with its PT2600 taking the People's Choice honors. Storefront.com swept the other six, three from the experts and three more from the consumer panel. Its IT-2000 kiosk won two of the awards.

The expert panel consisted of FRANCIE MENDELSOHN, Summit Research Associates; ROBERT PORTER, Euro Kiosks Network; and LAWRENCE DVORCHIK, KioskCom (JD Events). CHAD MUNCE, PMA executive, digital imaging markets, coordinated the Shoot-Out competition for DIMA.

Asked for his reaction when he first heard about the six awards, TOM CEH, senior VP, Sales and Marketing for Storefront.com, said he used exclamations not suitable for printing in a family publication. Then: "We were ecstatic, totally flabbergasted. The word 'wow' is definitely in play." In describing his firm that flies somewhat below the radar, Tom said, "People are beginning to see Storefront.com as a leader in the kiosk space."
Among the firm's customers are Kroger, Duane Reade, Fred Meyer, and King Soopers.

MURRAY MACDONALD is president and BOB RICCI is CEO of Storefront.com. To them, Super Bowl Sunday's game was only an incidental event.
-Jerry Lansky

Posted by staff at 11:20 AM

March 16, 2008

Photo KIosks Photo Book in CVS Process Needs Work

Photo book at CVS works really well except for final construction by clerk of the album. Illustrates the entire process impacts the consumer and one flawed segment can negate the overall servicing of the customer.


Sloppy ending spoils CVS photo book -- chicagotribune.com

www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/chi-mon-techbuzz-mar17,0,7334766.story
chicagotribune.com
Sloppy ending spoils CVS photo book

March 17, 2008

Occasionally, there is a major flaw in how well our consumer technologies work. Sadly, it's the human element.

Consider this tale of a great idea gone bad at the hands of a human in the last step of the process.

Pharmacy chain CVS recently started to offer a very cool product in its photo department, a $12.99 photo book that can be created, compiled and out the door within an hour. I made one last week, 4-year-old in tow, and the process is a snap.

Here's how it works:

We brought our digital camera to a local CVS. We went to the photo center and plopped down in front of a touch-screen photo kiosk. We selected the option to make a photo book. Then I took the SD memory card out of the camera, popped it in the kiosk and we started to make our book.

Many people remain wary of using an online photo service to order prints or make a product like a calendar or photo book. I do encourage people to try them because of the breadth of interesting products offered by sites such as Shutterfly, KodakGallery, Moo, Qoop and Snapfish. I recently reviewed these sites with very satisfactory results.

For the hesitant or time-pressed, CVS' in-store option for calendars, birthday cards and prints is a nice option. But the photo books need work.

Also, while the Kodak kiosks are fast and intuitive, they do have flaws.

I wanted to make a 6-by-8-inch photo book, which has a cutout cover so the book's first page doubles as the cover image. But the machine only offered the 4-by-6 and 8-by-10 sizes, even though a nearby poster touted the 6-by-8 format. So I made a 4-by-6 book and, inexplicably, when I finished and went to double-check the steps, the 6-by-8 photo book option was available.

The clerk couldn't explain this discrepancy, and I checked the kiosk repeatedly as I waited for her to put my book together. Like a 4-year-old, I kept starting and stopping the touch-screen program to see if the 6-by-8 book option would appear. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

That annoyance aside, it was easy to design a book.

After selecting the book you want and putting in a memory card—several types of memory can be used—follow the on-screen instructions. Friendly voice commands help explain the choices if you get stuck.

Start with a theme
You pick a theme, such as travel, and several page options appear. There were enough to peruse but not too many to make you indecisive.

Then, one by one, you click on photos you want to add. You can do minor editing to each photo, such as cropping and image brightening, by the touch of a finger. If an error is made, it is easy to fix.

My son selected pictures, which was fun for both of us. He tapped on the ones he wanted and skipped ones he didn't like. He made fine choices. You can add text to each page and change the color, size and type location with your finger.

We were done creating our book in less than 30 minutes. We selected 21 images that were spread over 10 pages. Then the pages were printed, and the technician started to do her job: binding the book.

And that's where the process falls apart.

The photo book I brought home is so poorly constructed that it will not be put on the shelf next to the other photo books. I won't toss it, but I might pull it apart to use the pages as frame-worthy prints. The binding is so bad that the pages are practically falling out on their own.

I showed the photo book around for a second opinion.

My wife: "Can you return that?"

My editor: "They expect you to pay for this?"

My cube neighbor: "The sample is very nice."

Indeed, the sample CVS sent is very nice; that's why I tried the service.

Money-back guarantee
To be fair, I created a book at just one CVS, and 5,500 stores offer this nationwide. So odds are pretty high that there are more skilled technicians than the one who worked on my book.

Walgreens is testing a similar photo-book service in Wisconsin, but a spokeswoman said the chain has not decided on a national rollout.

In response to my poor experience, CVS said in a statement that "there is a 100 percent money-back guarantee on our new photo books to ensure customer satisfaction."

That's good, because an in-store photo book is a great idea. Creating it was simple, and I'd still recommend people give it a try.

Just hope the human who puts it together is as impressive as the technology.

Posted by staff at 09:42 AM

January 05, 2008

Photokiosks - Whitech and Noritsu Work Together

Whitech qualifies with Noritsu D701 inket printer and puts together solution. The new solution will be on display in the Noritsu booth at the upcoming CES show.


Noritsu and Whitech Work Together to Deliver Complete Photo Service Solutions for Retailers

BUENA PARK, Calif., Jan 05, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Noritsu America Corporation, a leading manufacturer of digital imaging equipment, today announced a collaboration with Whitech, a leading photo kiosk manufacturer, to provide an innovative retail photo printing solution focused on the new Noritsu D701 compact retail inkjet printer.

The Noritsu D701 is a high quality inkjet printer capable of producing a wide variety of print sizes to maximize revenue potential for the retailer. Retailers can now provide their customers with a full assortment of photo and photo-related products in stores. In addition to standard 4"x6" prints, the D701 can produce new photo revenue opportunities through items such as calendars, photo cards, locker prints and posters up to 10" x 36". The D701 utilizes a revolutionary new inkjet technology that radically improves the dye ink process to provide sharp detail and brilliant colors, while producing long-lasting prints that resist deterioration from ozone and light. Ideal for photofinishing and retail environments, the D701 is an extremely compact printing system, taking up only 4.6 square feet of space. Two D701 printers can be stacked together to increase printing capacity without increasing footprint. Other features include an order sorter that organizes print orders for improved productivity and the ability to switch between sheet and roll-fed paper, which enables the printer to handle a variety of print jobs for greater revenue opportunities. The D701 represents the fifth generation of inkjet technology from Noritsu and is engineered to deliver the same steadfast reliability that all Noritsu printers are known for worldwide.

"We're pleased to work with Whitech. Their kiosks and software are consumer friendly and are being used in some of the leading food and drugstore retailers in the country," said Ms. Tina Tuccillo, Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Planning of Noritsu America Corporation. "We recommend their kiosks along with our new D701 to retailers who currently offer photofinishing services and want to grow their revenues with prints and photo products; and to other retailers looking to introduce new in-store services such as photofinishing to their customers. Our collaboration allows retailers to enjoy a complete photo solution from industry leaders."

Whitech has completed the rigorous Noritsu Partner Evaluation Program, so retailers can experience a seamless integration with a Whitech kiosk and a Noritsu D701 printer. The Whitech PhotoTeller kiosk provides the following benefits for retailers:

1. Consumer-friendly kiosks.

2. Intuitive consumer friendly and easy to use software to guide consumers through the photofinishing selection and ordering process. And it helps retailers to effectively manage their business.

3. Through the use of the Photo Teller creative suite, retailers experience profitable sales of photo and photo-related products such as photo albums, greeting cards and calendars.

"Noritsu's position of supporting an open architecture has made integration with mutual customers that utilize Noritsu printers a very positive experience. We are confident that the D701 and our PhotoTeller kiosk can deliver to retailers a solution that provides immediate impact to their bottom lines," said Mr. Korosh Delnawaz, President of Whitech USA.

Retailers attending the 2008 International CES in Las Vegas are invited to visit the Noritsu booth - #31431 located in the LVCC South Hall. The Noritsu / Whitech solution will be on display for all to experience the exciting collaboration.

About Noritsu

Noritsu is the world's largest manufacturer of professional digital imaging equipment. The company's legacy dates back to its founder, Mr. Kanichi Nishimoto, who invented the automatic print washer, the predecessor to the modern photofinishing machine. Noritsu introduced the world's first one-hour film developing and printing system which revolutionized the photo industry. Noritsu continues its leadership position by providing its customers with innovative solutions, world class service and exceptional customer support. Noritsu - the industry benchmark for developing innovative digital imaging hardware and software solutions. For more information on Noritsu, the exciting new D701 and its comprehensive line of products, visit www.noritsu.com/D701 or call (800) 521-3686.

About Whitech

Whitech Software Solutions is an award-winning company that was established in 1995. It develops award-winning software products and services that are utilized by retailers across the globe. Whitech specializes in retail software for kiosks, point of sale, and on-line solutions aimed at improving the efficiency and profitability of our customers in various retail sectors. Today Whitech has grown to incorporate offices in Australia, USA, UK and New Zealand with distributors in Canada, Asia and Europe. Thousands of customers worldwide are utilizing Whitech's software in the day-to-day running of their businesses. Whitech's vision is to continue to develop our products according to customer requirements and grow our customer base worldwide through recognition and reputation for offering the latest innovative technology. For information on Whitech, visit www.whitechsolutions.com.

The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. Noritsu shall not be held liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. All non Noritsu brand names, product names, or trademarks herein belong to their respective holders.

SOURCE: Noritsu America Corporation

Noritsu America Corporation
Gregory Joe, 714-521-9040
Fax: 714-670-2049
gjoe@noritsu.com

Posted by staff at 09:15 AM

January 03, 2008

Kodak Photo Kiosk and Picture Movies

The company has installed do-it-yourself self-service kiosks in Bartell Drug stores throughout the Puget Sound area that can take up to 60 digital photos and add music, movement effects and burn it to a DVD right there in the store. The video is nice and shows the complete process from start to finish. Looks nice (much better than the usual black out-of-order screen we see most times). 5-10 minutes to burn the DVD. Twenty songs to pick from for your theme music and facial recognition built into the software intelligently "directs".


Kodak debuts new photo movie Kiosks in Seattle | KOMO-TV - Seattle, Washington | Consumer News

If you're any good with a computer you probably know how to turn those collections of digital vacation and holiday photos into a slide show.

But adding pans and zooms to a photo slideshow in a pleasing, professional fashion is not always easy to do. Kodak is hoping to change that.

The company has installed do-it-yourself kiosks in Bartell Drug stores throughout the Puget Sound area that can take up to 60 digital photos and add music, movement effects and burn it to a DVD right there in the store. (Watch the video accompanying this story to see it in action.)

All you have to do is pick the shots from a memory card you bring to the store, and the Kodak software does the rest.

That means you can't control the moves -- the computer has total control. But it does a pretty good job. The one real limitation is the number of songs to choose from. Right now, there are only 20. But that library is sure to grow as Kodak introduces the kiosk to other places in the country.

Each movie costs $14.99 and comes with a customized case.

Posted by staff at 07:50 AM

November 05, 2007

Kodak Photo Printing Kiosks Doing Good

Nov 2: Eastman Kodak Co. swung to third-quarter profit on a 1% sales decline, in another sign its transition from high-profit film to digital photography and printing is creating a viable business. Revenue in the consumer digital business increased 1.3% to $1.12 billion as stronger-than-expected sales of digital cameras and retail print-making kiosks were offset by declines in photofinishing.

Kodak also is looking for future growth from new technologies that are starting to appear in products. Next year it will introduce an advanced inkjet printer for the printing industry that is expected to provide cost and quality advantages over current digital-print technologies. Story on the WSJ.

Posted by staff at 12:23 PM

July 09, 2007

KIOSKS and Photo News

We had a inkling that it was coming and sure enough it did: Fujifilm buys 35% of Whitech. They got the last name wrong (should be Delnawaz) but this is definitely big news in photo field.


Fujifilm Holdings Australasia is now a 35 percent shareholder in local software company Whitech.


Local electronic point of sale solutions and photographic digital kiosk home ordering developer, Whitech has sold 35 percent of the company to Fujifilm Holdings Australasia.

Whitech was established in 1995 by Steve Dalwanez to provide specialised industry specific and customised point of sale solutions. It owns and develops all the software products sold in Australia and internationally.

Dalnewez said the developer was in talks with FujiFilm since October of last year before the vendor bought the shares.
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"It took a while for the deal to come to realisation because the Australasia office was waiting for approval from Japan," he said.

According Dalwanez, the deal would give Whitech greater marketshare because Fujifilm also had a partnership with Whitech's competitor, Axiom.

"We'll be able to pick up more businesses exclusively from this deal. We will also use the deals to leverage international deals like with Fuji Europe," he said.

Whitech’s suite of Photo.Teller software is marketed with Fujifilm’s Digital Photo Centre (DPC) kiosks which are now the most popular method consumers use to order photographs in Australian retail stores, said Steve Delnawaz, managing director and founder at Whitech.

Mike Machida, CEO at Fujifilm Holdings Australasia said the acquisition announcement was part of the organisation’s ongoing global business development and expansion strategy.

“Fujifilm has maintained a strong business relationship with Whitech throughout the development of the Fujifilm Digital Printing Model, so the organisation’s acquisition of an equity interest in Whitech was a natural progression,” he said.

Incorporating Whitech software with Fujifilm’s DPC kiosks has enabled consumers to edit images for immediate in-store printing and will also enable the ordering of a range of photo gifting products.

“These products include fully-bound hard or soft cover Photo Books, Story
Books, large canvas prints, personalised stationery, calendars, key rings, mugs, t-shirts and much more,” said Machida.

Whitech (DPC) kiosk software can also be customised for each retailer’s needs to accommodate all workflow management and output capabilities, he said.

Posted by staff at 11:10 AM

May 01, 2007

Photokiosks - Pixology Accepts Offer

Pixology shares soar from 12p to 38p on news that Photochannel Networks has offered 40p/share to buy them. Back in 2003 Pixology floated at 140p so it was good news.

Yesterday's trading: Pixology clicks | This is Money

Yesterday's trading: Pixology clicks
Geoff Foster, Daily Mail
27 April 2007

Lord Young of Graffham, the former trade and industry minister under Margaret Thatcher, heaved a big sigh of relief.

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He must certainly have been a lot happier in his old age yesterday when shares of digital photographic software company Pixology, where he is chairman and 23.2% shareholder, soared 12¾p to 38½p on news of an agreed 40p a share, or £8.1m cash offer, from internet infrastructure company Photochannel Networks. It gets him out of jail.

Young had acquired his personal stake in 1997. Tory Party followers were more than happy to follow him in when the company floated on Aim at 140p in December 2003.

They have regretted it ever since. The shares have been on a slippery slope since 2005, drifting down from 110p to a recent year's low of 18p when all seemed lost.

Pixology said at flotation time it was poised to announce a breakthrough in camera technology which would cure the problem of 'red eye' common in flash photography.

It wanted to take advantage of the boom in digital photography but unfortunately it soon came unstuck. Yesterday, it announced a £0.2m loss for 2006 but said it had £5.5m cash in the bank. Lord Young can now put a few bob in his account too.

Posted by staff at 11:48 AM

January 17, 2007

Kiosks Case Studies: O/S is important

We couldn't help but notice the blog on the Kodak photo kiosks. Always interested in the composition it's worth noting that these Kodak kiosks are still running Windows 2000. W2K was a nice system actually but it passed over the horizon a few years ago...Of course it used to be those machines didn't have NICs in them (not sure how many do currently).

source link

Visa 2000

VisaThe upcoming trip to China requires a visa and the visa application requires a passport photo. The instructions were clear that it should not be a "home photo". I was anxious to get the application in the mail and was confident that the processor of the application would not reject my photo printed from the Canon i960, but unfortunately it was out of one of the ink colors. No problem, I though, there is a CVS store nearby and they do passport photos. The $7.99 price seems high but I was in a hurry. I like CVS as a company but their customer service in the store is not that great. The photo department had a sign up saying to check with a cashier. The cashier lines were all long. A supervisor happened to walk by and sent someone over to take the photo.

In a minute or so a digital picture was taken and the CVS person then escorted me to one of their Kodak kiosks. Of the five kiosks, two were "out of order" -- reminded me of the early days of the airline check-in kiosks. Two of the other three were being used by customers who were sorting through the pages of pictures to pick the ones they wanted to print. I could see they were going to be there quite a while. The "available" kiosk was hung up. The employee had to unplug it to get it to re-boot. It took at least ten minutes for the kiosk to initialize -- it was running Windows 2000.

Why Kodak or CVS did not select Linux for this application is beyond me. Linux is perfect for "embedded" applications -- either embedded in a handheld device, a car, a digital audio server, home automation system, or a digital video recorder. Linux can also be "embedded" in a PC in a very nice way, especially on a PC like a kiosk which only runs one application. In all these cases Linux is quietly working in the background to enable the device or the application. It doesn't crash, doesn't give insulting or confusing error messages, "blue screens", or hang up. It just works.

Munir Kotadia at ZDNet Australia just wrote a story saying that the launch of Windows Vista has created a huge opportunity for Linux vendors to take a larger share of the corporate desktop market.

Posted by staff at 08:19 AM

December 27, 2006

Asia -- Photo Kiosks & Convenience Stores

According to InfoWorld, 7-Eleven in Japan will be offering users the ability to print digital photos in all of the +11,000 locations. It will use photo app built into Windows Vista and will link into server run by Fuji Xerox. Apparently the kiosks used to print the photos were installed in 2005.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

infoworld link

C.P. Seven-Eleven Plc, Thailand's largest c-store operator with 3,750 7-Eleven locations, will stop expanding in the country once it operates 5,000 stores, which it is expected to reach within three years, the Bangkok Post reported.

"We will review and consider if the market demand for convenience stores will remain or not at that time. If the number of convenience stores reaches 20,000 outlets in total, market demand would be saturated," Suvit Kingkaew, deputy managing director of C.P. Seven Eleven, told the newspaper.

To reach the 5,000 mark, the company plans to open 500 outlets in 2007, 50 more locations than in the past. If the plan is carried out, the total number of 7-Elevens in 2007 will reach 4,250, the report stated.

7-Eleven stores far outnumber other chains in the country. Of the 10,000 convenience stores in Thailand, approximately one third are 7-Elevens; Family Mart operates 650 stores, V-Shop owns 800 stores, Freshmart has 300 locations and the remainder are independent or locally owned, the report stated.

Expansion opportunities are numerous in the country, where new communities are being created. "There is a huge market potential if we can encourage some of them to turn themselves from traditional grocery stores to the convenience-store format," Kingkaew told the Post. The number of grocery stores in the country is estimated to exceed one million stores, according to the Post.

Some convenience store operators overseas have eyed the country as an area of expansion. Circle K is reported to have entered negotiations with partners in Thailand to develop a chain there, but failed, the report stated.

In Japan, the chain's holding company, Seven & I, plans to create a private label that will cover beverages, ramen noodles, baked goods and other packaged foods, in an attempt to differentiate itself from an increasingly competitive market there, reported MorningNewsBeat.com.

The 100 SKU private label line will sport a single proprietary brand name -- which has not been announced to date -- and will be sold in the chain's more than 12,000 stores in Japan. The sales goal for the first year will be more than US $400 million. Within three years, the company plans to expand the line to 1,200 SKUs and US $3 billion in sales, the report stated.

In other 7-Eleven news, the company will offer Microsoft Vista users the chance to print out digital photos in all of Seven-Eleven Japan Co.'s 11,507 convenience stores, InfoWorld.com reported.

The service is linked to photo album software in the Vista operating system which begins when the user selects the photos that need to be printed. The photos are then uploaded to a server operated by Fuji Xerox Co., which maintains the kiosks that print photos in 7-Eleven stores.

Once the upload is complete, the user is given an eight-digit code to use at any of the chain's kiosks when retrieving the pictures for printing and payment. Once the code is entered and payment is made, the photos are printed from the kiosk and then deleted from the server, according to the Web site. Kiosks used to print the photos were installed in 2005 and also offer services such as copying, photo printing from memory cards, printing out items from the Internet and faxing, the report stated.

The service is aimed at customers that do not have a home printer or want to distribute pictures, the report stated. Customers can upload photos from an event such as a wedding, send the code to friends to print at the location of their choice.

"One of the goals of the service is allowing end users to easily and safely order photos," said Kazuo Sakai of Microsoft's digital entertainment partner division.

Posted by staff at 02:10 PM

Research -- Photo kiosks and self-service debate

This month is Photo Marketing Magazine they have a couple of feature articles covering photo kiosks, self-service and impulse buying. The magazine is offered for download electronically and is recommended.

Also PMAI has recently launched the Ultimate Imaging Product Directory which is online and also provided on CD to subscribers. If you are in photo kiosks then this is the most comprehensive directory available.

Posted by staff at 09:33 AM

December 16, 2006

The Long Tail of Photofinishing

Chris Anderson notes the long tail that exists in the photofinishing business. A business where 80% of the transactions are not so profitable but the margins/profits on the niche transactions are much higher.

source link


Because these kiosks are simply virtual storefronts for what is essentially a digital good (different variations of bits sent to the same printer), they've got infinite capacity for product variety. And as if often the case, the niche goods have the highest margins--it costs little more to print a photo "storybook" than a standard print, but you can charge just $0.19 for one and several dollars for the other. Margins for a 4x6 print, which sell for about $0.19 each, are just 10-15%. But the average margin for "beyond 4x6" products is a whopping 85%.

As more and more customers use these kiosks, companies such as Lucidiom are finding inventive ways to drive demand down the tail of photo products, where the real money is. Today, says Giordano, the market share of the bestselling 4x6s prints is falling by 3% every six months as customers shift to these new alternatives. A classic Long Tail market in action! Who knew?

A final interesting factoid: I had assumed that the vast majority of people printed their digital photos at home or used online services such as Shutterfly. It turns out that of the 20% of the digital photos that are actually printed--as opposed to just sitting on your hard drive--about half are printed at home. Another 5% are printed using online services. A full 45% are printed via kiosks. Surprisingly, about half of those come in on CD-ROMs rather than memory cards--people find it easier to burn a CD with photos they want printed than to upload them or take the card to the drugstore every time it gets full.

----

(* I would, however, argue that every industry needs to have a strategy for Long Tail marketing, reaching niche customer segments through increasingly word of mouth means. But I'll save that for another post...)

Posted by Chris Anderson | Permalink


note:
The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of "hits" (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-target goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.

Posted by staff at 09:35 AM

November 26, 2006

Photo Kiosks -- contract news

Notice posted on Hemscott about Duane Reade not renewing the contract with Pixology. Pixology continues though to make inroads into U.S. market.

Regulatory News | News | Hemscott

Pixology PLC - Re Contract
Article text may be cut off to the right
Click to view article in a new window

RNS Number:4910M
Pixology PLC
22 November 2006


Contract Update

Pixology plc, (LSE:PIX), the specialist in software and networks for digital
photography, today informs the market that, following commercial negotiations
with Duane Reade, it has been decided that the contract will not be renewed upon
expiry in Q1 2007.

Pixology currently provides in-store kiosks and online photo printing services
to Duane Reade Drugstores Inc. in New York City. The contract is worth
approximately £350,000 per annum.

Commenting on the announcement, Yuval Yashiv, CEO of Pixology, said: 'Pixology
continues to supply software to a number of leading US retailers. In addition,
two national retailers in the US are currently trialling our innovative in-store
Gift Kiosk concept and we hope to be in a position to announce the results of
these trials in the near future. Our reputation in the US continues to grow as a
result of these projects as well as our on-going activities with other US
customers. We therefore remain committed to developing our US presence further
as we go into 2007.'

Enquiries:

Sarah Gestetner/ Justin Griffiths
Citigate Dewe Rogerson 0207 638 9571


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange

END

Posted by staff at 08:33 PM

Photo Kiosk Deployment

Latest install announcement by Lucidiom of photo kiosks at Dan's Camera City. Known as DigiPrint Lounge. Lucidiom is one of the major photo kiosk software providers providing software for Fuji kiosks at Walgreens for example.

� Dan’s Camera City Unveils DigiPrint Lounge Featuring 11 Photo Kiosks Powered By Lucidiom - Home Business Blog

Dan’s Camera City Unveils DigiPrint Lounge Featuring 11 Photo Kiosks Powered By Lucidiom

Dan’s Camera City and their kiosk provider, Lucidiom Inc., are responding to consumer’s busy lives by putting digital photofinishing stations in a coffeehouse setting. Amenities include free wireless Internet access, a children’s entertainment center and wheelchair accessible photo kiosk stations.

Allentown, PA (PRWEB) May 25, 2005 — Dan�s Camera City, one of the largest single-location camera stores in the nation, today unveiled its state of the art DigiPrint Lounge, a coffeehouse-style digital photofinishing center featuring 11 ordering stations powered by Lucidiom Inc., creator of the original Automated Photo Machine (APM). Dan�s Camera City�s DigiPrint Lounge includes free wireless Internet access (WiFi), children�s entertainment center, wheelchair accessible ordering stations and complimentary beverages.

�The DigiPrint Lounge has transformed the otherwise ordinary task of ordering digital photos into what for many now is considered a treat,� said Dan�s Camera City CEO Mike Woodland. �Our customers are raving about being able to order digital photos while sipping coffee and watching their kids play. With the DigiPrint Lounge, we�ve added the most comfortable surroundings to our pre-existing superior customer service. The result is a delightful experience for our customers and an added boost to our business.�

�Lucidiom and Dan�s Camera City are responding to today�s busy consumers who want high quality prints and other photo products, but have little time in the day to order them,� said Steve Giordano, Jr., president of Lucidiom Inc. �Lucidiom also is meeting the business needs of its customers by enabling photofinishers like Dan�s Camera City to reinforce their own brand by customizing our products. A customer who orders prints at Dan�s Camera City sees �Dan�s DigiPrint Station� on our kiosk, not Lucidiom. That�s reassuring to the customer and the business owner alike. It�s not the Lucidiom DigiPrint Lounge; it�s Dan�s Camera City�s and we�re proud to be the technological force behind it all.�

Dan�s DigiPrint Lounge is the only one of its kind in the Lehigh Valley and one of only a few in the entire United States. It compliments Dan�s extensive range of ordering options from digital images including online ordering and free web albums and 10 satellite Lehigh Valley locations that contain Dan�s DigiPrint Stations. Dan�s offers superior quality prints, competitive pricing and mail back service direct to the customer�s door for 99 cents.

About Dan�s Camera
Employing 70 people, Dan’s serves over 400 people every day. More than a dozen other area businesses provide drop-off and pick-up service for Dan’s Own Processing. In 2002 Dan’s was named the National Dealer of the Year by Photo Trade News. Product and service categories include: New and used 35mm, digital and video cameras and accessories, film and digital processing, picture frames and custom framing, pro and amateur film, darkroom and studio equipment and supplies, telescopes, binoculars, digital imaging services, wide format display signs and banners and camera repairs. We strive for excellence in service, product and operation and our success is measured by the degree of delight and duration of relationship of our customers and staff with Dan’s Camera City. www.danscamera.com

About Lucidiom

Lucidiom Inc. is the leading worldwide retail provider of networked digital photo solution centers and creator of the original Automated Photo Machine (APM) � a self-service digital photofinishing station. Lucidiom�s advanced APM Network� equips retailers with flexible, customizable photo category products and services that allow individual business visions to become profitable consumer realities. More information about how Lucidiom is bringing business into focus is available online at www.lucidiom.com.

Posted by staff at 07:52 PM

November 23, 2006

Photo Kiosks - Fuji intros new self-serve print kiosk

Australia -- FUJIFILM introduces new countertop self-service photo kiosk that can attach to minilab (Frontier) or a standalone dye-sub. Has credit card and pinpad along with receipt printer. Fuiji uses Lucidiom in the U.S. but hard to say who is being used here. Whitech possible as well.


FUJIFILM introduces the new DPC8 kiosk,the latest innovative solution to accommodate digital printing needs for photo retailers.

The DPC9 self-serve print kiosk

The DPC8 kiosk is FUJIFILM’s self-serve print ordering terminal developed to accommodate increasingly diverse digital camera printing needs.
DPC8.jpg
FUJIFILM Divisional Manager – Digital Services & Hardware, Paul Rogers, said the DPC8 comes complete with a range of sophisticated features aimed at enhancing customer satisfaction.

“Featuring a 15-inch touch screen panel, FUJIFILM’s new DPC8 offers a choice of tailor-made hardware and software that includes full editing functions such as zoom, crop, black & white or sepia colour adjustments and red-eye reduction,” Mr Rogers said.

“It can also be customised to accommodate such needs as workflow management, selection of output sizes, up-selling prompts and the management of pricing models.

“For a complete digital printing solution, the DPC8 can be connected via cable, internet or remote wireless to a FUJIFILM Frontier Digital Minilab and /or stand-alone Dye-Sublimation printers.

“With the capability to be connected to ADSL, it also facilitates remote monitoring and diagnostics resulting in less down time and real time servicing and updates.

“The modular design of the DPC8 also enables upgrades or replacement easily and affordably.

“With the popularity of do-it-yourself in-store printing, FUJIFILM’s new DPC8 provides all the features and options required to ensure a complete digital printing solution,” Mr Rogers said.


source link

Posted by staff at 08:57 AM

November 10, 2006

Lucidiom Photo Kiosk Software Wins Award

Vienna, Virginia, USA, November 8, 2006 – Lucidiom’s APM ProfitWatcher Dashboard won a 2007 International CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award. Lucidiom's web-based reporting tool lets retailers know exactly how their photo kiosks are performing and where and how customers will spend powerful purchasing dollars.

source link

The Innovations Design and Engineering Awards program recognizes the most innovative consumer electronics products in 30 categories. Lucidiom’s APM ProfitWatcher Dashboard was named an Innovations Honoree within the Retail Resource category. Products entered in this prestigious program are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, engineers and members of the trade press to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products.

“The APM ProfitWatcher Dashboard is unique in the marketplace. No other photo kiosk research can drill down to the specific retailer level,” commented Lucidiom President Stephen Giordano Jr. “Only macro data has been available to this point. With Lucidiom, the retailer knows not just how in general photo kiosks perform in a specific area of the world, but how his specific kiosks are performing and what his specific customers prefer.”

Lucidiom photo kiosks report information contained on a consumer’s media card to Lucidiom’s APM Network. The network then can tell the retailer which cameras his customers use, which media cards they use, when they take pictures, how many do they take, are the pictures over-exposed or under-exposed, do the pictures have red-eye, and numerous other data points. The data is analyzed through Lucidiom’s APM ProfitWatcher and then presented on the Dashboard in simple and easy-to-understand charts and graphs for the retailer. The retailer than can implement the knowledge gained from the Dashboard to make inventory decisions, new marketing campaigns, new store designs, new upsell promotions, and other key business choices.

With the Dashboard, retailers can compare how their kiosk data compares to the industry norms. For example, from published research reports, the industry knows the market share of the top 10 camera-makers. When compared to Lucidiom’s APM Network data, a retailer can see how certain cameras draw attendees back to his store. In 2006, Lucidiom’s data showed that Canon and Nikon were the strongest in bringing customers back into the store, while camera-makers with home printing solutions such as Kodak and HP had less of their camera owners coming back into the retail environment for prints. By analyzing data like this with the Dashboard, a retailer can determine which new cameras he might sell in order to get recurring business.

The retailer also can find out through the Dashboard, for instance, that 80 percent of his customers have 64k media cards. The lower the data capacity of the card, the fewer pictures the customer can take, and the less pictures the customer takes, the less he/she prints. Thus, the retailer learns from the Dashboard to offer discounts on higher capacity cards, so his customers take more pictures and, in turn, print more photos.

The Dashboard will be released to Lucidiom retail clients in spring 2007. CES attendees can preview its capabilities during the show at Lucidiom’s meeting room in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth #35362, and at the Innovations booth in the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

During CES, attendees also can experience Lucidiom’s Automated Photo Machines (APMs) and print their digital photos for free at eight APMs located in the LVCC at the entrances to North 1, Central 2 and South 3 and within the Concierge Center in the LVCC Silver Lot. The APMs work with any digital media and print photos, custom cards, enlargements and more in less than two minutes.

About Lucidiom
Lucidiom Inc. is the leading provider of flexible and brand-independent photo kiosk solutions. With OEM and independent retail clients around the globe, Lucidiom is the cornerstone of the “Go Beyond” digital photography movement, encouraging and enabling retailers to push past the revenue dip caused by decreasing film sales and establish profitable and varied photo category offerings. Lucidiom’s innovative solutions, all connected via the APM Network, include the APM photo kiosk, Luci, ProfitWatcher statistics tracker and Print Station job management system. For more information about how Lucidiom solutions are helping retailers develop their digital image-based revenue streams, visit http://www.lucidiom.com.

Posted by staff at 07:00 AM

June 14, 2006

HP and self-service photo kiosk industry

At the Retail Systems expo in Chicago last month, HP showcased two new self-service kiosks —HP Store Assistant and an updated version of Media on Demand, the first product of its kind to use content scrambling system (CSS) encryption, which enables DVD-length downloads. HP has licenses from Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures to burn movies.

source link

HP helps itself to share of self-service industry

by Valerie Killifer * • 12 Jun 2006

For several years Hewlett-Packard has been building a presence in the retail industry. Best known for its computing, printing and software products, the company has shifted some its focus to the self-service market.

At the Retail Systems expo in Chicago last month, HP showcased two new self-service kiosks —HP Store Assistant and an updated version of Media on Demand, the first product of its kind to use content scrambling system (CSS) encryption, which enables DVD-length downloads. HP has licenses from Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures to burn movies.

Both products focus as much on the back-end of the retail industry as the front, an important component of HP’s self-service philosophy, said Brent Brown, HP’s director for in-store retail solutions.

“When you start talking kiosks, the whole area of self-service comes into discussion,” Brown said. “You can really help a customer with a self-service device, but we know for certain there’s a return on investment when you serve the associates and employees.”

For managers, the HP Store Assistant offers alerts on out-of-stock or surplus inventory, and displays human resources data such as employee training schedules and store earnings.
Store-Assistant kiosk.jpg

The HP Store Assistant
For customers, the store assistant scans grocery loyalty cards, locates items, offers product details, displays sales on items relevant to consumers’ grocery lists, builds shopping lists by aisle number, and prints store maps and coupons with directions to desired products.

HP technologist Jarrod Sinclair said the program helps customers make buying decisions and gives employees quick access to product information.

“What HP is trying to build is a digital supply chain while making sure we don’t forget the physical supply chain in the process,” Sinclair said.

Media on Demand follows the same principle.

The software package reduces a retailer’s in-store merchandise, such as DVDs, video games and music, by storing it on the kiosk. Movies, video games and music files can be purchased at home or in-store then downloaded to a variety of formats within eight to 12 minutes.

“Our solution lets us provide content as it would come off a shrink-wrapped disk. That is especially true from the movie aspect,” Sinclair said. “People still have the tendency to want something physical and we’re working to bridge that gap.”

HP’s Media on Demand
Media on Demand and HP Store Assistant have been envisioned as a single platform strategy. One kiosk would offer every service, including the full range of photo kiosk functions.

“It’s a matter of plug-and-play,” Sinclair said. “You basically can have one series of kiosks that provide all of these services.”

HP’s entrance into the self-service industry may have started with printers, but its reach is extending beyond that foundation.
hp-stealth-kiosk.jpg

For closer look at the kiosk click here.

“If anyone has a chance in the kiosk industry, it is HP,” said Peter Honebein, president of Customer Performance Group and co-author of “Creating Do-It-Yourself Customers.”

“There are a lot of customers out there who trust the HP brand and the experience that brand offers," he said. "HP’s kiosks provide these customers with more choices to be consistent in their brand loyalty.”

HP will continue with its self-service quest, both for employers and their customers.

“We’re not trying to create a single product for a single issue,” Sinclair said. “We’re creating a solution for a business problem.”

Posted by keefner at 07:43 AM

May 25, 2006

Movies come to Photo Kiosks

Whitech Licenses muvee’s Automatic Video Production Technology to Enable Photo-Movie Creation on Photo Teller™ Kiosks

Singapore and New York – May 17, 2006 – muvee, the pioneer and leader in Instant Personal Video, has licensed its muveeKiosk software development kit (SDK) to Whitech Software Solutions for integration with the latter’s photo kiosks. From July this year, users of Whitech’s self-service Photo.Teller™ kiosks will be able to easily create emotionally engaging music videos out of their favorite pictures in just a few steps, and burn the finished product to DVD ready for playback. Based on the user’s chosen production style, muveeKiosk technology automatically adds in music as well as style effects, graphics and transitions paced to the tempo to create the finished production, called Photo Movies.

"Instead of just printing the odd picture, Photo.Teller™ kiosk users will now have the exciting new option of turning their photos into professional-quality productions that look like home movies and can be played back on DVD and viewed on the big screen. Unlike slideshows, Photo Movies really bring out the emotion in your photos because of the way the software cuts everything to the beat of the music. And the best part is, it’s really easy to use,” said Elvin Low, muvee’s Director of Business Development for North America.

Whitech’s Photo Movie feature gives users a choice of 10 unique production styles, including ‘Action’, ‘Sepia Flicker’ and ‘MotionPix’. Each style also has its own music track. Users can opt for the express option, in which the software automatically selects pictures to make the Photo Movie, or they can manually select between 50 – 100 pictures of their choice, and the finished production will be burned onto a DVD, ready for playback. There are also plans to support DSC video input in the Photo.Teller™ kiosks in the near future.


About Whitech

Whitech Software Solutions is an innovative Australian company that offers Information Technology products and services to retail businesses all over the world.

Established in 1995, Whitech specializes in industry specific and customized electronic point of sale solutions aimed at improving the efficiency and profitability of our customers.

Whitech also develops market leading photographic digital kiosk and home ordering solutions, which successfully assist retail businesses in taking advantage of the digital boom in the photographic industry.
See www.whitechsolutions.com for more information.

About muvee

Founded in 2001, muvee is the pioneer and global leader in a dynamic new field: Instant Personal Video. muvee's award-winning autoProducer software for PCs features patented technology that revolutionizes the process of video production, allowing anyone to automatically turn home video and photos into professional-quality productions in hundreds of different styles. Users need no prior experience working with video editing software, and each production is created in seconds. muvee's products are available for the PC, camera phones, photo kiosks and other platforms, and have sold into more than 100 countries worldwide. muvee's global partners include Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, Sony, Nikon and ATI. For more information, please visit www.muvee.com.


source

Posted by keefner at 08:10 AM

March 27, 2006

Wal-Mart Seeks More Profit In Digital Photo Kiosk Biz

According to Joe Lisuzzo, Wal-Mart photo center operations marketing and new technology director, Wal-Mart's strategy entails a new partnership with HP's online subsidiary Snapfish, an expanded trial of HP's Photo Studio kiosks, and new ventures to promote camera phone printing and online image storage to the masses.

Source

The 4-by-6 market has become commoditized faster in the digital era than it did in the film era, Lisuzzo said. Today you can get cheaper digital prints than you can film prints, even though our costs are equal. So we have to step back.

It is not just the rapid price compression that's driving the reevaluation, but new consumer habits engendered by digital technology. Consumers are shooting more photos than ever, but prints are lower than ever. So we have to take the images they like and make more money off of them.

To that end, Wal-Mart will transition some duties for its online Photo Center Web site to Snapfish in the fall. The site is currently run by both Wal-Mart and Fujifilm's E-Systems division and Fujifilm will continue to link Wal-Mart's Web site to its in-store printing equipment.

We were trying to solve a dilemma, Lisuzzo said. Every time anyone reviewed photo Web sites, ours was always fourth or fifth, and Snapfish was always one or two.

Lisuzzo added that the company attempted to leverage the best capabilities of both partners. Snapfish can provide a great customer interface and Fujifilm is expert at delivering images back to the store.

Snapfish will also help the retailer up-sell higher ticket photo items. We have always embraced the idea of ancillary photo items. We think Snapfish does an excellent job of bringing those items to the attention of our customers when they're ordering a 4-by-6 online.

Wal-Mart has offered net-to-retail printing since 2003 and, along with Ritz Camera, was Fujifilm's first customer to introduce the model with a one-hour turnaround time. Since then, online orders that are picked up in store in an hour represent a substantial portion of the company's online photo printing business, Lisuzzo said.

Indeed, even though the one-hour service costs more, most consumers choose an in-store pickup option with a rapid turnaround time, said Gael Lundeen, photofinishing and Web services VP and GM, Fujifilm.

Wal-Mart will also expand a test of HP's Photo Studio kiosk, a modular system announced at the Photo Marketing Association's show earlier this month, dedicated to producing photo books, large format posters and calendars in-store with a quick turnaround time. The company was testing the kiosk in two Wal-Marts and two Sam's Club locations and will expand the test to a total of 50 stores.

The company enjoyed good results from its initial test locations, but decided to keep the product rollout in a test phase because it's a brand new customer solution, and this is HP's first foray into retail, Lisuzzo said, adding that the relationship would be collaborative. We can teach them about retail photo printing, and they can help us with new technology.

Since the model of on-site photo novelty production is new, the retailer wants more data before it commits to a wider rollout, but Lisuzzo noted that initial customer reaction had been positive and the company was very impressed with the technology.

Lisuzzo said that Wal-Mart and the industry's next challenge was to tackle the vast stores of digital images sequestered on consumers' computers. He pointed out that the company, and industry in general, had an obligation to migrate image storage away from hard disk drives which can crash, to more secure media. We promoted digital, and the customer bought in in a big way. So now we have an obligation to help them with these issues.

The company already offers long-term image storage on its Photo Center Web site for a fee, but is looking to build that out for a lower cost and make lifetime storage a viable business model for a mainstream audience. We have to get the message across in a non-threatening and inexpensive way, he said. The push will involve more CDs and DVDs and other storage solutions, he said.

As for another potential print source camera phones Lisuzzo noted that they had the potential to be the one time use camera of the future but no one has an easy solution for getting the images off the camera and into output. Even Bluetooth is cumbersome.

Wal-Mart is working on a solution to allow camera phone users to upload images from their phones to nearby locations for printing. We have to change the industry, Lisuzzo said, from a mindset of burning airtime to one where pictures can be moved quickly and easily out of the camera. It's not a real camera unless you can easily get your pictures off the phone.

He noted that the company has an application idea that will address the whole industry. Changing the prevailing mindset among carriers won't be easy, he said, but it's doable.

The final chunk of the output pie, home printing, is not a threat but a boon to retail, Lisuzzo said. We don't view home printing as a threat, and we believe it will continue to represent 40 to 45 percent of the market for digital prints, he said. In that case, We'll be more than happy to sell you paper and ink.

The photo business means output, he added. The day we stop printing pictures is the day we're out of business.

Posted by keefner at 01:38 PM

March 04, 2006

HP Unveils Self-Service Photo Kiosks

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Hewlett-Packard Co., looking to expand further into digital photography, plans to supply retailers with kiosks and consoles where consumers can instantly print pictures and create books and calendars with their favorite photos.

ABC News: HP Unveils Self-Serve Photo Kiosks

The HP Photosmart Studio and HP Photosmart Express systems, announced Thursday, are the company's latest drive to capture more of the digital-imaging market. HP already offers a wide range of cameras, printers, inks and paper and bought the Snapfish online photo service last year.

"We're leveraging our photo-printing leadership in the home to drive down the cost for retailers and to bring consumers more choice than they've ever had in stores," said Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group.

The Photosmart Studio has a console from which pictures are transferred and placed into albums, cards, calendars or posters. Projects can be created in about 10 minutes and printed and assembled, if necessary behind the counter in about an hour.

Larry Lesley, HP's senior vice president of digital photography and entertainment, said the company is helping retailers find "new revenue streams and reasons to keep the customers coming in."

HP Photosmart Express is a standalone kiosk where customers can print 4-inch-by-6-inch snapshots within 5 seconds. Shutterbugs also can send photos to a remote kiosk, where friends and family can pick them up by scanning the bar code included with an e-mail.

Palo Alto-based HP said the technology will appear first at select Albertsons grocery stores, Longs Drugs Stores and Bashas' Supermarkets, with wider availability later this year. Joshi hopes it'll eventually be available "everywhere

The stations are designed to accept payments and will be much more profitable for retailers, said Rich Duncombe, HP's vice president of retail photo solutions.

"This has been designed from the ground up as a system that will operate without intervention or without the need for a store clerk to be attending the system," he said.

HP faces competition in the $35 billion retail photo-printing business, with rivals that include Eastman Kodak Co. and Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc. Kodak alone has nearly 75,000 kiosks installed at retail businesses worldwide.

Ron Glaz, an analyst at the research firm IDC, said HP's relatively late entry into the photo-finishing business doesn't mean doors are shut. Retailers, he said, are always looking for new technologies that offer more features and lower costs.

"There's still an opportunity, but it depends on the value proposition that HP brings to the table," he said. "What's better about this than the one I have from Kodak?"

HP says its systems are both more profitable and easier to manage than the competition.

The HP systems use inkjet technology that's found in home photo printers. Because it's more widely used than the dye sublimation process used by retail photo-finishing competitors, the prices of supplies should be more competitive.

HP also claims the ink tanks and the print heads that generate the pictures will last longer than the competition's machines. The systems also can be monitored over a wired or wireless network by HP and the retailer.

Prices range from $15,000 for a Photosmart Express unit to about $50,000 for Photosmart Studio, though the cost varies depending on configuration and the retailer's agreement with HP.

Posted by keefner at 09:42 AM

January 30, 2006

Expanded Choices for Sony PictureStation Photo Kiosk

Sony Picturestation photo kiosks now come with scrapbooking software module. Scrapbooking is rapidly growing sector of the photo kiosk market.

Sony Electronics Inc.
1/30/2006 2:25:38 PM

LAS VEGAS (CHA, Booth #2063), Jan. 30, 2006 - In response to the growing hi-tech arts and crafts trend, Sony Electronics introduced Digital Scrapbooking software for its PictureStation™ Digital Photofinishing kiosk.

The new software package offers 35 pre-designed layouts for creating both 8 x 8 and the larger size 8 x 10-inch scrapbook pages, which are ideal for digital scrapbooks.

"We’ve developed software that enhances the wide-ranging capabilities of the PictureStation system," said Lynda Falby, Sony Electronics marketing manager for digital photofinishing. "With so many design options to choose from, the Digital Scrapbooking software provides a fast way to create beautiful scrapbook pages".

It also offers creative photo cutouts for mattes right on the photos. The customer chooses the size, shape, thickness and color of the matte using easy to follow touch keys. The cutout can be applied to any PictureStation print size, and even to edited photos. This new software also includes a set of seasonal borders. With this addition, there is now a scrapbook icon on the PictureStation kiosk, which includes 35 pre-designed layouts, as well as 50 new seasonal border designs for 4 x 6, 5 x 7 and 8 x 10-inch prints (both horizontal and vertical orientations) - totaling more than 250 borders.

Border categories include 2006 calendars, winter holidays, spring, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Easter, graduations and weddings. All scrapbooking pre-designs were created by Shabby Princess and Creative Snaps, two industry leaders in digital scrapbooking. For retailers, this new scrapbooking application is available for kiosk models using PSCAB250/BL or PSCAB300/BL ordering terminal/kiosk running software versions V4250 or later.

The PictureStation Digital Scrapbooking software is now available at authorized Sony resellers nationwide with a suggested list price of $699.

# # #

Editor’s Note: Readers can find the nearest Sony authorized dealer or service location by calling 1-800-686-SONYor visit www.sony.com/digitalphotofinishing. Additional press material and product images are available for members of the media at www.sony.com/news.
Related Links

Sony Electronics Inc.
www.sony.com/digitalphotofinishing


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Posted by keefner at 08:53 PM

December 30, 2005

Lucidiom Photo Kiosk at CES

Lucidiom showing new remote photo kiosk at the upcoming CES show in Vegas.

Lucidiom Inc., debuted its remote photo kiosk, the APM 7000, which gives retailers the opportunity to place photo kiosks outside their stores. Lucidiom will be showcasing its APM 7000 at the 2006 International CES, January 5-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).

Rest of Story

Posted by keefner at 06:42 PM

October 04, 2005

Research - Photo Market Heats Up

Nice background article on photo market and the segments (online) that are heating up. Uploading images and printing for 12 cents for a 4x6 is becoming more common.

Noted on SelfServiceWorld

By Michelle Jarboe
Staff Writer

GREENSBORO -- Wednesday was a typical day at the Target photo counter.

A mother tugged her young child by the hand through the parking lot of the Bridford Parkway store.

"Come on. We're going to get our pictures," she said.

Behind the photo counter, Greensboro resident Tina Martell answered questions about pricing and let customers know about four printing options: instant, one- to four-hour kiosk printing, over-the-counter and photos.yahoo.com.

"I don't think Yahoo has really caught on yet, but I think when it catches on, it'll be really good," Martell said.

The mainstream movement toward digital photography has spurred retailers to provide an array of choices for the consumer to convert images from memory card to paper. Target is just one of many retailers fighting for a slice of this market by offering photo printing through the Internet.

Internet-to-retail allows users to upload their photos to an online photo album and have them printed at an area store. And industry experts say it's growing at a monthly rate of more than 100 percent.

This technology isn't anywhere near as popular as printing at kiosks -- the stands where customers can input their digital media to produce prints instantaneously or in a few hours. But it could grab a significant chunk of the market within the next few years.

Kiosks account for 17 percent of the total prints made in the country, said Dimitrios Delis, director of marketing research for the Photo Marketing Association, a trade group.

For now, about 3 percent of prints made in the United States come to retailers through Web sites such as Snapfish.com, he said.

But Delis said retailers who offer online printing get about 18 percent of what they print through various Web sites.

"In bigger chain situations like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Costco, those places where getting the customer moving is key, they have an extra incentive to suggest to the customers to place their orders online," he said.

It comes down to convenience, yes. But it's also about competition.

At the beginning of this year, 41 percent of U.S. households had digital cameras, Delis said. In 2004 alone, consumers made about 8 billion 4-inch by 6-inch prints -- 66 percent of those at home, said Ed Lee, an analyst for market research firm InfoTrends.

Retailers are battling to snag these consumers and garner printing revenues by offering every imaginable option at the lowest possible price.

Target customer, Flora Price, Greensboro, selects pictures of her grand children at a self serve kiosk at a Greensboro Target. (KELLY PACE)
KELLY PACE
Target customer, Flora Price, Greensboro, selects pictures of her grand children at a self serve kiosk at a Greensboro Target.
"Everybody's fighting for the same digital photos," Lee said.

Stacy Bowden, manager at Ritz Camera in Friendly Shopping Center, said his store is the busiest Ritz in the state when it comes to digital photo printing. The store has offered multiple kiosks for about three years and has directed customers to Ritzpix.com for about half that time, he said.

There often are lines at the kiosks, where customers also can print calendars and greeting cards using their photos, he said. At Target, Martell's even seen fights break out when a customer with a single photo to print is standing behind someone tinkering with an entire album.

Considering these conditions, some consumers find it easier to stay home. For Greensboro resident Kelly Ellis, it's easier and cheaper to print pictures without ever leaving her home.

And no, she doesn't use a photo printer.

Instead, with the click of a button, Ellis uploads her photos to the Internet. Another click, and she's edited them for the pages of her scrapbooks.

She pays online, plunking down 12 cents per 4-inch by 6-inch photo on Winkflash.com and receives her pictures a few days later in the mail.

If she prints in bulk, she's paying less per photo than the typical retail price of 29 cents, even with a 99-cent shipping fee tacked on.

It's consumers such as Ellis -- female, the family archivist -- spurring the competition between retailers. Women, particularly busy mothers with more than two children, are the target market for digital photo offerings at CVS, said Erin Cowhig, a company spokeswoman.

In trying to capture these consumers, CVS and other area retailers not only have to worry about online marketers but also have to fight against home printing.

The bulk of digital-photo printing still happens at home, Lee said. Last year, 19 percent of total 4-by-6 photos produced were printed at retail locations. The remainder was split between online photo sites and printing at work.

But Lee predicted a 45-percent market share for retail by 2010. Home printing will be about even with retail then, he said, with Internet and printing at work sharing 10 percent of the market.

One reason for this shift is that retail printing, most of the time, is cheaper. Canon spokesman Justin Joseph said the company's latest printers make it possible to print at home for 29 cents per 4-by-6 photo.

But you have to calculate carefully which paper and ink to buy to bring your costs down that much. In general, Delis said, it's cheaper to print smaller photos at a store.

InfoTrends data predicts an output of 12 billion 4-by-6 photos in 2010, Lee said. Experts would like this number to be higher, but factors such as the rise of online photo sharing are giving consumers alternatives to printing.

The average household is still taking the same number of pictures as it did on film, Delis said. But digital camera owners are only printing about 25 percent of their photos.

Much of this printing will continue to take place at kiosks, which are likely to pop up anywhere shutterbugs might want to print -- or take -- a picture.

Someday, you might be able to snap a picture of the Grand Canyon, walk a few steps, slide your memory chip into a kiosk and pay 29 cents for an instant photo.

Kodak, the leading vendor of kiosks, is eyeing supermarkets and popular tourist destinations, said spokeswoman Kathy Rauschenberg. This is a particularly appealing technology, she said, because the return rate of customers is more than 90 percent.

"It's like once a consumer uses it once, they're hooked," she said.

Contact Michelle Jarboe at 373-7075, or mjarboe@news-record.com


News-Record.com - Greensboro, North Carolina: News - Local - Greensboro: GOING DIGITAL

Posted by keefner at 02:11 AM

August 30, 2005

Walgreens switching back to Kodak digital photo kiosks

Eastman Kodak Co. is retaking the photo kiosk business at Walgreens drug stores from Fuji Photo Film Co., making Kodak the choice of the three biggest U.S. retailers of prints.

Walgreen Co., the top U.S. drugstore chain, has installed Kodak kiosks at a quarter of its 4,859 stores, Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin said. He declined to say why the company made the change and when it would be completed.

Kiosks, where customers can make reprints from digital cameras, are part of Chief Executive Antonio Perez's shift to digital products and services as film sales fall. Walgreens in January 2004 replaced its Kodak equipment, mostly with Fuji Photo products.

"I had a lot of complaints" from customers about the quality of the Fuji prints, said Joe Martinez, who runs a Walgreens in San Francisco. "We had a lot of refused reprints. We'd do them over and they still wouldn't be right. We were losing money. It was a corporate decision."

David Lanzillo, a spokesman for Rochester-based Kodak, and Adam Yates of Fujifilm USA declined to comment on the kiosk swap, citing the confidentiality of customer relationships.

In-store digital printing is the fastest growing part of the consumer market and will expand 37 percent this year, said Ron Glaz of IDC, a market data company in Framingham, Mass. By 2008 it will account for more than half of an estimated 105.6 billion images, surpassing home printing, he said.


full story

Posted by keefner at 05:00 PM

August 27, 2005

Photo Kiosk and Minlab Kiosk Print Data from PMA

Survey Shows Digital Camera Printing Increased 70 Percent: Printing of digital prints of all sizes increased by 70 percent for the year ending June according to the PMA (Photo Marketing Association). Printing at retail kiosk minilabs skyrocketed to 128 percent.

The retail channel accounted for a total of 38.7 percent of prints made in the 12 months ending June. Specifically, 16.9 percent of the prints were made instantly by consumers on a kiosk; 19.1 percent were sent from a kiosk/ordering station to a minilab for printing or customers gave their memory card to a store clerk. Households also ordered 2.8 percent of the total prints online from home or work and later picked them up at a retail location. In addition to these prints ordered online, 8.9 percent of the total prints were ordered online and then mailed back to customers. Home computer printers and small-format consumer photo printers/docking combos accounted for about half of the printing volume in the year ending June, losing 0.9 percentage points of share from the previous month.

Including prints ordered online and picked up at a store, the retail channel accounted for 38.7 percent of the printing volume in the year ending June, a substantial improvement from 26.2 percent in the previous year. Home printing - as a share of total printing - ended the period at 49.6 percent versus 65.0 percent a year ago. Online players have also improved their share in the market from 6.2 percent in the year ending June 2004 to 8.9 percent in the most recent 12-month period.

Traditional film processing continued to decline rapidly in June. For the 12 most recent months total volumes were down 14.6 percent.

For the complete survey, visit the Market Research area of www.pmai.org. From there, click on Monthly Printing and Camera Trends.

Noted on Digital Camera Tracker

Posted by keefner at 02:41 PM

August 25, 2005

Photo Kiosk Print Data from Lucidiom

Data Reveals Robust Photo Kiosk Business beyond the 4X6 Print; Profitable APM Enlargement Orders Have Grown 17 Percent Since 2004

VIENNA, Va. --(Business Wire)-- Aug. 24, 2005 -- Digital camera users are not only printing more pictures from digital photo kiosks, they're printing more as profitable 5x7 and 8x10 enlargements, according to data released today by Lucidiom Inc., creator of the original Automated Photo Machine (APM).

Lucidiom, which powers thousands of networked digital photo kiosks around the world, gathered the data from across its proprietary APM network and revealed that enlargement orders have grown 17 percent in the past year. The company also reported the average number of APM prints per order has risen from 37.97 in 2004 to 47.61 in 2005.

"Consumers are becoming more comfortable with digital photography in general and digital photo kiosks in particular," said Lucidiom President and CTO Steve Giordano, Jr. "These numbers demonstrate the business benefit of making it easy for consumers to order multiple print sizes on the same ordering screen. That's something we've incorporated in our APM software and I think it plays an important role in these figures."

Giordano also attributed the year-over-year growth in enlargement orders and prints-per-order to the industry's success in spreading the word about the importance of printing digital images.

"Whether it's an enlargement or a 4x6, it's still a printed picture," he said. "The fact that it's an enlargement is important for the photofinisher, because there's a higher margin on that print, but in terms of the consumer moving the digital file onto paper--a print is a print. Consumers are making more of them and that's good for businesses and consumers alike."


Lucidiom APM Network Data Reveals Robust Photo Kiosk Business beyond the 4X6 Print; Profitable APM Enlargement Orders Have Grown 17 Percent Since 2004

Posted by keefner at 12:42 AM

August 06, 2005

Photo Kiosks Spread Like ATMs

nec-12-lcd.jpgMore than 70,000 digital photo kiosks have popped up on the retail landscape in recent years, in locations ranging from McDonald's restaurants and Walt Disney Co. parks to Carnival cruise ships, drugstore and mass merchandiser chains. But 7-Eleven has pulled back on its self-service photo kiosk stations and says it is studying how to market the low-margin offering.

After returning from a family vacation in Mexico, Bobbi Logsdon wanted to print some photographs of the trip. So she went to the hospital.

There, outside the cafeteria at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Williamsville, N.Y., Ms. Logsdon found what she was looking for: a Sony Corp. PictureStation kiosk, which spits out digital photos on the spot. The 38-year-old nurse manager at the hospital inserted a memory card from her digital camera into the machine and printed 10 snapshots in just a few minutes, for 49 cents apiece. "I used to go to Wal-Mart for my photos," she says. But like so many patients and new parents and staffers, she finds the hospital option "much quicker and far more convenient."
nec-12-lcd.jpg
The facility's lone digital photo kiosk is also a moneymaker, albeit a small one. Kathy Gorski, the hospital's manager of volunteer services who oversees the kiosk, says she expects the machine to bring in an extra several thousand dollars a year. The money will likely be used to improve maternity-ward services, she says.

Now popping up not just in hospitals, but also fast-food joints, cruise ships and other high-traffic spots, photo kiosks have become the newest battleground in the digital-photo printing wars. And as more players seek to grab a bigger share of the $3.5 billion annual U.S. digital photo-printing market, companies such as Sony, Eastman Kodak Co., Fuji Photo Film Co. and Pixel Magic Imaging Inc. are racing to make the kiosks nearly as ubiquitous as automated-teller machines.

Prices for the kiosks are also plunging, fostering the spread of the machines. The average list price of a photo kiosk from Lucidiom Inc. is $3,900 today, down from $5,500 last year, says Stephen Giordano, chief executive of the closely held Vienna, Va., company. Retailers typically buy the machines, and keep the revenue from prints. Some kiosk makers now also offer lease options, where retailers pay a monthly fee and share the revenue from consumers.

Full Article

Posted by keefner at 04:18 PM

August 02, 2005

Photo Kiosk market growing by 10%

photo kiosk According to InfoTrends/CAP Ventures' new forecast report, sales of photo kiosks are projected to grow by 9% in 2005. Some retailers are beginning to outfit their stores with more than one kiosk to avoid lines and long waits for customers.

Rising Demand for Retail Photo Printing Expected to Spark Rebound in Kiosk and Digital Minilab Sales, According to New InfoTrends/CAP Ventures Report
Tuesday August 2, 7:01 am ET

WEYMOUTH, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 2, 2005--Although sales of photo kiosks and digital minilabs were down slightly in 2004, the number of people printing at retail is up, driving further growth in retail digital print volumes. 2004 represented a gap year in terms of equipment sales, as the market absorbed the heavy installations in 2003 when major chain photofinishers sought to equip all their stores with digital labs and photo kiosks. Nevertheless, growth is up again in 2005, as many of the mid- and low-volume retailers that were not quite ready to invest in new hardware during 2004 are now coming on board.

According to InfoTrends/CAP Ventures' new forecast report, sales of photo kiosks are projected to grow by 9% in 2005. Some retailers are beginning to outfit their stores with more than one kiosk to avoid lines and long waits for customers. Meanwhile, digital minilab sales are also expected to demonstrate growth over the five-year forecast period, fueled by replacement sales, decreased prices, and new innovations.

Consumers are clearly responding to advertising ventures that are designed to drive them back to the store for prints. According to InfoTrends/CAP Ventures' studies, only 14% of digital camera owners who printed photos had ever made prints at a retail location in 2003. This figure increased to 33% in 2004. InfoTrends/CAP Ventures forecasts that 26% of total digital photo prints will be produced at retail in 2005, up from 19% in 2004.

"Both photo kiosks and minilabs have the opportunity to expand into new locations," says Ed Lee, Director of U.S. Consumer Services at InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. "As the market advances, expect to see kiosks in public spaces outside of retail stores. At the same time, changes in user needs will drive the opportunity for new types of minilabs, such as those that can profitably deliver lower-volume, more customized output."

Fujifilm remains the number one player in the digital minilab market, while Kodak is still the leading photo kiosk vendor in terms of market share of the installed base.

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures' new forecast report entitled 2005 Photo Kiosk and Retail Digital Photofinishing Forecast and Analysis (http://store.infotrendsresearch.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode= 61719&Click=212) is available immediately (Due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and paste it into your Internet browser's URL address field. You may also need to remove an extra space in the URL if one exists). It provides vendor market shares and a five-year forecast for the photo kiosk and digital minilab markets by subsegment. The report includes an analysis of trends in the industry, a discussion of drivers and barriers, and an assessment of the size of this market. Vendors covered in the forecast include Agfa, Digital Portal, Fujifilm, Kodak, Konica Minolta, Lucidiom, Mitsubishi, Noritsu, Olympus, Pixel Magic, Oblo, Pixology, Signifi, Silverwire, Sony, and Whitech Software Solutions.

About InfoTrends/CAP Ventures

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures is the leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions industries. We provide research, analysis, forecasts, and advice to help clients understand market trends, identify opportunities, and develop strategies to grow their businesses. Additional information about InfoTrends/CAP Ventures is available on the Web at www.infotrends-rgi.com.
Contact:

Editorial Contact:
InfoTrends/CAP Ventures
Ed Lee, 781-616-2100, ext. 124
elee@infotrends-rgi.com
or
Sales Contact:
InfoTrends/CAP Ventures
Matt O'Keefe, 781-616-2100, ext. 115
mokeefe@infotrends-rgi.com


Source: BusinessWire

Posted by keefner at 09:13 PM

June 29, 2005

Photo Kiosks Go Mainstream

With 75,000 photo kiosks installed and 121,000 estimated by 2008, photo kiosks are "hot" to say the least. The traditional outlets for consumers to get prints from their film cameras, such as drugstores and big box outlets like Wal-mart, are buying multiple units for their stores.

One store listed usage as 200,000 prints for four kiosks in one year.


Source: KioskCom.com Website

Photo Kiosks Go Mainstream

By Rick Redding

When photo kiosks were a novelty, just a few years ago, the fact that Kodak claimed a vast majority of the machines in operation was no big deal, as it had few competitors. But in her recent photo kiosk report, Summit Researchs Francie Mendelsohn reviewed kiosks from 22 manufacturers, all competing for a rapidly growing market representing all levels of photographic expertise.

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures estimates there are more than 75,000 photo kiosks in the United States, and predicts more than 121,000 by 2008. The traditional outlets for consumers to get prints from their film cameras, such as drugstores and big box outlets like Wal-mart, are buying multiple units for their stores.

It hasnt taken long for the consumer, and competitors, to catch on. In 2005, photo kiosks are number one on the growth chart among kiosk types, and retail targets include all sorts of retailers, including hotels, bookstores, rental car agencies, and vacation destinations that they say are ideal locations for new digital photo kiosks.

In June, the New York Times featured the phenomenon, a sure sign that mainstream America has figured out that trips to the photo kiosk at Wal-mart have replaced the film dropoff as the preferred method for consumers to obtain prints from their cameras and cell phones for that matter.

Its a natural result of a massive shift in America akin to the move in music to CDs, or to technology like satellite radio. This year, 80 percent of cameras sold will be digital models, and consumers seem to be less interested in printing their photos at home when they can visit photos that are as easy to find as an ATM.

Another factor related to digital camera is that many individuals are happy to keep their photos on hard disks on their home computers, or even in their cameras. Hewlett-Packard estimates that 80 percent of digital photos are never printed.

Despite efforts by printer manufacturers to market the ease of printing at home, experts say that as a mass market product, consumers prefer ease and convenience of the local store over learning the technology, buying the supplies and software and learning to print photos at home.

In fact, theres a price war brewing among retailers. The New York Times report found Wal-mart selling 4 x 6y prints for 19 cents, Costco at 17 cents and a Sams Club for 14 cents. The Summit report estimates that printing at home can cost up to $1 per print, though Hewlett-Packard claims the cost of ink and photo paper is as low as 24 cents per print.

Another option for individuals is to use one of a number of online photo sites, such as Snapfish or Shutterfly, which turn around prints in a day or two and charge as little as 10 cents.

But all the trends still point to the rising popularity of photo kiosks for printing photos in America. The InfoTrends report said the percentage of those printing at retailers rose by 14 percent in 2003 and 37 percent in 2004.


Rest of Article

Posted by keefner at 02:33 PM

June 17, 2005

Kiosk Industry Buzz -- Photo Kiosk Do's and Don'ts

photo-kioskFrancie Mendelsohn of Summit Research gives us the latest Kiosk Industry Buzz as she see's it.

This month -- the photo kiosk is a complex equation. According to Francie Mendelsohn of Summit Research self-service photo kiosks are hot and will get even hotter. Just don't forget the maintenance.

Photo Kiosk Negatives Dont Neglect Maintenance

Photo kiosks are HOT! And will get even hotter over the next two-three years. They already account for more than 20 percent of all currently-deployed kiosks. Yet recent articles in the mainstream press paint a distressing picture. In their June 2005 issues, both Consumer Reports and PC Magazine discuss frustrations with using in-store photo printing kiosks. Not only were the prints of generally poor quality, but in almost half the cases, the reporters were unable to use the kiosks at all they were not functioning.

We at Summit have been preaching the necessity of top-notch kiosk maintenance and remote monitoring software for years. Nowhere is it more necessary than with photo kiosks. Retailers have to know if the unit is malfunctioning. In one case, we tested a kiosk that was not able to accept credit card payments. Because that method was the only way to pay for prints, we wasted more than hour of our time. When we encountered this problem at a leading grocery store chain store employees told us that the problem had been evidentand unresolvedfor a month. This is unacceptable and will lead to the removal of these promising devices. Furthermore, it is nave to expect a customer who has been burned by this kiosk ever to return to use it another day. Once he/she has been frustrated, they are not going to try it againever.

Similarly, if a photo kiosk is low on consumables, the appropriate people have to be notified long before the unit actually runs out of photo paper or inks. Remote monitoring plays a key role in these devices and must be an integral part of the total photo kiosk solution. It cannot be left to chance or to employees who cannot be depended upon to rectify a situation before it actually becomes a problem. Both magazines reported several incidents of dead kiosks.

Onsite maintenance is also a requirement. Both the kiosk and the photo printers (both internal dye sublimation or external silver halide) have to be operating at peak levels. Customers will not use a kiosk again if the prints are of poor quality - grainy, fuzzy or washed out.

Replenishment of consumables, normally signaled by the remote monitoring software has to be tied in with maintenance because a growing number of customers report ordering, for example, 100 prints only to receive 60. What happened to the remaining 40? The printer ran out of paper. The kiosk remote management software had indicated that there was plenty of paper and inks available, and let the order be processed. Because people are taking more and more photographs with ever-larger memory cards, this a problem that will only worsen in time.

Accordingly, the remote monitoring software has to be modified to ensure that these problems will be a thing of the past. It should calculate the total size of the customer order, compare it with the available consumables, and either process (and charge) for a partial order, or not allow the transaction to proceed until and unless the consumables have been refilled.

Summit Research Associates recently published the Second Edition of their Kiosk Industry Sector Report Digital Photography. Details can be found at http://www.summit-res.com/reports.html

Originally published on http://www.kis-kiosk.com June 17, 2005

Posted by keefner at 02:53 PM

June 07, 2005

Pharmacy chain installs Sony PictureStation kiosks

It has been nearly 25 years since the first minilab made its appearance and forever changed the face of retail photo processing. Its still possible, however, to offer customers great service and high-quality prints without an in-store lab.

Fruth Pharmacy Inc., Point Pleasant, W.V. (www.fruthpharmacy.com), is a good example. With 22 locations in West Virginia and Ohio, none have a minilab.
The Fuji wholesale lab in our region handles our processing, and a Fuji van makes daily stops at all our stores to pick up the film in our drop boxes and deliver completed orders, says Terri Thomas, director of Advertising/Marketing.
Our customers who are printing their digital images at home are our biggest competitors.
Terri Thomas
Fruth Pharmacy Inc.

We have an unusual situation in that Fuji overnight processing and delivery lets us offer our customers 1-day service, while the local Kmart and Wal-Mart offer 2-day standard service.
Fruth charges $3.99 for 3.5-by-5-inch prints and $4.99 for 4-by-6-inch prints, regardless of exposures. To obtain a CD with prints costs an additional $6.99.
In an April 2002 interview with Drug Store News, Don Pullin, Fruth CEO, said the company strategy for growth was to strive to raise the performance of existing units through the time-honored tradition of delivering exceptional customer service and maintaining a loyal customer base.
Regarding photographic services, this translates into offering in-store digital imaging choices to its customers.

Kiosk solutions
Among the 22 Fruth locations (two new stores are scheduled to open later this year), 20 units are in freestanding buildings, and two are located in strip malls. Except for the four stores located in Charleston, W.V. (the state capital), and Huntington, W.V., the remaining 18 stores are located in rural areas.
Each has 16 running feet allocated for photographic products, which include the traditional assortments of films, one-time-use cameras, batteries, and frames, as well as digital imaging items, such as inkjet paper, replacement inkjet cartridges, and media cards.
To stay competitive with Wal-Mart, we also need to carry a few digital cameras at modest prices.
Thomas signed a contract for 22 Sony PictureStation kiosks, one for each store, last October at the 2004 PMA Fall Conference and Mini Trade Show in Chicago, Ill.
It was the first time I attended the show, and I thought it was great, she says. I was able to see all the different kiosks in one location, and carefully weigh their features to determine the best fit for our customers and staff.
Her principal buying criteria were a built-in scanner for print-to-print copies, the ability to offer prints with borders, 8-by-10 enlargements, a touch-control monitor, and all-round ease of operation, including maintenance.
Though the Sony PictureStation is meant to be completely self-service, there always will be customers wholl need assistance.
A cashier is likely the first person to whom a customer would turn for help, as kiosks are placed near the checkout counters to help reduce the numbers of prints leaving the store without payment.
Five PictureStations were installed last December, in time to benefit from the last-minute Christmas card rush. As of mid-March, Thomas says she and her assistant were installing one kiosk per day, until all 22 were in place and operational.
The kiosks are very easy to install, and this also gives me the opportunity to do a little more training, Thomas says. She also conducts staff training sessions at the company headquarters in Point Pleasant.
The training is very hands-on, and I request employees bring either a print or a digital memory card if they own a digital camera, she says.
We had Fuji Printpix Digital Systems in some stores prior to going exclusively with Sony. Without a touch screen, many customers required assistance; and staff members werent always able to handle their questions or perform simple maintenance.
Then, too, there were no print scanners on the previous kiosks. I was looking for a kiosk to serve the needs of all our customers those who bring in old family photographs to copy, as well as customers with pictures stored on digital media.
The goal is to eliminate situations where an employee tells a customer only the manager or team leader can help her with the kiosk.
In the past, weve had an Out of Order sign on kiosks just because people didnt know how to add paper or change the internal lamp. Needless to say, this isnt good for business, Thomas says.
Given how fast technology changes in the digital world, the PictureStation model Thomas installed last December has already received its first update from Sony.
The new system and offers a slightly faster processor, plus such features as a USB 2.0 port. Thomas explains the USB feature is designed to allow stores to easily upload new software, rather than for customers to use to download picture files from their cameras at this time.
Many new cameras shown at PMA 2005, however, feature 16MB or 32MB internal memory.
So far, Ive not heard about any customers bringing in their digital cameras to make prints from the internal memory, says Thomas.
Store managers are asked to call Thomas about any out-of-the-ordinary customer requests, as well as operational issues, though she reports having no technical problems arising during the first three months of heavy usage.
The first PictureStations were designed for countertop use. The new PictureStation incorporates a stand-alone floor design, with an attractive dark blue stand.
The countertop machines can be inserted into the stand and upgraded to match the new system. Though no customers have brought one in, the new system does not accept floppy disks at this time.
Along with the Sony kiosks, Thomas also acquired three dye-sublimation printers for each unit one for 4-by-6-inch, one for
5-by-7-inch, and one for 8-by-10-inch prints. Each printer gives the customer cut and trimmed prints, except for wallet-size photos, which are printed four pictures to a 5-by-7 sheet and must be cut manually.
Because the units are designed for customer self-service, staff training also includes a discussion regarding copyright laws.
Any time a customer places a print on the scanner, a copyright warning comes up automatically on the screen. To proceed, the user must check a box that says the warning has been read and the user accepts liability for any copyright infringement, Thomas explains, adding that a similar copyright placard also is placed at each kiosk.

read rest of story

Posted by keefner at 03:31 AM

June 06, 2005

Photo Kiosk Gaining Wider Acceptance

Nice piece on photo kiosk and digital music download kiosks. Writer uses the McDonalds in Germany proof-of-concept as part of the basis and then coordinates it with photo kiosk numbers from Pixel Magic

Excerpts:

Music Download Kiosk
The system in Munich was installed by Contnet AG, a local service company that remotely monitors, diagnoses and changes software for the kiosks via the Internet and a DSL connection. The terminals are subject to vandalism, such as "kids feeding the card slots with slices of pickle or ketchup," according to Thomas Kienbauer, a DTM representative in Germany. However, he feels that this, along with software glitches, is being solved. "In the first three months of operation we had some 18,000 downloads of current music titles without spending a single euro on advertising," he said. Based on the initial success of this test, DTM is planning to expand its placement of kiosks in other non-traditional locations.

Return on investment. Basically the return on investment is Revenue/Costs = (Volume x Price)/Costs. To calculate the potential volume, Briggs cited projections indicating that in 2005 the number of digital prints being made at retail would be 15 percent of the number of prints made from films.

Photo Kiosks
If the daily film volume has been 25 rolls per day, equivalent to 750 4R film prints per day, then you should expect to make 15 percent, or 112 digital prints per dayor 2,800 prints per month. He added that retailers could average 39 per print, so that the anticipated sales would be: 112 prints per day x .39 per print x 25 days per month = $1,092 per month.

PHOTO INDUSTRY REPORTER: Issue 13 Number 8: Photo Imaging Kiosks Gaining Wider Acceptance

Posted by keefner at 10:45 PM | TrackBack

May 26, 2005

Online Photofinishing Price War Escalates

In the digital photo world the price war has escalated with Snapfish (owned by HP) offering prints for 12 cents (4x6). The industry average is 22 cents according to the PMA. Snapfish is #3 behind #2 Shutterfly and #1 Kodak EasyShare/Ofoto (50% share). All of this impact the digital photo kiosk world as prices there are usually baselined against wholesale online.

For reference three years ago the average price was 50 cents. The online services represent 7% of the total photofinishing market, according to InfoTrends.
Rest of article

Posted by keefner at 07:16 PM

May 24, 2005

WiFi Digital Camera Delayed

In photo kiosk related news, Kodak announced that the new EasyShare camera with WiFi won't be available until October (in time for holiday season though..).The idea of the camera is to have customers shoot and then upload to the Kodak website (formerly known as OFOTO) via the WiFi system. Making a 4 megapixel camera must not be all that difficult so we can only assume that the WiFi system is having a few problems.

Posted by keefner at 08:17 PM

May 17, 2005

Photo Contract for Army and Air Force

Kiosk Exchange (Robert Pratt, Bob Gallner)announced a big win for photo kiosks for the US Military. The contract calls for the deployment of 118 digital photo units in 115 Army and Air Force installations in the U.S., including Hawaii, Alaska and Guam.

The Kiosk Exchange, a Subsidiary of Strategic Management & Opportunity Corporation Announces Contract from AAFES for Deployment of Digital Photo Kiosks in 115 U.S. Military Installations
Monday May 16, 11:03 am ET

BELLINGHAM, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 16, 2005--Strategic Management & Opportunity Corporation (PINK SHEETS:SMPP - News), is pleased to announce that the Kiosk Exchange, a wholly owned subsidiary of SMOC and its SMO Multimedia division has been awarded a contract from the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES). The contract calls for the deployment of 118 digital photo units in 115 Army and Air Force installations in the U.S., including Hawaii, Alaska and Guam. Kiosk Exchange was chosen for its advanced technology in remotely monitoring every device in all of its systems, and providing its state of the art system for instant digital printing.

Robert Gallner, President of SMO Multimedia, and an Industry veteran commented on the contract award by stating:

"We are extremely pleased with the award. We felt that we could provide the best solution for AAFES and its customers and it showed in us being awarded the contract. We feel we offer the best stand alone instant photo kiosk in the industry today." With the popularity and growth of the digital camera market, consumers are looking for convenient, high quality options for printing. The EZpix solution is very different from many current solutions on the market today in that it is completely focused on Self-Service and requires no counter assistance whatsoever. The units are also remotely managed 24 hours a day through a sophisticated network program that can automatically troubleshoot any potential operating issues. Important items like paper levels and standard maintenance issues are reported in real time."

Robert Pratt, CEO of Strategic Management & Opportunity Corp. (SMPP) and parent company to the Kiosk Exchange, commented "We are glad to provide tangible growth to the shareholders of SMPP." The digital photo space is growing faster than any one ever imagined. The deployment to AAFES clearly demonstrates our abilities to market our products into mainstream areas where these services are desperately needed and ROI can rapidly be achieved."

About AAFES

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is a joint command of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, and is directed by a Board of Directors who is responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force through the Service Chiefs of Staff. AAFES has the dual mission of providing authorized patrons with articles of merchandise and services and of generating non-appropriated fund earnings as a supplemental source of funding for military Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs. To find out more about AAFES' history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/pa/default.asp.

About SMO Multimedia and Kiosk Exchange

SMO Multimedia www.smomedia.com is a full service application developer, software developer, and integration company serving the kiosk industry. Through its subsidiary and marketing partner, the Kiosk Exchange Inc the company specializes in development and sales of applications pertaining to the self-service industry. The company markets software and hardware designed mainly for the digital media markets, including photography. Its EZpix instant photo kiosk www.ezpixkiosk.com is a revolutionary digital photo solution that compliments existing equipment in the marketplace such as the Kodak Instant Picture Maker, (NYSE: EK - News), the Sony (NYSE: SNE - News) Picture Station and Fuji (OTCBB: FJCPF - News) Aladdin Systems.

Through strategic partnerships and through its proprietary product line SMO Multimedia is positioning itself to be a leading player in multiple digital media industries. The company has acquired the necessary sales organizations, its own Network Operation Center, as well as an installation and service company. These corporate assets allow SMO's quality control to be managed completely within the organization. SMO Multimedia has also partnered with the best of breed service in all areas outside of the companies core product lines to provide consulting and deployment services that are second to none.

About Strategic Management & Opportunity Corporation

The goal of SMOC is to provide an environment where a diverse group of companies can be acquired and then focus on the development and deployment of their individual core technology. This environment capitalizes on leveraging the core competencies of the group and provides centralized expertise in areas common to the group as a whole. Currently SMOC has two wholly owned subsidiaries; "SMO Multimedia Corporation," a Washington Corporation and the Kiosk Exchange of Plantation, Florida. SMO Multimedia works with the Kiosk Exchange in the sales, design, and placement of self service digital photo kiosks and is preparing to deploy advanced way-finding and kiosk systems in high traffic areas including airports, shopping centers, federal buildings, etc. Please see the corporate website www.smocorp.com for further information on the Company and its subsidiary companies.

NOTE: Safe Harbor Statements may contain "forward looking statements" under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This announcement and herein mentioned conference call may contain "forward looking" statements. Although we believe that the statements contained herein and in call are reasonable, no assurance can be guaranteed as to their accuracy, authenticity or prove correct.
Contact:

SMOC
Sam Lindsey, 360-354-3118
www.smocorp.com
or
Investments 101, Ltd.
Investor Relations:
Jeffrey A. Brommer, 336-882-8063
www.investments101.com

press release link

Posted by keefner at 03:07 PM

April 16, 2005

Still Cameras Running Out of Steam?

camera.gifThe digital camera market is running out of steam, according to research from Strategy Analytics, which has recorded a surge in demand for camera phones.

It seems demand for camera phones could hit demand for digital cameras with the major players struggling to maintain current growth rates.

Digital camera market 'running out of steam'
By Tim Richardson
Published Friday 15th April 2005 10:43 GMT

The digital camera market is "running out of steam", according to research from Strategy Analytics, which has recorded a surge in demand for camera phones.

It seems demand for camera phones could hit demand for digital cameras with the major players struggling to maintain current growth rates.

Four in ten of all mobile phones shipped last year had built-in cameras. In all, 257 million camera phones were shipped worldwide during 2004 accounting for 38 per cent of all handset sales, well up on the 84 million camera phones shipped a year earlier.

Nokia accounted for 18 per cent of market share, followed by Motorola (17 per cent) and Samsung (13 per cent) as global sales grew 200 per cent on the year.

At the same time, camera phones outsold digital still cameras by almost four to one.

According to analyst Chris Ambrosio: "The digital still camera market is running out of steam. Vendors such as Kodak, Canon and Fuji will find growth harder to achieve in 2006."

He reckons that by 2010, camera phones will account for 15 per cent of the low-end digital still camera market. Which is nice.

Posted by keefner at 04:25 PM

March 24, 2005

Photo and Contactless Payment

Amex_Sign.jpgAmerican Express has signed US retailers Ritz Camera and Sheetz to its contactless payments system, ExpressPay.

Finextra: American Express signs merchants for contactless payments: FULL STORY


ExpressPay uses RFID technology in the form of a chip-based keyring attachment or embedded in a traditional smart card to transmit payment instructions to merchant terminals. The user holds the key ring or card next to a reader to complete a purchase.

Ritz Camera will install ExpressPay across its 1300+ locations, beginning with stores in New York and Phoenix. Sheetz has already rolled out the ExpressPay system across its 305 convenience stores nationwide. In addition, the system will be switched on for payments at Sheetz petrol pumps by the summer.

American Express has been testing ExpressPay at merchant locations in the Phoenix area since 2002 and in New York since 2003.

Visa launched its own system in the US last month, although at the time no card issuers were offering the contactless payments cards and Visa declined to say whether any retailers have agreed to use the technology.

MasterCard's contactless PayPass system has been tested at McDonald's restaurants, among other locations, and is also being incorporated into the card loyalty programmes run by MBNA on behalf of the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens.

Earlier this month both MasterCard and Visa agreed to share a common communications protocol for radio frequency-based contactless payments at the point of sale, based on the MasterCard PayPass spec.

Posted by Craig at 02:03 PM

March 22, 2005

HP Buys Online Photo Firm

HP is buying online photo storing and developing website Snapfish.com. The deal comes just a day after Yahoo bought Flickr - another leading online photo firm.

story link

HP hooks Snapfish.com
By John Oates
Published Tuesday 22nd March 2005 09:45 GMT

HP is buying online photo storing and developing website Snapfish.com. The deal comes just a day after Yahoo bought Flickr - another leading online photo firm.

Snapfish users can keep their pictures online, share them with other people, edit and improve pictures as well as order prints and other products. Snapfish also offers these services to retailers and other companies to sell to their customers. The firm, based in San Francisco, claims 13 million registered users and is gaining another half a million each month. Pricing for printing starts at 19 cents per picture.

HP is keeping the Snapfish brand for now and will gradually move users of its HP Photo service over to Snapfish.

Assuming regulators and shareholders agree, the deal should close in April. No financial terms were released.

HP press release available here.
http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2005/050321e.html

Posted by Craig at 02:21 PM

March 21, 2005

Price War Develops in Digital Photos

A price war has broken out in digital photo printing.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Costco Inc. and other retailers are sharply cutting prices on digital-photo prints in a furious effort to win consumers who are switching to digital cameras from traditional film.

The companies that make home printers are also stepping up their bid to grab more of this business. Hewlett-Packard Co., which has sold many consumers on the convenience of making digital images at home, says it will effectively cut the per-print costs 17 percent for people who own H-P printers and buy its paper and ink.

The price cuts come at a critical time for retailers and printer makers. With the shift from film to digital picking up steam, the next two years are seen by many experts as crucial in forming consumer habits.

As the heavyweights slug it out, digital-camera owners are the big winners. They are in many cases finding that it is cheaper to print digitally captured images than those taken with film.

Two weeks ago, Wal-Mart cut prices on standard 4-by-6-inch prints made from stored digital images to 19 cents from 24 cents. Wal-Mart, the nation's largest photo finisher, charges 29 cents apiece for prints from film.

For customers who don't mind transferring the images from their computers to Wal-Mart.com's Web site, the per-print price has dropped to 17 cents. (The prints are ready for pickup at the store in two days.) Wal-Mart's wholesale-club affiliate, Sam's Club, charges even less for a similar service: 15 cents, down from 16 cents before the recent round of cuts.

To undercut Wal-Mart, wholesale-club leader Costco was planning to lower its rates on one-hour processing to 17 cents from 19 cents. Meanwhile, drugstore giant Walgreens Inc. is running a digital-print special at 20 cents a piece for 50 prints in some markets, compared with the 29 cents it normally charges for digital or film prints. Walgreen's store signs proclaim that its prints are "half the cost of printing at home," says a spokesman. The calculation is based on the prices of home-PC printer supplies like ink and paper.

The other players in this battle are the online photo sites such as Shutterfly.com and Ofoto, which is owned by Eastman Kodak Co. These sites accounted for a combined 8 percent of all prints made last year.

Photo finishers are hoping that the lower prices will induce consumers to print more of their digital pictures. Consumers spent an estimated $8.2 billion for prints last year, including both those made at retail outlets and at home, according to Photo Marketing Association International, a trade group. But that is a fraction of the potential market: Only about 20 percent to 30 percent of digital pictures taken are developed.

The price cuts also come as digital cameras are rapidly stealing market share from film cameras. Of the cameras sold this year, about 80 percent are expected to be digital. But despite the growth in digital photography, the number of overall prints made at home and at stores fell 4.5 percent in the U.S. last year to 27.4 billion, according to PMAI.

With the film business drying up, retailers can ill afford to lose printing revenues, too. After a slow start, retailers are beginning to gain traction with digital printing. Digital prints ordered at retailers more than tripled last year, says PMAI, while the number of prints made at home were up 37 percent. And the momentum is clearly with the retailers: Last year, while about 61 percent of all digital prints were made at home, that is down from 90 percent in 2000.

One reason is the sharp increase in retail outlets offering digital printing. Most drug and discount stores can now handle digital prints in their one-hour photo-processing minilabs. Labs can produce prints at a cost to operators of less than five cents a piece, says Greg Joe, marketing manager for Japan's Noritsu Ltd., a big minilab maker.

Retailers with less business can install cheaper, but also slower, digital kiosks. The number of photo kiosks in the United States is expected to grow to 121,000 by 2008, up from 75,000 today, says Kerry Flatley, a consultant with market researcher Infotrends. Last year, 17 percent of digital-camera owners used a kiosk vs. just 6 percent the year before, she says.

Long term, home printing is likely to decline to just 15 percent of all prints, says Gael Lundeen, general manager photofinishing and Web services for Fuji Photo Film USA Inc., the leader in the minilab business.


Price war develops in digital photos - 03/20/05

Posted by Craig at 02:33 PM

March 19, 2005

Photokiosks in Russia


Mitsubishi Brings Photo Kiosks to Russia ahead of Kodak

Posted by keefner at 09:04 PM

March 17, 2005

Photo - To modify or not to Modify

HELP YOURSELF - Marjie Whittemore, left, working on her digital photographs at one station while Laura Richards, center, and her mother, Lisa, attempt to produce prints at a camera store in Concord, N.H. Self-service photo centers are also emerging inside convenience stores. 17kiosksmall.jpg

Meet You at the Photo Kiosk
By MARCIA BIEDERMAN

Published: March 17, 2005


AMMY JACKSON of the Bronx likes to print her digital photos at the Costco Wholesale store in Brooklyn, where, on a recent Saturday, the lines in front of two Noritsu desktop kiosks moved quickly. That is largely because Costco does not allow editing of 4-by-6-inch prints, priced at 19 cents each, reserving the privilege for more expensive enlargements.

That does not bother Ms. Jackson. "I'm a plain Jane," she said. "I don't do a whole lot of fancy stuff." She said she preferred the interface on the kiosk at Costco to one she had tried at a drugstore, which asked her to make more choices. "It's faster," she said.

But not every kiosk user takes Ms. Jackson's approach. At Concord Camera in Concord, N.H., customers are invited to perch on stools and sip coffee while customizing images from their digital cameras on one of the store's five Agfa Image Box desktop kiosks, each placed on its own cafe-style table. Coloring books are provided for children.

"Customers bring friends and show them how much fun it is to make prints," said Michael St. Germain, owner of the 2,600-square-foot independent store, where customers pay 39 to 49 cents for a standard-size print, depending on the quantity ordered. That is more expensive than at chain stores in his area and around the nation, where the price for a 4-by-6 print is typically 29 cents.

Yet business is flourishing at Concord Camera because, the owner says, he allows his customers, mostly women, to work on images at their leisure. He plans to add more kiosks to reduce wait times.

Mr. St. Germain invested in his first digital-printing machine seven years ago, fearing what he called the erosion of film as digital-camera sales took off. His hunch proved correct: last year, as film sales nationwide continued a four-year decline, according to Photo Marketing Association International, his store produced 200,000 digital prints on only four kiosks, and he expects the figure to be more than double that this year.

"Digital printing is a high-margin product," far more profitable than selling cameras, he said. Far bigger companies, too, believe that kiosks could turn film's demise into an advantage.

And change is afoot in the kiosk industry, as manufacturers and retailers aim to please both the customer in a rush and the one who likes to play.

"A real issue now is lines," said Bing Liem, president of Agfa Photo, noting that a growing number of retailers have multiple kiosks. Some Costco stores have six. Kiosks are also appearing in convenience stores, in maternity wards and on cruise ships.

Eastman Kodak, which now has 15,000 Picture Maker digital printing kiosks in the United States, expects to ship 5,000 to 10,000 more this year. Those figures do not include Kodak's older print-to-print Picture Maker machines, which the company says it has ceased distributing. Some of its new machines will include scanners, but the trend at Kodak and other kiosk makers is in a different direction: equipping the units to accept images from camera phones, now that some, like the 1.3-megapixel Sony Ericsson S700i, take pictures good enough to print.

"While all forms of digital printing are growing, none is growing faster than kiosks," said Alex Hodges, Kodak's director of kiosks for the United States and Canada. According to Kodak, kiosk printing increased by 356 percent last year.

A few years ago, nearly all digital printing was done at home. Now, even with the proliferation of home printers designed specifically for photos, many camera owners are content to go out. Last year, Kodak said, 1.9 billion digital images were printed by all methods, with 57 percent done at home, 33 percent at retail locations and 10 percent through online services. The company predicts that by 2007 the number of printed images will rise to 10.7 billion a year and that the share printed at kiosks will grow to 37 percent.

Market researchers say a single consumer is likely to print at multiple locations, turning out one or two snapshots on a home printer but bringing large jobs to a store.

Economics is one factor. "Consumers are saying home printing is O.K., but once they've used up their first batch of paper and ink, they get sticker shock," said George Briggs, the president of Pixel Magic Imaging, which supplies kiosks to Eckerd Drugs and Carnival Cruise Lines.

Francie Mendelsohn, president of Summit Marketing, which follows the kiosk industry, estimates a print made at home with high-quality ink and paper might cost $1. And, she adds, "it takes time."

But kiosk printing can take time, too. In the coming months, consumers could see changes at kiosks, including wider availability of automatic red-eye reduction, eliminating the need to locate problem eye areas individually on a touch screen. Moreover, print speeds will increase for some instant-print kiosks that produce prints through dye-sublimation or other fast-acting processes. (Kiosks networked to a store lab using silver-halide chemicals will most likely remain one-hour photo services, with actual print delivery time dependent on work flow.)

Generally, "if you get your prints instantly, they cost more, and if you wait an hour they cost less," said Gael Lundeen, Fujifilm's vice president for photofinishing and Web service. But at Drug Fair, a chain of drugstores in New Jersey, a quick 4-by-6 print on a Sony PictureStation costs 29 cents, the typical rate for one-hour prints in the area.

Kodak plans a May release of its 5.0 version of Perfect Touch technology, which will let kiosk users select images for automatic detection and correction of red-eye. Fujifilm says it will add automatic red-eye reduction to kiosks this summer, and it is developing an instant-print kiosk with an adjustable screen.

Dominating the kiosk market with tens of thousands of units each, Kodak and Fujifilm have squeezed out some competitors. But others have entered the arena, including makers of kiosk interfaces and software that market their products under retailers' labels. Among them is Pixology, an English company whose software powers kiosks at Costco and the drugstore chain Duane Reade. Pixology allows automatic red-eye reduction, and has done so for some time, said a spokeswoman for the company, Leanne Tritton.

Yet even as image correction and print speeds are streamlined, many kiosks will continue to slow the process with options for such things as borders, sepia tones and captions. Such embellishments seem aimed at women, who, manufacturers say, print the most digital images.

"Mom is the one who wants to print her memories of Junior's birthday party," said Dave Johnson, a senior marketing manager for Sony Electronics, which makes the stand-alone PictureStation. About 60 percent of kiosk users are women, according to a 2004 survey by InfoTrends/CAP Ventures.

But fresh from judging new kiosk models at the Photo Marketing Association trade show last month, Mrs. Mendelsohn of Summit Research thinks simple works best.

"Borders are fine, but it's like people shopping for shoes," she said. "If you insist on letting people add text, then charge for it, because it adds time. Don't let me add red or blue, because I'll mess it up. I think it's foolish to let people fool around."

The more choices and control for the customer, the longer the process. "The consumer experience for the person doing the editing is fine," Mr. Hodges of Kodak said, but "the experience for the person waiting in line is something we have to work on with retailers."

Indeed, much is left to retailers, whose concerns with security, credit card authorization and point-of-sale systems sometimes seem to defeat advances in kiosk technology. Though called self-service, the units often involve interaction between a customer and a store employee who must punch in a password.

At times, kiosks seem no more automatic than the old Horn & Hardart Automat restaurants in New York and Philadelphia, where store employees could be seen restocking the pie slices dispensed at coin-operated windows.

For kiosks networked to one-hour photo labs, the customer may have to copy a kiosk order number onto the same kind of envelope used for film orders. And though most stand-alone units can be configured to accept credit cards, customers must often get in a line to pay at a register, following a wait in the kiosk line.

Consumers may even discover that a kiosk does not accept their media-storage format. Newer models have slots for various kinds of memory cards, as well as CD and floppy-disk drives. They are also likely to accept input from camera phones through Bluetooth and infrared technology. But they may lack U.S.B. connections for flash drives, in part because some manufacturers say they are more apt to carry viruses. "We have to work on solving that," Ms. Lundeen of Fujifilm said.

The well-prepared customer comes to the kiosk with images that have been edited and transferred to a CD at home, Mrs. Mendelsohn said.

Sometimes there are other hurdles. Sony recently introduced a high-speed version of its stand-alone PictureStation that produces 4-by-6 prints in eight seconds, a third of the time of its predecessor. But print speed was not the problem for a recent customer to a branch of FedEx Kinko's, Sony's major retail client - it was having to flag down an employee to enter a password before each print was made.

Jay Dellostretto, Sony's vice president for digital photofinishing, says his company turns on password protection at the store's request. "It offers the retailer an opportunity to make sure the customer is comfortable, or to suggest backing everything up on a CD-ROM." It also, of course, deters customers from scooping up their prints and leaving the store without paying.

Fujifilm can attach a credit card acceptor to its coming Get the Picture stand-alone kiosk, which will have an adjustable tilting screen. But "the overwhelming majority of retailers would prefer to have people pay at the counter," Ms. Lundeen of Fujifilm said, because the kiosk may not be linked to the store's point-of-sale system.

Olympus Imaging Systems offers retailers a prepaid card for its TrueTouch kiosks to eliminate passwords. But working out payment systems can be complicated, said Joe Leo, Olympus's director of new business development, because in some cases the kiosk is owned not by the store but by the manufacturer.

"There's been some inertia in how photofinishing is presented to the consumer," Mr. Leo said. But he believes retailers, and kiosk users, are figuring things out.

Posted by Craig at 02:20 PM

March 08, 2005

Kiosks at PMA

Kiosks Dominate In-Store Printing Options

By Greg Scoblete -- TWICE, 3/7/2005


Orlando, Fla. Reflecting the surge in in-store printing among digital camera owners, kiosk and digital minilab vendors hit PMA in force, hoping to secure retail real estate with faster, smaller and more functional printers.

Konica Minolta introduced the new R3 Super 1000 digital minilab system with a footprint of 15.1 square feet. The lab uses the companys Solid state Electro-optic shutter Array Device (S.E.A.D.) technology, in this case a 12-inch S.E.A.D. exposure engine to achieve a 400 dpi resolution.

Additional features include a double magazine unit, in-line one-touch CD writing, Kodaks Digital ICE image correction software, image archiving and red-eye correction.

The company also introduced its Photo Link kiosk, available as a tabletop unit connected to a minilab or as a stand-alone self-service print kiosk when used with an optional printer. The unit features a touch-screen panel with instructions in multiple languages, built-in speakers and video clip-driven guides. The kiosk accepts all the major memory card formats and lets consumers add pre-formatted borders, special effects, perform photo editing or create photo calendars on screen.

To use the Photo Link as a stand-alone print-kiosk, Konica Minolta will offer a 4-inch by 6-inch dye-sublimation printer capable of making a print in 12 seconds. They will also offer a receipt and label printer.

Lucidiom introduced two new retail kiosks in addition to a software for analyzing kiosk performance. The Automated Photo Machine (APM) 1500, list price $5,500, is a counter-top model featuring a 15-inch touch-screen LCD, slots for camera media cards in addition to a built-in receipt printer and CD burner. It can be connected to an inkjet or dye-sublimation printer or a minilab.

The company also introduced a kiosk with built-in 4-inch by 6-inch and/or a 5-inch by 7-inch dye-sub printer in the APM 6000, list price $7,900. It features a credit card reader, flash memory card readers, a CD burner/DVD reader, and 15-inch touch-screen LCD.

The company also unveiled a Web-based kiosk management tool called APM ProfitWatcher, which lets kiosk owners remotely monitor kiosk performance using a Web-based interface. The system allows retailers to track kiosk use, adjust pricing, and send new content to individual units.

Noritsu added two new dry printing minilabs designed for low volume stores to produce photo prints without a chemical process. The dDP-421 and 621 minilabs use 7-color pigment inkjet technology to produce images from digital media. They offer a footprint of 11 square feet and print sizes up to 12 inches by 18 inches. The 621 can produce 385 4-inch by 6-inch prints per hour.

Sony introduced a thinner version of its PictureStation kiosk, measuring in at 63 inches by 17 inches by 23 inches, which will be offered alongside the full-sized deluxe model of the PictureStation. The slimline model features Sonys new UP-DR150 dye sublimation printer, which can fire out a 4-inch by 6-inch print in just 8 seconds and a 5-inch by 7-inch print in 15 seconds.

The printer can also produce wallet, 3.5-inch by 5-inch and 6-inch by 8-inch sized prints and offers wireless or wired credit card capability. The kiosk will be available in March with either a single or dual UP-DR150 printer option. The PS150SLM1/BL with a single printer has a suggested list price of $7,995. The dual printer PS150SLM2/BL has a suggested list price of $9,995.

Pixology announced a Web-based kiosk management tool for its retail partners. The system lets users track orders and kiosk use in addition to remotely diagnosis and monitor kiosk functioning.

YesVideo unveiled the YesDVD Generator kiosk for transferring photos and video clips from flash memory to a DVD. The unit accepts the major memory card formats in addition to images stored on CDs/DVDs and USB flash drives and saves photos and video as an MPEG-2 slideshow with music capable of playback on a DVD player. The kiosk can process 50 customer orders per hour and offers a touch-screen interface with step-by-step instructions for guiding consumers through the DVD creation process. It will ship to retailers in April.

Posted by Craig at 02:32 PM

February 22, 2005

PMA News Coverage

Imaging Resource has all the company news and booth reports for PMA 2005. site link

Posted by Craig at 02:28 PM

February 03, 2005

Kodak In The Lead

Kodak has released an announcement that says they are leading in U.S. digital camera, snapshot printer, photo kiosk, and online picture sharing markets.


Eastman Kodak Company now has the market lead in four major United States consumer digital photography segments: digital cameras, snapshot photo printers, retail photo kiosks, and online picture sharing sites.

Market research firm IDC, in its full-year 2004 digital still camera study* issued today, reports that Kodak's digital camera shipments give the company an industry leading 21.9-percent U.S. market share -- the first time that Kodak has held this top position. Kodak was also the fastest growing brand among market leaders, with a 66-percent year-over-year increase.

-- According to the NPD Group, Kodak Easyshare printer docks were the best-selling line of snapshot photo printers in the U.S. in 2004**. Kodak has shipped more than 2 million printer docks since their introduction in mid-2003.

-- Approximately 30,000 Kodak Picture Maker kiosks are installed at retail locations across the U.S., making them the most widely used photo kiosks in the country. Of these, nearly 50-percent include new wireless capabilities for effortless picture printing from mobile phones.

-- Kodak's online picture sharing and printing service -- Ofoto (to be renamed the Kodak Easyshare Gallery come March) -- continues to add members at a record pace, with more than 20 million subscribers.

story link

Posted by Craig at 08:26 PM

January 19, 2005

Digital Print Trends

Study Indicates Continued Digital Print Growth for Retail Photofinishers

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures' Study Indicates Continued Digital Print Growth for Retail Photofinishers
Wednesday January 19, 7:00 am ET


WEYMOUTH, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 19, 2005--According to a new consumer survey from InfoTrends/CAP Ventures, 37% of digital camera owners who print photos said they had tried retail services in 2004. Retail services include ordering prints at a photo kiosk, ordering over-the-counter at a retail store, or ordering through a retailer's online site for pickup in the store. This percentage is up from 14% in 2003, demonstrating the growing popularity of printing digital photos in retail stores.
While more digital camera owners are trying retail services, the home continues to be the leading location for producing prints. During 2004, 94% of digital camera owners who print photos made at least some of their prints at home, up from 90% in 2003. Digital camera owners who print at home create "throwaway" prints on plain paper as well as archival prints on special photo paper.

"Digital camera owners are using a combination of printing services to meet their needs," says Kerry Flatley, a Consultant at InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. "Digital camera owners who print at home and at retail prefer a retail environment for enlargements and for printing more than 10 photos. Printing at home is considered a convenient option and the best choice when producing fewer than 10 photos. These locations are not mutually exclusive, as this research shows that the two will continue to co-exist."

Our survey results also indicate that the number of digital camera owners who print at retail will continue to grow. Only 13% of digital camera owners who currently print say they print at retail most often. At the same time, however, 33% of future digital camera owners (consumers who plan to purchase a digital camera in a year) expect to print primarily at retail.

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures' report entitled 2004 Photo Kiosk and Retail Digital Photofinishing End User Study Analysis is available immediately. The analysis reveals detailed trends about where consumers print their photos and why they do or don't print at retail stores or use photo kiosks. It also looks at print sizes ordered at retail, prints per order at retail, consumer awareness issues, and much more. The expected print behavior of future digital camera owners is also examined. The analysis is 72 pages long, and it contains 60 Figures and 4 Tables. The analysis is accompanied by two sets of 190+ page data tabulations, which are broken out into demographics and printing behavior.

About InfoTrends/CAP Ventures

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures is the leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions industries. InfoTrends/CAP Ventures provides research, analysis, forecasts, and advice to help clients understand market trends, identify opportunities, and develop strategies to grow their businesses. Additional information about InfoTrends/CAP Ventures is available on the Web at www.infotrends-rgi.com.


Posted by Craig at 04:00 PM

January 18, 2005

Google Enters Photo Market

Google Inc. is stepping further into the management of digital photos as it launches an update to its Picasa software.

story on PC Week

The new version, called Picasa 2, will be the first release of the software since Google acquired Picasa Inc. six months ago. Picasa, of Pasadena, Calif., introduced its namesake application for finding, editing and sharing digital images in 2002. ADVERTISEMENT

While Picasa 2 adds a range of features for photo editing and organizing, it also introduces Google-like touches to the application.

These include two organizational features copied from Google's Gmail service. The first is the ability to highlight a "star" icon to organize photos and narrow searches. The other lets users create labels so instances of a photo can exist in multiple places.

The update also replaces a Picasa-branded service for buying digital prints with the Picasa Marketplace that connects to popular photo-sharing sites such as Ofoto Inc., Snapfish, Shutterfly and Walmart.com, said Lars Perkins, the general manager of Picasa.

Directly within Picasa, users can upload photos to the online photo services and then be taken to the services' Web sites to order prints. Picasa does not receive any revenue from the services and plans to integrate with other sites, Perkins said.

"It's a marriage of client software with Web services, and it's the first part of our strategy to make the marriage work," Perkins said.

For photo editing, Picasa 2 has added 12 visual effects options, including sharpening and color tinting. It also provides one-click tools for fixing common problems. These include "fill light" for adding light to dark areas and a tool for straightening the horizon in an image.

eWEEK.com Special Report: Google's Global Reach "What we're trying to do is to give users tools to take ordinary pictures with ordinary flaws and to be able to easily fix them," Perkins said.

Picasa 2 also provides the ability to back up photo albums to either a data CD or DVD and to create a gift CD that creates a slideshow of photos.

The new version adds support for RAW data files, a high-resolution format used by leading digital camera makers.

After buying Picasa, Google made the software available as a free download. Picasa 2 also will be free, and it supports Windows 98 and higher.

Posted by Craig at 03:37 PM

November 30, 2004

Photo Kiosks Reviewed

Digital photo kiosks are dandy, but not all are created equal

By REBEKAH DENN
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

There was a time when one-hour film processing seemed like a great deal.


PDF
The P-I printed out 12 test pictures from a CD at a variety of local digital print kiosks. See how they rated.

Then came the digital age, with instant images on the back of the camera, but nothing to pack in your wallet, hang on the wall or pass around work.

Now there's a new breakthrough: digital photo kiosks.

They advertise do-it-yourself prints in minutes. As an added bonus, most allow idiot-proof, on-the-spot editing -- from cropping to adjusting colors to eliminating redeye.

Sure, we could print our digital photos at home -- if we want to become Photoshop pros to do the editing and invest beaucoup bucks in a high-quality printer, ink and paper that will stand the test of time. (Industry analyst Kerry Flatley says cost estimates for quality home 4-by-6 prints range from 50 to 70 cents apiece.)

Or, we could drop off our memory cards, CDs and the like at the same one-hour counters where we used to take our film. However, we don't like to leave our personal electronics with strangers, and that whole concept doesn't scream "added convenience."


Incandescent indoor lights make this photo a tough one to print, giving yellowish tint to white clothing unless the printer corrected for it. We also tested how well the kiosks let us crop this photo into a separate portrait of the couple on the left.
So the P-I recently tested how various do-it-yourself digital kiosks measure up against traditional printing techniques.

We loaded a CD with 12 photos taken with a midpriced Nikon camera, choosing a range of challenges -- difficult exposures, poor lighting, varied skin tones and other test markers -- and headed out to the stores.

For added comparisons, we also checked out an online photo service and a high-class professional lab.

Then we asked P-I graphics editor Julie Simon to rate the results in a blind test of our 4-by-6 prints. Details are in the accompanying chart. Here's what we also found:

Wow! -- We're impressed with some features on the more elaborate kiosks -- the tricks that used to require mailing your negatives off to specialty shops and waiting weeks for results. Want to add borders or captions, or use photos on calendars or holiday cards? Done! Beyond the basic editing -- say, removing redeye -- some machines allow fancier options, such as converting photos to antique-style sepia tones.

Overall, the quality is good -- Most of our prints were at least comparable to one-hour film printers. The best prints by far, though, came neither from a kiosk nor a lab, but from Kodak's official online service, ofoto.com. (We didn't sample other online services, such as Shutterfly and Snapfish.)

Cost doesn't necessarily equal quality -- The cheapest place we tried -- Costco's 14-cents-per-print machines -- got the highest overall score of any kiosk. And our most expensive kiosk prints -- 59 cents apiece at the Sony machines at Kinko's -- ranked close to the bottom for quality.

It can pay to go to the pros -- Especially with tricky prints. Overall, Prolab, the well-regarded company we anonymously asked to print our photos, scored in the middle of the second wave of "pretty nice" prints that ranked after Kodak's ofoto.com. But Prolab's 99-cent prints were the clear winners when we considered only the three "toughie" prints -- dim lamplight, a shadowed face in snow and dark skin tones. Conversely, Costco, which scored so well overall, got poor marks when we considered only those three difficult prints.


We used this photo to test how well the printers fared with sharp details and fine lines. Some succeeded with the detailed dandelion tufts, but couldn't pick up the delicate green colors of the stem.
Time wasters -- Most kiosks work quickly once you get started. However, even a single person ahead of you in line can mean an annoying wait if they spend time on editing, adding captions and general decision making. Plus, two of the stores we tried (Rite Aid and Kinko's) required flagging down a clerk for a password before we could make our final prints. Some stores (Walgreens, Costco) didn't provide instant prints, but transmitted our information behind the counter and told us to return in an hour for the goods. There are no credit-card swipers on these machines, so all require a separate wait in line at the cash register.

Money savers -- Just as digital cameras eliminate the cost of film, kiosks allow you to print only the images you really want. Say a friend sends you a CD of her wedding photos: You can view them all on the kiosk screen, make five copies of your favorite, make single copies of a few others, and not bother with the rest. Plus, editing features like cropping allow you to make usable prints out of images you might not have liked otherwise.

The technology is less than perfect -- The Walgreens kiosk was out of order on our first visit, sending us on a lengthy detour. And when we tried loading our disk onto the Fuji Printpix kiosk at Cameras West in Northgate, it listed three of our 12 images as "corrupt" and therefore unusable. A salesman told us the problem was a common one. He tinkered with his own laptop and used some Photoshop tricks to get our images into a form the kiosk would accept. (When we loaded the disk into another Fuji kiosk at a different store, it recognized all 12 pictures, and a Fuji spokesman tells us it sounds like the Northgate store had an older model.)


This photo helped up test how well kiosks fared with dark skin tones and shadows. Some of the printers darkened the man's face until we could barely make out his features.
What you see isn't necessarily what you get -- Kiosk screen images and finished products may differ. The nifty caption we added to one photo at the Walgreens kiosk, for instance, was printed closer to the bottom edge than we expected on the final print. And we thought we had lightened a dark print to an acceptable level when we looked at the screen of the Kodak Picture Maker at Rite Aid, but it came out of the printer darker than we anticipated.

All machines are not created equal -- Not even all versions of the same machine are created equal. When we first used a Kodak Picture Maker, we thought it had lots of great editing options, but they were of little use for our print-a-few-snapshots goal. The machine wouldn't allow us to make single 4-by-6 prints; we were limited to $6.99 sheets that forced us to cut out three 4-by-6 prints by hand. When we checked with the Kodak folks, they told us that about 15,000 of the 25,000 machines in use in the country are newer models that do produce single prints for between 29 cents and 39 cents apiece.


David Badders/P-I
Francie Mendelsohn, president of Summit Research Associates in Rockville, Md., who specializes in digital kiosk comparisons, said her research showed a wide variation in quality even between the exact same kiosk models. How the machines are maintained, she said, appears to be the big factor that separates one from another.


POPPING UP LIKE MUSHROOMS

Kiosk print technology is gaining in both popularity and availability, with 39 percent of digital camera users trying kiosks this year compared with 28 percent last year, said analyst Kerry Flatley, a consultant with the Massachusetts-based Infotrends.
Flatley predicts we'll see more kiosks adding conveniences such as accepting phone-camera images. And both Flatley and digital kiosk researcher Francie Mendelsohn expect to see kiosk printers in more places in coming years, from coffee shops to tourist traps.

"I think you're still just at the beginning," said Mendelsohn.

One of the advantages kiosks offer, she notes, is that some allow users to save images from the camera to a CD in addition to printing them on the spot. "If I'm at the Grand Canyon, I want the security of knowing everything I shot is safely on a CD. But I don't necessarily want to print them, I want to go ahead and reuse my memory card."

Although we thought the do-it-yourself editing was one of the best features of the kiosks, Mendelsohn thinks we'll soon see less of it, or at least more no-edits-allowed kiosks.

"If you have to wait in line while someone is fiddling around ... you're going to say life is too short and you leave."


Fujifilm offers two types of kiosks, said spokesman Andrew LaGuardia -- an Aladdin Digital Picture Center that allows photo editing and is linked to a state-of-the-art photo processor, and the Printpix we used, which is a stand-alone "immediate gratification printer" with no editing options.

-- Rebekah Denn

P-I reporter Rebekah Denn can be reached at 206-448-8190 or rebekahdenn@seattlepi.com

Digital photo kiosks are dandy, but not all are created equal

Posted by Craig at 08:55 PM

November 23, 2004

Polaroid Dropping Out

Job cuts at Polaroid follow failed kiosk play

By Sheri Qualters
Boston Business Journal
Updated: 7:00 p.m. ET Nov. 21, 2004


WALTHAM -- As it struggles to change its image from an instant-film company to a digital-imaging company, the restructured Polaroid Holding Co. slashed payroll this month after scrapping development of an instant digital-printing kiosk earlier this year.

Despite its abandonment of the kiosk market, Polaroid is focusing most of its research on digital-image printing technology. Polaroid's chief product in this area so far is its PP46d thermal photo printer released in August, according to company spokesman Skip Colcord. But Polaroid's most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission states that the company's "significant investment" in instant digital printing "continues to have an adverse effect on profit from operations."

Polaroid's filing also noted that "there can be no assurance that any of these (other) digital-printing applications will be commercialized."

Polaroid also collects a minor percentage of its revenue from contract manufacturing, licensing and niche products such as digital cameras, sunglasses and secure identification systems for commercial applications.

A couple of years after emerging from bankruptcy and during its first year as a newly formed public company, Waltham-based Polaroid (OTCB: POHC) is in the midst of extensive restructuring to cope with a fading instant-film market. Company officials declined to reveal how many workers were laid off earlier this month, but former employees estimate that between a couple dozen and 50 workers were dismissed from Polaroid's Waltham site, with many more worldwide.

A former employee who was laid off earlier this year said the recent cut was "a major hit for the company. ... The place seems to be coming unglued. The film sales are collapsing."

Colcord said the cuts were necessary because Polaroid is facing the "same challenges as the rest of the film industry."

"The restructuring that's going on is part of an ongoing program that we have to reduce expenses as instant film sales decline," Colcord said.

To pay for the cutbacks, Polaroid took $8.9 million in restructuring charges for the first nine months of this year, compared with $5 million in 2003, which covered severance for about 135 workers. Although local workers report significant Bay State layoffs, the company's filings state that most of the charges are to downsize non-U.S. manufacturing, sales and marketing.

Polaroid also reported that sales of instant camera and film products slid about 19 percent during the first nine months of this year, compared with the same period in 2003. During the first nine months of 2004, Polaroid reported sales of $496 million, and net earnings of $53.7 million, or basic earnings per share of $1.61. The company's sales totaled $564 million during the first nine months of 2003, which translates to net earnings of $63.9 million before a onetime gain of $2.6 million, or per-share earnings of $1.89.

In August 2002, One Equity Partners LLC of New York became the majority owner of Polaroid. One Equity was the venture capital arm of Bank One Corp., which was acquired by New York-based J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in July. Less than one-third of the company's shares are actively traded, Colcord said.

Although the new Polaroid is a shadow of the corporate giant that dominated Cambridge's Memorial Drive, the company still maintains a sizable presence in Greater Boston. Polaroid employed about 3,400 workers at the end of last year, according to its 2003 annual report, with about two-thirds involved in manufacturing, Colcord said.

About half of Polaroid's total work force is based in the United States, mostly in Massachusetts, according to Colcord. Besides Waltham, Polaroid also operates in New Bedford, Norton and Norwood.

Echoing the sentiment of various industry analysts, one former employee said Polaroid "didn't move quickly enough into the digital space."

Polaroid's delay in entering the digital kiosk market left open the way for Rochester, N.Y.-based Eastman Kodak (NYSE: EK), which now dominates both the kiosk and the home printing market for snapshots, according to analyst Ulysses Yannas of Shrewsbury, N.J.-based Buckman, Buckman & Reid Inc.

"Anyway you look at it, (Polaroid is) late in the game," Yannas said.

The missed opportunity closes the door on a growing market, according to research from Weymouth-based market research firm InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. An October InfoTrends report projected that sales of kiosks will grow from "a little under $300 million" in 2003 to just shy of $400 million in 2008, said analyst Ed Lee.

"As time goes on, there are more and more retailers," Lee said. "Now Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is in the market full bore."

Polaroid could still compete in the growing photo-printing market, Lee said.

"It's not at a stage where companies are fighting for market share," Lee said. "There's still room for another player."

The home printing market is eventually expected to be larger than the retail space, and Polaroid is well-positioned to sell supplies for that market, such as film paper, said David Haueter, a principal analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based market research firm Gartner Inc.

"They have a brand awareness with instant-film prints," Haueter said. "They could be successful selling the supplies."

2004 Boston Business Journal
URL: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6554953/

Posted by Craig at 02:20 PM

November 22, 2004

Printing at Kiosks and Online Trends

IDC predicts 69 percent of printed digital photos will emerge from home printers like H-P's. By 2007, that figure will fall to 42 percent

Like millions of other Americans, Julie Berry got a digital camera this year. What the 35-year-old stay-at-home mom does with the pictures is the subject of the next big battle over the future of photography.
After snapping shots of her 2-year-old daughter, Ginger, Ms. Berry printed them out in her study - and was disappointed. "The photos just didn't have great color or great resolution," she says. "I just thought: 'Oh well, I guess we have to buy a better printer.' "

A few weeks later, Ms. Berry had more luck at the digital printing kiosk at the CVS Corp. pharmacy near her home in Mansfield, Mass. On her first try, Ms. Berry produced 30 digital prints for 29 cents a pop in less than half an hour. Now, she's a convert. "It's easy and it's very reasonably priced," she says, "especially considering I don't want to spend time and money and run out to buy a new printer."

The switch to digital cameras has already brought sweeping change to the $85 billion photography business. Eastman Kodak Co., the big film company, saw its business drop off and is struggling to adjust. Camera makers found a hot new product. Now, the next battlefield is rapidly taking shape: Printer makers like Hewlett-Packard Co. are in a fierce struggle with big retailers like CVS and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as well as upstart Web sites to capture consumers while their habits for printing digital pictures are still in flux.

The stakes are high for retailers, who have long benefited from the foot traffic and profits generated by the $5.3 billion U.S. film-processing business. Wal-Mart stores brought in a hefty $3.5 billion in revenue from photo processing in the last fiscal year, or 2 percent of store revenue. They are even higher for H-P. While printing accounts for 30 percent of H-P's revenue, it generates 75 percent of the company's profit. H-P has been counting on printing color photos at home to keep the ink flowing for years to come.

For a while, H-P dominated the market. As recently as 2002, 91 percent of digital photos printed in the U.S. were produced on a home or office printer, according to research firm IDC. With more than 40 percent of the consumer inkjet-printer market, H-P was sitting pretty.

Now, the big retailers are rapidly pushing into digital-photo printing, with do-it-yourself kiosks and drop-off centers. They are challenging H-P with TV ads and promotional campaigns attacking the cost and complexity of home printing. A new crop of online photo sites promises consumers professional digital images without leaving home.

While printing at home still typically costs 60 cents for a 4-by-6 image, including the costs of ink and paper, big retailers generally charge below 30 cents and some online sites charge less than 20 cents.

The result: This year, IDC predicts only about 69 percent of printed digital photos will emerge from home printers like H-P's. By 2007, it projects that figure will fall to 42 percent - albeit in a much bigger digital photo market.

Now, H-P is urgently shifting its strategy to recapture Ms. Berry and others like her. When H-P entered the digital-photo business nearly a decade ago, it worried most about matching the quality of film snapshots - developing machines that could create high-quality images, but only slowly and at fairly hefty prices.

Since taking over five years ago, H-P Chief Executive Carly Fiorina has invested more than $1 billion in new digital-photography products, including cameras and portable photo-printers. Today the company is betting that the convenience and instant gratification of home printing will triumph over the hassle of traveling to a store. H-P is aiming to cut in half, to 30 seconds, the time to print a 4-by-6 image. It's testing cheaper paper and ink. And it's trying to simplify the task of printing images directly from camera-cellphones by developing software that easily sends an image to a printer.

"This is absolutely a big bet for us," says Vyomesh "VJ" Joshi, H-P's executive vice president for printing and imaging. "Retailers are usually one of the slower groups to respond, but they suddenly woke up. So we have to get more aggressive."

Two years after H-P completed its $19 billion acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp., the company is struggling to deliver consistent growth. Protecting its printing cash cow is critical to doing that. Analysts estimate that ink cartridges carry a gross profit margin - sales price minus the cost to make the cartridge - of more than 60 percent. That's far higher than the margins on H-P's personal computers, standardized server-computers and other products. H-P sells most of its printers at a loss, planning to make up the difference on ink sales. Photo printing is especially lucrative, because pictures consume 20 times as much ink as printing a page of text. H-P's color inkjet cartridges generally cost between $19 and $35.

Unlike traditional film, which requires consumers to print out a picture before they can see the image, digital cameras allow users to delete an image they don't like and then crop, edit and enhance images they want to keep.

Printing those pictures is a big growth opportunity for H-P, as digital cameras move from high-end gadget to mass phenomenon. Sales of film in the U.S. peaked at $6.2 billion in 2000. Last year, film sales totaled $5.3 billion, down 13 percent. Meanwhile, 66 million digital cameras will be sold this year, up from 12 million in 2000, predicts InfoTrends Research Group Inc.

Others covet those images as well. Online photography sites like Snapfish, the online arm of District Photo Inc., and closely held Shutterfly Inc. will print digital photos for 29 cents or less - under 20 cents for those who prepay - and mail them to customers in a day or two. Yahoo Inc., which started a similar site in 2000, sells prints for 19 cents, and recently offered 100 free prints to new subscribers to its high-speed Internet service.

The biggest challenge comes from large retailers that are offering to usher consumers into this unfamiliar world with a familiar routine: Bring us your digital images, and we'll give you professional-looking finished prints. Even retailers that sell H-P printers, such as Best Buy Co. and CompUSA Inc., are beginning to compete with H-P by offering digital-photo services in their stores.

For retailers, digital printing is a rich new vein. Traditional prints require the extra step of exposing a negative through a chemical process, and retailers can charge only about 15 cents a print because there is still so much competition in the field. Digital prints, which essentially involve only the cost of ink and paper, are currently commanding about 29 cents, meaning gross margins are higher.

In pitching their services, retailers focus on price and simplicity. Walgreen Co. proclaims on posters in its stores that its 29-cent prints are cheaper than home printing. CVS runs TV and print ads showing digital photos being printed while consumers shop for other items. Wal-Mart sells H-P printers but increasingly emphasizes its own digital-photo service, at 24 cents a print. By the end of the year, Wal-Mart expects to offer digital-photo processing in more than 3,000 of its more than 3,600 stores and wholesale clubs.

The roots of this clash stretch back to the mid-1990s, when film still ruled the day. In 1995, 640 million rolls of film were sold in the U.S., for $4.9 billion. Consumers' habits were entrenched: They snapped photos, took the film to a nearby store and got prints. Digital cameras were still expensive - $650 and up - and couldn't produce detailed images.

But H-P looked ahead and saw that affordable digital cameras would soon produce high-quality images. Hoping to expand the use of its consumer printers and to sell more ink, H-P in 1995 began building specialized photo printers. The company concentrated on making these printers work well with high-quality inks and paper so that home-printed digital images would retain the gloss of traditional film prints.

H-P's future competitors also calculated ahead. Makers of film-processing equipment for big retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco Wholesale Corp. began to go digital. In 1996, Fuji Photo Film Co. released a digital lab for retailers. Noritsu America Corp. followed in 1999. "We were betting the mass audience would return to its old photofinishing habits," says Paul D'Andrea, a Fuji senior vice president.

Kodak, meanwhile, is trying to play it all ways in the digital photography world. As it shifts away from its traditional film business, the company is developing photo printers and digital cameras of its own. It has also put a stake in the online digital image market with its popular Ofoto Web site, which charges 29 cents per print. Kodak also sells do-it-yourself digital printing kiosks and other photofinishing equipment to retailers.

In 2000, Wal-Mart executives studying camera sales realized consumers were switching to digital cameras more quickly than they had projected. So in 2001, Wal-Mart began converting its photo services to digital-photo equipment. The retail giant stressed convenience, allowing customers to drop off digital-camera memory cards and return for finished prints, just as they had done with traditional film. It has also created an online service that mails prints to users, or allows them to come to the store to pick the photos up. "We want to make digital-photo printing as easy as going to an ATM," says Dave Rogers, Wal-Mart's vice president of photo centers.

The traditional film developers also attacked home printing on price. In 2001, Costco started offering digital prints for 19 cents each. The next year, Wal-Mart cut its standard price to 24 cents, from 29 cents. "If you really understand what it costs to print photos at home, plus all the extra time involved, then people will see it's a good deal to print in stores instead," says Mr. Rogers.

The price cuts triggered alarm bells at H-P, which until then hadn't needed to worry much about the minimal competition. At the time, H-P estimated that home prints cost roughly 60 cents each, including the price of ink and paper. Consumer focus groups revealed another problem: Home printing was slow, consuming 60 to 65 seconds to print a 4-by-6 image, compared with as little as six seconds at some retail photo kiosks.

So H-P shifted to making home printing easier. In 2002, H-P introduced printers with slots for the memory cards that store images in a digital camera, eliminating the need to transfer photos to a computer before printing. In a speech that year, Ms. Fiorina said that H-P had streamlined the process for capturing, storing, sharing and printing images to three steps, down from 57.

In 2003, HP's Mr. Joshi pulled the plug on a joint venture with Kodak that was building digital-processing equipment for retailers, refocusing on home printers and allowing him to redeploy 150 people and several million dollars in spending toward the effort. In August 2003, he gathered a dozen lieutenants in his San Diego office and delivered clear marching orders. "Your mission in life is to make home printing mass market," Mr. Joshi says he told the group. "We have to capture every home print we can."

To speed printing, H-P increased the number of nozzles on an ink-jet head, cutting printing time to 40 seconds from 60 seconds. To address consumer fears of complexity, the company last year held 4,000 training sessions to show retail salespeople how quickly H-P's printers can churn out a photo. H-P also created kiosks, now being installed at retailers, where consumers can test cameras and printers.

To tackle the cost of home printing, H-P focused first on paper. H-P had been using paper from expensive specialty mills. Then, last year, H-P executives say they figured out how to make photo-quality paper at a cheaper mass-market mill in Europe, slashing the consumer's price for a 4-by-6 sheet of photo paper to 10 cents, from 30 cents.

Trimming the cost of ink was a more delicate task, because the company relied so heavily on ink profits. So it borrowed a trick from cereal-makers, reducing cartridge prices by putting less ink inside, and making the cost of ink overall appear cheaper. "If we put in a lot of ink and lower the price of the cartridge, we can't make money," says Boris Elisman, H-P's vice president of supplies marketing and sales.

H-P also began searching for ways to tap the booming market for cellphones with cameras. Executives feared camera-phones would encourage consumers to snap and e-mail images without ever printing them. So H-P dispatched employees to interview camera-phone users in Europe and Japan, who said they would print images more often if they could do so by pushing a single button on their phones.

Soon after, H-P agreed to develop printing software to transmit images from phones made by Finland's Nokia Corp. This past February, H-P, Canon Inc. and Seiko Epson Corp. agreed to cooperate on technology standards to make it easier for consumers to print images from many types of camera-phones.

Now H-P is trying another price-cutting strategy, offering a discount to consumers who buy paper and ink together. In August, H-P began selling a bundle of 280 sheets of photo paper and two cartridges for $80, down from $150 if the items are purchased separately. H-P says the combination reduces the cost of a 4-by-6 digital print to 29 cents, from 60 cents.

Consumers are still trying to find a new digital routine. Ana Scofield, a travel writer based in St. Paul, Minn., received a new H-P digital camera from her fiance over the summer. She began snapping pictures of her two teenage children immediately, and to her delight, was able to print the photos out at home on the H-P printer that had come bundled with the digital camera.

But because of the costs and hassles of buying new printer cartridges, she plans to split her printing between H-P and the retailers. "I'll print pictures that I want right away at home," says Ms. Scofield. "But for multiple copies, I'll definitely go to someone else."


As cameras go digital, a race to shape buyer habits

Posted by Craig at 02:21 PM

November 15, 2004

Digital Photo Service to Web

Wal-Mart takes one-hour photo printing multi-channel with a web service. Wal-mart's partner in this endeavor is Fujifilm.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. today rolled out a one-hour digital photo service that allows customers to upload photos to Walmart.com or Samsclub.com and pick them up in a store an hour later. Wal-Mart expects the service to be available in 3,000 stores by the end of the year. The new offering takes to the web the one-hour digital printing service that is available in stores.

"We are taking our one-hour photo service to a whole new level by making this technology available nationwide through our web sites and the One-Hour Photo Centers in our stores and clubs, said Dave Rogers, vice president of Wal-Mart. We believe it will revolutionize the way our customers process digital photo prints."

The price for online service will be the same as the price for in-store service24 cents for a 4x6 print.

Wal-Mart and Sams Club are giving away software titled, "My Wal-Mart or Sams Club Digital Photo Center at Home," which equips home computers with functions similar to those on photo kiosks inside Wal-Mart and Sams Club stores. The software is available from Walmart.com or Samsclub.com. Customers can also obtain a hard copy, also at no charge, at Wal-Mart stores.

InternetRetailer.com - Daily News for Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Posted by Craig at 02:30 PM

October 27, 2004

Photo Technology

Apple Announced iPod Photo today.

http://www.apple.com/ipodphoto/

A delight for the ears. A feast for the eyes. Though its no bigger than a pack of playing cards and weighs in at just over 6 ounces, iPod Photo delivers a one-two sensory punch. Letting you carry an entire library of your favorite music up to 15,000 songs or enough photos as many as 25,000 to fill nearly 200 slide trays or cover nearly 5,000 square feet of wall space. Got a really big den?


The newest member of the iPod family, iPod Photo comes in two sizes: a 40GB model, available for $499, and a capacious 60GB model that sells for $599. Both feature a razor sharp LCD display that lets you see your photos in vivid color 65,536 colors, to be exact. And with its built-in backlighting, youll be able to admire those photos indoors or out.

Take Your Photos for a Spin
Like its famous siblings, iPod Photo features the touch-sensitive Apple Click Wheel thats the envy of the industry. Youll use it to navigate iPod Photos new menu. Now in living color, its easier to read than ever. Thats thanks in part to the clarity of the display it offers 220x176-pixel resolution and in part to the new Myriad typeface. Spin the wheel to Music, and you can scroll effortlessly through dozens of playlists, hundreds of albums or thousand of songs.


Or highlight Photos. iPod Photo displays 25 full-color thumbnails at a time. And you can scroll through them the same way you scroll through song titles. Quickly. Just spin the wheel to see more. And when you see a photo youd like displayed all by its lonesome, just click the center button and voila. No one will have to say cheese as long as you have iPod Photo around. Whether youre listening to tunes or checking out photos, youre sure to be all smiles.


Get Brownie Points for Sharing
If youd like everyone else to smile right along with you, iPod Photo makes it easy. Sure, you could let them take the Click Wheel for a spin themselves, but heres a way to get extra points for style. Use the included AV cable to connect iPod Photo to a projector or TV. You can mesmerize friends and family with a glorious multimedia experience, offering them a breathtaking slideshow accompanied by the music you already have on your iPod Photo. Of course, you get to choose the songs, albums or playlists.


iTunes 4.7: Your Photo Passport
Wondering how youre going to get all your digital photographs into iPod Photo? iTunes 4.7. The new version lets you import your images directly into iPod Photo from a folder on the hard drive of your Mac or PC. Spent time organizing your photos using iPhoto on a Mac or either Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 or Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 on a PC? iTunes 4.7 rewards your diligence by importing the albums youve created in iPhoto or collections created in Album or Elements. Youll be able to choose them from the Photos menu on iPod Photo.


Wait, theres more. iPod Photo features even more robust Auto-Sync capabilities. Now, in addition to offering the industrys best music syncing, iTunes offers stellar photo syncing, as well. Update your photo collection by adding images or creating new albums, and the next time you connect iPod Photo to your Mac or PC using the included FireWire or USB 2.0 cables, iTunes 4.7 will automatically synchronize your photo collection. And did we mention that iTunes 4.7 also autosyncs Album Art? Its true. The Album Art downloaded when you purchase music from the iTunes Music Store is transferred to iPod Photo along with the music. So while iPod Photo plays your tunes, you can enjoy the Album Art in color, of course on the Now Playing screen.

Enjoy Improved Battery Life
Whether youre on a transcontinental flight or an extra long hike, if you plan to listen to music for hours and hours, iPod Photo has you covered. Fully charged, it lets you enjoy up to 15 hours of continuous music; or up to 5 hours of continuous slideshows with music.(2) Use the FireWire or USB 2.0 cables to quickly charge the batteries. Or use the iPod Photo Dock that comes with both 40GB and 60GB models.

Music capacity is based on 4 minutes per song and 128-Kbps AAC encoding; photo capacity is based on iPod-viewable photos transferred from iTunes.
Rechargeable batteries have a limited number of charge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced. Battery life and the number of charge cycles vary by use and settings. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information.

iPod Photo Features
Take up to 15,000 songs or up to 25,000 photos wherever you go
Auto-sync your music, photos and album art with iTunes 4.7
Sharp, vivid 2-inch Color LCD screen displays more than 65 thousand colors
Connect iPod Photo to a projector or TV and give slideshows complete with music
Enjoy up to 15 hours of continuous music thanks to extended battery life(2)
Copy full-resolution photos to iPod Photo as a backup or to transfer originals to another system
Find songs and photos fast with the Apple Click Wheel
Use iPod Photo with Mac OS X or Windows 2000/XP
Take it everywhere it weighs just 6.4 ounces
Shuffle songs in the main menu
Play music in MP3, AAC and Apple Lossless formats
Create and save multiple On-the-Go Playlists
Adjust the read speed for Audiobooks
Enjoy seamless integration with iTunes
Sync and charge via included FireWire or USB 2.0 cables
Use as a portable hard drive take your files with you
Remind yourself with Text Notes
Play games on-the-go in living color
Keep appointments using the Alarm Clock/Sleep Timer
Stay organized with contacts/calendars/to-do lists, all in color
Benefit from more language support
Record voice notes (with accessory)
Choose from hundreds of cool accessories designed just for iPod Photo

Posted by Craig at 08:11 PM

October 26, 2004

Photo kiosk Ink Shortage

Kodak Dye-Sub Shortages Shut Down Some Picture Makers

The rapid expansion of digital printing by consumers eager to use on-site Kodak Picture Maker kiosks for instant printing is putting a major crunch on the supply of 4x6 size dye-sub paper and forcing some retailers to shut down machines.

Wal-Mart, for one, is hanging "Out Of Paper" signs on Picture Makers and holding onto its limited paper supplies for later in the year with a philosophy that it's better to deal with irate customers in September and October than in December.

KODAK KioskAccording to a Kodak spokesperson, the shortage is not in the paper stock itself, which is made in Rochester, but the ribbon that contains the inks that transfer the image to the paper. The ribbon is made at a Kodak facility in Colorado and, according to the spokesperson, the plant is running at full capacity but unable to keep up with the demand.

Plans to expand the production capacity are in place but it will not be up and running until mid-2005, the spokesperson said.

Only the supply of paper for 4x6 prints is affected. Stock of 8-inch paper is in ample supply. It is believed there are only about five producers of dye-sub papers and Kodak calls itself the world's largest.

"We are pleased that consumers are responding so positively to the Picture Maker. We are working to deal with the shortage on an account by account basis for their needs for the balance of the year," the Kodak spokesperson said.

Kodak acknowledged that due to the shortage it would be shipping new Picture Makers only to existing accounts that need units for expansion stores. "We will not ship Picture Makers to new accounts at this time."

There are about 25,000 Picture Makers installed in the U.S. and it is estimated that over half of them have on-board printing capability of the popular 4x6 print.

Pixel Magic, with about 5,000 installations, also uses thermal dye-sub paper. David Oles, chief technical officer for the firm, said that Pixel has been able to keep up with the increasing demand. They are supplied by Dai Nippon Printing, a major investor in Pixel Magic.

Sony makes its own thermal paper for the Picture Maker. Dave Johnson, senior marketing manager, said that supply has been able to keep up with an increasing demand.

Fuji has about 5,000 Printpix machines in the field but these systems use its own proprietary thermal autochrome paper which has the inks imbedded in the paper rather than on a ribbon. Nick Riviezzo, product manager, said that while demand is running ahead of last year, paper supply is not a problem.

Fuji becomes a beneficiary of the Kodak paper shortage. Wal-Mart, for example, offers consumers the use of a Kodak Picture Maker, for an instant dye-sub print, or a Fuji Aladdin kiosk, which will transfer digital images directly to the Fuji Frontier minilab for output to photo paper. A Wal-Mart source said that during the Kodak paper problem, customers are being directed to the Aladdin.

A spokesman for Walgreens said, "We are not being affected by the shortage of Kodak paper." Walgreens, also, has the Fuji Aladdin as an alternate in many of its stores.

CVS, a major Kodak partner, did not respond to requests for comment on the paper shortage.

Posted by Craig at 03:43 PM

October 21, 2004

New Report

Growth in Photo Kiosk and Digital Minilab Placements Expected to Expand Availability of Digital Print Services

Growth in Photo Kiosk and Digital Minilab Placements Expected to Expand Availability of Digital Print Services, According to a New Report by InfoTrends/CAP Ventures

(Weymouth, MA) October 26, 2004...According to a new forecast report from InfoTrends/CAP Ventures, 50% of the minilabs installed in the U.S. are expected to be digital by the end of 2004. Meanwhile, photo kiosk sales are expected to demonstrate a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% over the forecast period between 2003 and 2008. Kiosks continue to prove that they are a successful solution in the retail environment.

Most importantly, alternative channels for photo kiosks such as hotels, resorts, amusement parks, and consumer electronics stores continue to develop, and still provide significant growth potential. By the end of the year, about 4% of all kiosk placements will be in unconventional locations. Although the success of photo kiosks in many of these new venues remains to be seen, this continues to be an important market for vendors to consider as they work to increase their sales.

"Major retail digital photofinishers such as Wal-Mart, Costco, and Walgreens are now either fully equipped with digital minilabs and photo kiosks or plan to be by the end of 2004," says Kerry Flatley, a Consultant at InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. "As advertising generates awareness and knowledge of retail digital print solutions, consumers will look to outsource printing to a retailer because of time, resource, quality, or cost issues, and this is a winning proposition for minilab and kiosk vendors."

Fuji remains the number one player in the digital minilab market, while Kodak is still the leading photo kiosk vendor in terms of market share of the installed base.

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures' new forecast report entitled 2004 Photo Kiosk and Retail Digital Photofinishing Forecast and Analysis is available immediately. It provides vendor market shares and five-year forecasts for the photo kiosk and digital minilab markets by subsegment. The report includes analysis of trends in the industry, a discussion of drivers and barriers, an assessment of the size of this market, news regarding photofinishing vendors and their retail partners, and a look at the installed base of digital minilabs and photo kiosks on a worldwide level. Vendors covered in the forecast include Agfa, Digital Portal, Fujifilm, Kodak, Konica Minolta, Lucidiom, Mitsubishi, Noritsu, Olympus, Pixel Magic, Oblo, Silverwire, and Sony.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary 1
Table of Figures 5
Introduction 6
Forecast Methodology 7
Retail Digital Photofinishing Drivers 8
Barriers to Retail Digital Photofinishing 10
Retail Digital Photofinishing Trends 12
Vendors' Target Markets 14
Traditional Photofinishers 14
Alternative Channels 14
Photo Kiosks 17
Photo Kiosk Segments 17
Photo Kiosk Functions 17
Photo Kiosk Forecast 18
Print Stations Versus Input Terminals 18
Standalone Versus Countertop Kiosks 19
Photo Kiosk Hardware Revenue 20
Photo Kiosk Average Selling Price and Installed Base 20
Installed Base in Traditional and Alternative Segments 21
Photo Kiosk Market Shares 22
Photo Kiosk Vendors' Market Share Based on Annual Shipments 23
Market Share by Installed Base of Photo Kiosks 25
Digital Minilabs 28
Minilab Segments 28
Digital Labs 28
Hybrid Labs 28
Digital Minilab Forecast 29
Penetration of Digital Minilabs 29
Market Share 30
Major Photo Kiosk and Digital Minilab Players 33
Agfa 33
Digital Portal 34
Fujifilm 34
Kodak 35
Konica Minolta 36
Lucidiom 37
Mitsubishi Electric 38
Mitsubishi Imaging 39
Noritsu 39
Oblo 40
Olympus 41
Pixel Magic Imaging 41
Polaroid 43
Silverwire 43
Sony 43
Whitech Software Solutions 44
Other Kiosk Vendors 45
Photo Kiosk Providers 45
Axiom 45
ePoint 45
Touchpoint Solutions 46
Kiosk Information Systems 47
Home-to-Retail Solutions 48
Digibug Express 48
Picture Services Network 48
Pixology 48
PhotoChannel Networks 48
Silverwire 48
Retailer/Vendor Relationships 49
7-Eleven 49
Albertson's 49
Best Buy 49
Carnival Cruise 49
Circuit City 49
Costco 50
CVS 50
Duane Reade 50
Eckerd 50
Kinko's 51
Long's Drug 51
Meijer 51
Moto Photo 51
Rite Aid 51
Ritz Camera 51
Target 51
Walgreens 52
Wal-Mart 52
Worldwide Markets 52
Japan 52
Europe 52
Asia-Pacific 53
Latin America 54
Rest of World 54
Worldwide Markets Installed Base 55
Recommendations 56
Conclusion 58
Digital Photofinishing Market Forecast, 2004 59

Table of Figures

Table 1: Estimated Number of Potential Retail Digital Photofinishing Locations 16
Figure 1: U.S. Photo Kiosk Unit Shipments, 2003-2008 18
Figure 2: U.S. Photo Kiosk Unit Shipments Segmented by Input Terminal and Print Station,2003-2008 19
Figure 3: U.S. Photo Kiosk Unit Shipments Segmented by Standalone and Countertop,2003-2008 20
Figure 4: U.S. Photo Kiosk Hardware Revenue ($M), 2003-2008 20
Figure 5: Average U.S. Selling Price for Photo Kiosks ($K), 2003-2008 21
Figure 6: U.S. Installed Base of Photo Kiosks (K), 2003-2008 21
Figure 7: Percentage of Kiosks in the Installed Base in the Traditional and Alternative Segments, 2003-2008 22
Table 2: Total U.S. Kiosk Market Share and Rank, 2002-2003 Unit Shipments 24
Figure 8: 2003 Photo Kiosk Market Share 25
Figure 9: 2004 Photo Kiosk Market Share 25
Figure 10: U.S. Photo Kiosk Installed Base Market Share, 2003 27
Figure 11: U.S. Photo Kiosk Installed Base Market Share, 2004 27
Figure 12: Digital Minilab Unit Shipment Forecast for United States, 2003-2008 29
Figure 13: Installed Base and Penetration of Digital Minilabs into Total Minilab Market, 2003-2008 30
Figure 14: Digital Minilab Market Share of U.S. Installed Base, 2003 32
Figure 15: Digital Minilab Market Share of U.S. Installed Base, 2004 32

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures is the leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions industry. InfoTrends/CAP Ventures provides research, analysis, forecasts, and advice to help clients understand market trends, identify opportunities, and develop strategies to grow their businesses. Additional information about InfoTrends/CAP Ventures is available on the Web at www.infotrends-rgi.com.

Posted by Craig at 11:01 PM

September 21, 2004

Mobile Photo Phones

Kodak hears call of camera phones, answers big time

By Peter J. Howe, Globe Staff | September 20, 2004

Cellphones that can take and display digital photographs have become enough of a market force to attract major attention from a company long synonymous with photography: Eastman Kodak Co.

Kodak last week launched a service that lets people who subscribe to its Ofoto.com online digital photography service transfer pictures they've taken with a conventional digital camera to a cellphone with a full-color screen to be used as the phone-screen ''wallpaper." The service, which works with phones from all major carriers except Sprint PCS, costs $1.49 per image, with the first two transfers free. Kodak uses software to adjust the size of the image to match any of dozens of different cellphone screens.

At the same time, with industry analysts projecting that over 20 million wireless camera phones will be in service nationally by the end of this year, triple the number as of last December, Kodak is expanding Ofoto as a way to catalog and print pictures taken with cellphone cameras as well as digital cameras. It began with a deal launched this spring with industry leader Verizon Wireless -- now being extended to other carriers -- that lets people use their handsets to view Ofoto pictures they have stored online.

More than 8,000 of Kodak's 12,000 PictureMaker digital-imaging kiosks in US pharmacies and photography stores have been upgraded over the last year to be able to print out copies of pictures taken on camera phones through installing infra-red and Bluetooth systems for transferring the images from the phone to the kiosk printer, said Ofoto spokeswoman Jodi Sacks.

Sometime during 2003, cellphones with built-in cameras began outselling conventional digital cameras worldwide, according to Strategy Analytics, a Newton market research firm. Wireless camera phones are poised to start grabbing an even larger share of the digital photography market now that top handset manufacturers such as Kyocera and Nokia are beginning to roll out phones with much sharper resolution 1-megapixel image capacity and improved features like zoom lenses.

Compared to early generations of camera phones whose grainy thumbnail shots are best viewed only on a cellphone, the new generation of phones will be able to yield snapshots similar in clarity to inexpensive digital cameras.

All of those converging trends make wireless camera phones an obvious, even unavoidable area for digital photography companies to focus on.

''Kodak has taken a clear turn toward digital, and what they're doing with wireless is a natural extension of what Ofoto does," said Patrick Zerbib, vice president of the wireless practice with Adventis, a Boston consulting firm. Kodak has more than 15 million Ofoto subscribers, but has not determined how many of them also use camera phones. To save cellphone pictures at Ofoto, users just register their cellphone number, then e-mail images from their phone to save@kmobile.com.

Dave Geary, senior vice president of Kodak Mobile Services, said from Kodak's standpoint, ''We're really looking at these phones as another set of digital cameras." At the same time, as the image quality and color capacity of handset screens has improved, ''you have this great viewing device that you carry around in your pocket. Our vision is that you should be able to share and relive your favorite images anytime, anywhere, including on your phone."

Sprint, the fourth-largest US wireless carrier, is developing its own service with Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Inc. for printing out cellphone pictures that it hopes to launch later this year.

Zerbib said over time, assuming wireless photography does become a major revenue source, Kodak may face a more tense relationship with carriers wanting to offer their own online picture-sharing services and cut out Ofoto. ''Carriers will fight to try to remain in control of the end user," he said.

But for now, wireless companies seem to view Kodak's involvement as a way to promote sales of high-end camera phones and premium data plans that cover sending and downloading photos. ''We view the Kodak feature as a welcome enhancement to wireless picture-taking, which is very popular among our customers," said AT&T Wireless Services Inc. spokesman Martin A. Nee. ''It allows our customers to have easier access to pictures and even more choices to personalize their phones."

Boston.com / Business / Technology / Kodak hears call of camera phones, answers big time

Posted by Craig at 02:06 PM

September 07, 2004

PMA Photo Kiosk Scores

Photo Kiosk Shoot-Out

By: Wallace Jackson

I recently attended the DIMA (Digital Imaging Marketing Association) tradeshow at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the 11th and the 12th of Februart to cover the 1st Annual Digital Photo Kiosk Shoot-Out 2004, sponsored by DIMA. The DIMA tradeshow consisted largely of seminars on digital imaging and related topics, and featured no exhibit hall, possibly because it's "sister" PMA tradeshow was hosted in the adjacent South Hall, and took place on February 13th through 16th.

PMA is the Photo Marketing Association International (PMAI) tradeshow, and featured almost a thousand exhibitors in two huge convention halls covering both digital and analog (i.e. old-fashioned but bullet-proof) printers, cameras, tripods, accessories, carrying bags, paper stock, blank media, optical products such as telescopes and binoculars, commercial and industrial printing and cutting machinery, photo kiosks and other printing-related products.

For the Digital Photo Kiosk Shoot-Out, DIMA had out-fitted a large ballroom with digital imaging products that had been entered into several product "shoot-outs." During the two day DIMA tradeshow, knowledgeable industry judges compared Digital Photo Kiosk designs, features, output quality and overall performance. The center of the shoot-out ballroom was dedicated solely to the digital photo kiosks, as they were quite large in many instances. The ends of the ballroom featured the other product shoot-outs, such as the digital printers and digital cameras, the results of which will not be covered in this article.

There were three main classifications of these digital photo-imaging "stations" present at the shoot-out, in categories that were defined by the DIMA. Stand-Alone units had the printing hardware inside the kiosk, so they were truly "stand-alone" units, and also tended to be much larger in size. Remote digital photo kiosks, or workstations, did not have print output local to their hardware, and were connected to remote digital photo lab equipment via LAN or wireless networking. The third main classification was a Hybrid or Combination kiosk that had both a local printing ability as well as the ability to print to a remote digital photo mini-lab.

There were 20 entries in this year's competition, with judging provided by photo imaging industry members, including Chris Zimmerman of KioskMarketplace.com, Francie Mendelsohn of Summit Research Associates and Gary Pageau of Photo Marketing Association International. Judges looked at a variety of criteria for each kiosk including print quality, speed, user friendliness, ergonomics, features, number of steps to trigger the print function, overall user experience, and a specification sheet rating.

I observed two main "size groupings" of digital photo kiosks at the shoot-out. What I term the "tabletop" models were essentially "all-in-one" Micro-ATX form factor PCs, each with a unique case design, LCD display, and all the standard memory card readers mounted in a single 3.5" or 5.25" external drive bay. These compact digital imaging stations could be placed on any store countertop, for instance, or even on a bar counter with little difficulty, but would not normally be what the public would define as a "kiosk," as they had no real construction encapsulating the components seamlessly (rather, they looked much like a stylized PC and LCD). These were the units defined by the DIMA as "Remote," as they print remotely from a nearby digital photo mini-lab.

One might ask: Is there an Achilles Heel to the compact tabletop units? Many of these tabletop units had remote printers, due to their smaller size and footprint. It seemed as though this was generally the main photo kiosk trade-off at the shoot-out; larger sized units had printers internal to the unit, and smaller sized units had remote printers, accessed via LAN or wireless technology.

The other main size category of the photo-imaging stations at the shoot-out were the large, freestanding kiosks, each of which featured it's own unique design, complete with an exterior metal or plastic construction, seamless encapsulation of the display screen, memory card readers, keyboard (or a touch screen), credit card swiping hardware, one or more color printers, photo quality paper and ink stock. Most of these all-in-one-unit photo kiosk designs featured a way to alert the owner when paper and ink stocks were running low, and other than that "care and feeding" aspect, these photo kiosks just sit quietly and make money printing digital imagery.

There's no telling where these digital photo processing workstations will pop-up around the world, since they are generally fairly compact, and the good news is that they leave loads of room for entrepreneurs everywhere to get in on the automated digital photo image processing revenue stream. I could see the larger stand-alone kiosks popping up in hotel lobbies, office buildings, airports, train depots, shopping malls, department stores, grocery stores, hospitals, stadiums, with the smaller "Remote" units installed in motels, apartment building and condominium common areas, libraries, gyms, health spas, gas stations, restaurants, bars, mini-malls, clothing stores, liquor stores, schools, universities, government buildings, and so on.

It was refreshing to see the plethora of different designs in all three genres of digital photo imaging stations at DIMA, as none of the players in this marketplace seem to be copying what the other ones are doing. This is because there is plenty of room to get creative in this "digital economy" where digital hardware such as card readers, cameras, plasmas, touchscreens, trackballs, 3D audio and digital video are now so affordable, especially at the wholesale level. Interface the software with the hardware API, and companies can control the external hardware interactively. Add software imaging technologies such as sharpening, cropping, resizing and the like, and you have a powerful public digital imaging station. Extended features like these will be emerging during 2004 in the form of innovative new photo kiosk hardware and software, and with so many different digital devices available and affordable, digital photo kiosk models and creative feature-sets are likely to continue to proliferate ferociously for some time to come. What is an example of a "creative" feature? Kodak allows it's users to create greeting cards using templates and their own digital imagery.

One area all of the Stand-Alone photo-imaging stations seem to compete in is the internal printer technology, although this is somewhat logical, due to the fact that many of the photo-image printer hardware manufacturers are also players in this photo kiosk marketplace. Polaroid's gigantic photo kiosk features their patented OPAL dry ink thermal transfer printing technology, which uses only CMY inks, and a lot of impressive technology to produce black tones in digital images without using any black inks. The Polaroid kiosk design was also very modern, with a brushed steel exterior and thick Plexiglas countertop (see the photos taken with Concord's new 4MP digital camera) and an impressive capacity of 2,500 4 by 6 inch prints. Mitsubishi also makes photo imaging printers, and Kodak is a huge player in the digital imaging marketplace as well, and a major consumer digital camera manufacturer.

Speaking of digital camera format support, most of the shoot-out entries supported all four main types of digital memory card ports: Matsushita's SD Card (this slot/port also reads MMC), Fuji's tiny new XD Card, Sony's Memory Stick, and the CFA's CF Card (CFA is Compact Flash Association). Thanks to the hardware manufacturers that make the all-in-one front-bay-mountable digital card reader units, even with five competing memory card standards (SD, XD, MMC, CF and Memory Stick), consumers are consistently able to deposit their digital image data into these digital photo kiosks for digital printing.

But what about digital image pre-processing, you might wonder? Some of the larger players in this field are currently researching some sort of global photo image processing options that may be passed through to consumers in future graphical user interfaces, but we all know that nothing can replace hand-optimizing a digital image using powerful software such as Adobe Photoshop, for instance. Fortunately, this can also be accomplished on the consumer side, thanks again to an all-digital work process. Simply download the data (imagery) from the camera's CCD array (eyes) to your PC, open it up in Adobe Photoshop and make your image optimizations and changes if needed, then save the image data back to the memory card via your camera or a reader, and then go to the digital photo-imaging kiosk or workstation of your choice for final digital image photo printing.

Let us cover some of the specifics of the 2004 Shoot-Out, such as the players in each category, and some of the winning unit's features. In the Stand-Alone (what I call a Kiosk) Category, there were seven entrants, including Pixel Magic (the eventual winner, with their iStation 150 product), Kodak (with the second place Picture Maker G3 Print Station 36 product), Olympus, Polaroid, Lucidiom, Mitsubishi and KIS Photo Me, ranked respectively. Pixel Magic, who has been in the Photo Kiosk marketplace for around a dozen years but does not possess the resources of some of the larger conglomerates in this category, won this category with great print quality, overall usability, and it's owner friendly operation.

In the Remote (what I call a digital photo imaging station or workstation) Category were five entrants, including: Kodak (winning with it's Picture Maker G3 Order Station LS product), Pixel Magic (a close second with their iStation 250 CT product) and Whitech USA, AGFA and Oblo Multimedia rounding out the field. Again Kodak and Pixel Magic won their category with output quality, innovative features, ease of operation and kiosk owner support.

In the Stand-Alone/Remote Combination category, there were eight entrants, including Kodak (winning yet again with the Picture Maker G3 Print Station 24 product), Pixel Magic (another close second with their Photo Ditto product), as well as Kiosk Information Systems, Whitech USA, Lucidiom, Oblo Multimedia, SilverWire and Pixology, in that order. Oblo Multimedia's Zero DVD and Printing Kiosk has my vote for the most futuristic design in the competition, and will be of interest to upscale establishments such as clothing stores and other upscale retail outlets.

Was there a clear and present winner at DIMA's first annual Digital Photo Kiosk Shoot-Out? The answer is yes on two different fronts. Kodak leveraged its large size, vast corporate resources, well-known brand and decades in the photo imaging business to present a unified and flawless front to the digital photo kiosk marketplace and to this shoot-out. Let's call them Goliath. Much smaller Pixel Magic, on the other hand, wielded a dozen years experience providing digital photo kiosk hardware against some very massive corporate resources, and came up victorious (or nearly so) in each of the three product categories. In the photo kiosk marketplace, it's not always size or brand that counts. It is performance alongside of impeccable quality all located at the right price point. Pretty soon, "point-and-shoot" will become "point, shoot, plug-in and process" in this ever-expanding consumer digital imaging marketplace.


KIOSK Magazine Online - inreviewma04

Posted by Craig at 10:17 PM

August 31, 2004

Wal-Mart & Digital Photos

Q&A: The Wal-Mart Digital Photo Processing Center

Recently our editors set out to find the best digital-to-high quality print solution on the market. Although the quality of prints all seemed pretty good, Wal-Mart was the hands-down winner when it came to price: for just $.29, users can walk away with a 4x6 print. Youll be greeted at any store location by two different kiosks: Kodaks, and Wal-Marts Digital Processing Center (by Fuji).

The two kiosk systems are different technologies with different purposes. To get to the heart of Wal-Marts use of kiosk technology for photofinishing, we sat down with Christie Gallagher, a spokesperson for the largest retailer in the world.

KIOSK: Wal-Mart had been using the Kodak Picture Maker for some time. How and why did you decide to create your own branded solution to meet the demand for self-service digital photo processing in your stores?

GALLAGHER: The Kodak Picture Maker continues to be a strong part of our photo business. Since Wal-Mart and Sam's Club have upgraded all of our locations to have the newest G3 Picture Maker, we can now print pictures from pictures, digital media cards of all types, and CDs in just minutes. The Digital Processing Center kiosk is a different piece of equipment that Wal-Mart and Fuji Photo Film designed together to provide our customers a way to make and create their pictures themselves, similar to what they were used to doing with the Kodak Picture Maker.

The difference is that instead of having the photos produced within the kiosk on a self-contained printer, the orders are sent to our one-hour processing equipment behind the counter, and printed on high quality photographic paper. Wal-Mart and Sam's Club are strong names in the photo business, and our customers have come to trust that we will produce high quality pictures for them at the lowest possible price.

KIOSK: A key to making any kiosk program successful is the post-deployment marketing campaign. Wal-Mart has been initiating national spot television advertising to support and raise awareness for this system. How has this impacted use of the system?

< _IMAGE _ >In fact, they are so successful, that we have had to install multiple units in a number of locations across the country to provide better service to our customers.< _IMAGE _ >

-- Christie Gallagher

GALLAGHER: With any new service or product, it is important to raise the awareness for our customers not only to know about it, but understand and trust the company that is offering it. In addition to the national television spots, we also have in-store television spots, handouts, order inserts, buttons, stickers and many other items to promote the service. Together, they make a real impact on the customer.

KIOSK: When did you first begin using the Wal-Mart Digital Processing Center, and how has this technology been working for Wal-Mart?

GALLAGHER: Wal-Mart and Sam's Club began using the Digital Kiosks in 2002, when they were introduced. Since then, we have worked with our supplier to make a number of updates on software and hardware, and will continue to do so. Our customers tell us what they want to see on the systems, and we make every attempt to provide the necessary updates to accommodate them. Of course, we also try to stay ahead of the technology out there, and ensure that we have our systems ready for new media types, etc. The kiosks are extremely successful for us. In fact, they are so successful, that we have had to install multiple units in a number of locations across the country to provide better service to our customers.

KIOSK: Do you believe this system has reduced customer lines?

GALLAGHER: At Wal-Mart, we are constantly looking to reduce the customer waiting time to either drop off or pick up an order at the counter. The kiosks have done a good job allowing the customers to get their order sent to our one-hour processing equipment, giving them time to get their shopping done. This helps our company keep the focus of the "one-stop-shopping experience." In addition, our customers can go onto the Walmart.com or Samsclub.com sites and upload their pictures, have them printed and pick them up in two days at our stores or clubs.

KIOSK: How does this system fit into Wal-Mart's business strategy?

GALLAGHER: It's a part of our overall strategy for our business in the future. With digital growing in popularity at a rapid rate, we need to keep up with the customer's demand. We view the digital business the same way we have always viewed the film photo business; excellent quality pictures, with great service at our Every Day Low Price.

KIOSK: Any other thoughts or comments on the Wal-Mart Digital Processing Center kiosk?

GALLAGHER: Wal-Mart, and our suppliers, will continue to look for new, cutting-edge technology to give our customers the best possible photo experience in the industry. With the number of locations we have around the U.S., if we provide the customer what they need for film and digital services, there really is no reason they would need to go anywhere else for their photographic needs.

Q&A: The Wal-Mart Digital Photo Processing Center | Kiosk Marketplace News (Mobile Version)

Posted by Craig at 03:17 PM

August 13, 2004

Kodak Photokiosk Reader Saga Continues...

The newest installment of reader reviews/comments on photo machines at Boots and also Asda.

Digital print booths: more reader snapshots
By Lester Haines
Published Friday 13th August 2004 12:32 GMT

Letters Thanks to all those readers who have kept stoking the fire of the digital print booth debate. We kick off this round-up of new input with Scott Holland, who's got some first-hand experience of the Kodak flavour of kiosk:

I have been a photo lab technician in the US for five years. Working with these machines the whole time. I missed your original article on the subject, but after some catch up reading, I believe what you're discussing is what we in the states call a Kodak Picture Maker.

The thing is pretty straight forward. It's a Windows 2000 PC with a multi-card reader, a scanner, and a touch screen. The models we have here use two types of printers, one is roll fed for making traditional 4 x 6 pics, the other is sheet-fed for making larger prints (8 x10's, 5 x 7's, and various packages). All of the printers are thermal dye-sub units. So, when compared to your average inkjet, the quality is pretty good. The prints are also water proof, smudge proof, and are printed on heavy bond photo-quality paper.

The reason the price is relatively high compared to other options is two-fold. First, the supplies for these things aren't cheap. For example, the ribbon and paper come in a pre-packaged kit, 150 sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper and 1 ribbon. These kits cost us $210 each. I work for a large retailer who, no doubt, gets quantity discounts. So, for a smaller shop, the price is likely higher. That comes to $1.40 per print for the 8" sheets. We sell them for just under $5. While some may think this is price gouging, it's not all profit.

The second reason is, as you noted, the things are self-serve and work on the honor system. You make your prints, and we trust you to bring them to us for pricing. While there is some theft, there is also a lot of waste. The primary source of wasted paper is people who don't bother to read the copyright notice (you MUST press an "I have read and understand the notice" button before you can do anything with the machine), and then proceed to print five 8 x 10's of junior's school picture. Of course, since such professional pics are copyrighted, we can't sell the copies to you without written consent from the photographer. This simple fact confuses, and quite often pisses off, many people. They walk off in a huff, and we're stuck eating $7 worth of wasted prints.

As for the things keeping a log of the prints they make, they do. Ours store the last 10 print jobs. The reason for this should be fairly clear. A customer sets up his print, but isn't sure how it'll turn out. So, he makes only one. If it comes out ok, he only has to go to the "Previous Pictures" screen and tell the machine he wants 5 more. He doesn't have to go through all of his editing steps again.

This particular feature is turned off on our units. Though this wasn't always the case. From what I understand, at one point, some genius brought in some unsavory pictures of his lady. These were of course left in the previous jobs queue. Then some innocent little tyke comes by, starts pressing all of the pretty buttons, and manages to print a copy for himself. Which he dutifully takes to mommy, who is none too pleased with his discovery. Shortly after that the order came down to turn the option off. The machine still stores the pictures, but you need a password to get to the option and print anything.

As a caveat to your readers, the "Automatically Enhance Your Photo" option is entirely automated. It is designed to restore color to faded prints, like those that have been bleached by sunlight or exposure to acid in photo album pages. It will NOT bring a blurry picture into focus, or compensate for an underexposed original. It won't turn crap into a Van Gogh. Applying it to an otherwise ok picture will, in many cases, make the picture look worse. Rather than smooth transitions, color may become blotchy. And it will "enhance" such features as rosy cheeks. Making someone with such a complexion look like they stuck their face in a tanning bed for a few hours.

The red-eye reduction does just that. It helps eliminate RED eye. Not white, not green, or any other color that may be reflecting off of someone's retinas. I have seen red eyes that apparently weren't red enough in the software's opinion.

Also, the way your picture looks on the screen is EXACTLY how it will appear when it prints. If your uncle's head is cut out of the picture on the screen, it won't magically reappear when you hit the Print button. The machine maintains the proportions of the print size you want to make. So, trying to make a 8 x 10 (raito of 1.25:1) from a 4 x 6 (ratio of 1.50:1) means that something is going to get cut off, no matter what.

If you attempt to print a low resolution picture at an unreasonable size, say making an 8 x 10 from a 300x200 original, the machine will warn you that the results may not be what you expect. Though this warning is an option that can be turned on or off by the store.

Well, I see this has turned into quite the little rant. I apoloigize for the length, but hope you or your readers may find some of this useful. Cheers.

We're sure they will. Next up, Dave Bell, who addresses the colour cast issue, as previously commented on by one or two readers:

I've not noticed a colour problem myself. I may make up a couple of test images...Colour casts can happen with photographic printing. For an in-store minilab, there's somebody seeing the prints with some experience. If something's wrong with these machines, you may be the first human to notice.

The big problem I've had is with the edge of the image not getting onto the paper. A couple of times I've had a closely-framed shot which lost too much, but at least you can see this on the preview.

It isn't hard to do a version of the picture which will avoid that problem. Do a cut-and-paste into a larger blank image, and then zoom in at the booth.

I have no firm evidence but I suspect it's restricted to old-style 8.3 filenames.

Remember that the two print sizes offered are different aspect ratios. 6"x4" is 1:1.5 (same as the 36mm x 24mm of 35mm film) while the larger 8"x 6" is 1:1.33 (matching a computer monitor or standard TV). There are some other options for multiple prints.

I'd agree that they're a bit expensive, but consider what your inkjet may cost to run. And I've met people with a digital camera, but no computer...

A good point. Regarding the file extension issue here's what can happen when your computer is running a "minority OS", as is Tony Haines':

The first time I tried to print pictures from CD (at Jessops, not Boots) I found that the booth couldn't see any pictures on my CD. It turned out that the machine ignores files which don't have a .jpg (or .tif etc) filename suffix. (I use a minority OS which doesn't have the twisted idea of filetypes as part of the name.)

This certainly makes things more difficult for me. But it makes me wonder, is that braindamaged check the only way they determine file-formats? Would it be possible to insert a malformed file, cause a buffer overrun or somesuch and reprogram the machines? The most malicious use I can come up with is that nothing would change on the display, but the prints would come out as hardcore porn. But geeks being geeks, I think it more likely that the vending booths would be subverted into games machines.

Reprogramme the machines and create a relentless robot army of printing drones? Now there's an idea.

Our penultimate contribution is from Mark Turner, who outlines his experiences of the Boots/Kodak photo print booth - the piece of kit which started this whole debate:

1) I've got a Fuji Finepix F610, which does 12MP images (approximately 4000 * 3000 res). I end up taking all my holiday photos on the maximum res, so that I ensure I get a good quality print. I went in to Boots this morning, CD in hand and had a try with a few images. Curious about the "enhancement" option, I thought I'd give it a go.

The system croaked when I asked for an enhancement. It simply said, "Cannot display this image" and gave up. Nice. Thought it was strange it couldn't display it, as it had already shown the pictures to work with in the image list. I suspect that Kodak weren't ready for people with images of that resolution to give it a go, but as cameras go up in terms of megapixels, it will become more likely. I told the Boots woman about what had happened and I don't think she had a clue as to what I was on about, although she did say she "valued my comments". *cough*

The terminals need a speed boost, as it took ages to do anything with the images. I know, they're 12MP images, but this is supposed to be a dedicated terminal. It took several minutes to get a print or two out. They need beefing up somewhat.

2) Please, please, please, can there be an option to turn off the annoying scottish voice-over man ? I hate talking machines! What makes it worse is that the everyone in the entire store turns around and watches what you're doing, as they can hear this loud John-Leslie-esque voice boom across the store.

3) 49p a shot ? Egads! Maybe they should look at services such as Colormailer.com, which does 4*6 prints for 20p.

4) Images sizes. You only have the option for 4*6, 8*6 and a few strange other ones. What about 5*7 and larger prints. Chances are, if I print out a digital photo, it's because I want to frame it and put it on the wall. 5*7 (or some bigger sizes such as 8*12) would be the way to go here.

5) Print quality wasn't bad, though.

Nonetheless, an interesting distraction for 98p.

The machine speaks with a Scottish accent? Good Lord! Readers who find that prospect particularly unsavoury might like to pop down to the Dagenham branch of Asda, where we are absolutely certain that the machine has a pleasant Essex brogue, awight?

Has anyone else tried the digital booth at ASDA? The Dagenham branch was running a special of 5.00 for 50 6 x 4 prints so I thought it would be worth a go.

Quick and easy to set up and alter any pics for red eye or cropping. When finished you get a printed reciept which you pay for at the photo shop till.

As advertised they were ready an hour later and were very good as regards quality and colour. The camera was a 2 mega pixel Olympus being used at a 1600 x 1200 medium resolution.

I got just over 160 photographs in an hour for 18.00 - not bad at all. I would recommend it to almost anyone.

Even the standard price is only 29p per copy.

And there you have it, courtesy of James Clapperton. We wish our readers happy snapping and many years of pleasant print booth experiences.
Related stories

Digital print booths: readers put us in the picture
Digital print booths: Kodak addresses your concerns
Reg reader tackles Kodak digital print booth
Boots deploys digital print kiosks


Digital print booths: more reader snapshots | The Register

Posted by Craig at 02:13 PM

August 10, 2004

Kodak Review Continues

The ongoing debate at The Register with Kodak adds a new chapter...

Digital print booths: readers put us in the picture
By Lester Haines
Published Friday 6th August 2004 10:40 GMT

Letters The debate surrounding digital print booths in general, and Kodak print booths in particular, continues unabated. Our intrepid soul at the man/machine inferface - Simon Prentagast - contacted us again to grass up the Boots branch which allowed punters to enjoy other peoples' snaps by not erasing the files after printing:

Firstly, glad you were able to make use of my "review".

As for the name of the naughty Boots store that has apparently reactivated the "previous pictures" function disabled by head office... you can tell Kodak/Boots that it was the Meadowhall (Sheffield) shop, if they're actually bothered.

Oh, and thank fellow reader Ken Tindell for his dazzling wit.

Ken: Steve says thanks for your dazzling wit. Readers who have no idea why Ken is so witty should check out his contribution to the debate here.

Now, let's have a few more contributions to the Kodak print booth controversy, kicking of with a rather breathless Barrie Harrop:

The real questions are about representations on print speed, claim 5 secs per print the best i achieved was 30 secs for first print, then 9-10 secs per print there after, suspect the CPU in kiosks is too slow. Print quality was acceptable, however majority of prints had slight blueish tone. Most customers seemed to be printing around 10-20 prints, and at 49p an approx 100% premium over minilab pricing seemed to me a rip-off. One wonders out the archival life of these prints, that should be made clear, as i noticed comments about Fuji kiosk archival values being about 25 years before ones memories fade off the paper, compared to conventional printing which in the 50-75 yr range. Boots-Kodak kiosks have a very limted range of image enhancement, and at the print price one expects more, especially in the digital era. they had no oneline capability to allow one to send images to photo account for archiving or sharing. To have a kiosks that requires outside assistance in 2004, is a joke, expect most prints will be not paid for. I too have to wait for ever whilst an asistant was dealing with a previous problem customer complaining about the very point made earlier blueish tone prints. Went to another Kodak kiosk location with same problem. Would be interest to hear if other readers to expected marketing hype to be met, or is that something today one just accepts,marketing misrepresentations as part of daily life at stores like Boots, who one expects is a trusted brand.

We think we got all of that. Another:

My only gripe with the Kodak booths is the fact that I can't use them with my CF card from my camera. Yes, that's right... they have an integrated CompactFlash memory card reader , but the bloody plastic front only has a hole big enough for a Type I device.

I can't honestly see any point of making this plastic hole too small for a Microdrive. The electrical interface is surely identical, so why not include an extra millimetre of space around the hole, and allow Microdrive users to use the CF interface as well?

Aren't Kodak excluding a large proportion of their potential customer base? Most newer semi-pro cameras (EOS 300D etc.) now take CompactFlash only.. And when I go away on holiday and might want to print out some snaps, I'm hardly likely to choose to take anything with less capacity than my Microdrive!

Cheers,

Jonathan Hunter

Interesting. A further gripe from David Gabler:

When using a Kodak print booth at a Super Wal*mart in New Castle, IN , USA (Yes it is BFE) to make a photo CD there is NO warning that your pictures will be modified. First the file names are changed, ok no big deal but still annoying. Additionally all of the EXIF is removed from the photos. All photos are reduced in DPI to 91 dpi.

What a pisser that no warning was given that these changes were being made.

Remember, Kodak is not the only outfit which has deployed print booths. Steve Blackburn offers an alternative:

I use a Fuji digital print console at my local supermarket to print digital images. I was finding this quite expensive, as I would often only want a couple of pictures out of a dozen or so..... this was until one of the staff pointed out that it was cheaper if i didn't need to select the images. So now i take in a CD / flash memory with only the pictures I want to print and select the option to print all images..... the saving is substantial (30% IIRC).

Good call. Moving on, we have Nigel Barrett who has decided to eschew the print booth altogether in favour of online services:

Having read the article about the Kodak booths, yesterday I stood watching a woman using one to order her prints. It's true that she could have walked away with them although the two booths in my local Boots are aither side of the photo counter and thieves would probably be spotted. This particular customer wasn't making a quick getaway of any kind though - she was getting very bored waiting for prints: it turned out she'd dumped her entire memory card - 150 photos. I think I'll stick with paint shop pro and an online service; I won't have to stand around and it's a lot cheaper.

And if you're really bone idle, here's a recommendation from Graeme Fowler:

I just read the "road test" and follow-up articles about Kodak photo booths in Boots stores. Other readers might be interested in fotoserve - http://www.fotoserve.com/ - I just compared the prices, and they're significantly cheaper than these kiosks...

Saying that, there's no chance of anyone walking away with prints from fotoserve without paying, since they're a mail order only service. Which is a bonus, as anyone too lazy or busy to spend time in an electronic kiosk going through the same hoops they've just spent hours using Photoshop for at home can just upload them, pay, and wait for the postman.

Finally, let's end with a shameless piece of self-promotion:

It's a cheap plug, but if you use a camera phone and want to print your pics, you'll find that our process at Stickpix is much more user-friendly, and we're currently offering the first print free-of-charge. No need to register online - the whole process is done via mms / sms. Simply mms your photo to us at 07746197446, and we'll do the rest. Our images come in a set of three, printed on sticky paper (hence Stickpix), with one of the three on a push-out card backing.

(Pics must be more than 160x120 px resolution, or we can't print them.)

Hugo Rodger-Brown


Digital print booths: readers put us in the picture | The Register

Posted by Craig at 12:26 AM

August 06, 2004

Photokiosks

Kodak Responds to recent field test by The Register

Digital print booths: Kodak addresses your concerns
By Lester Haines
Published Thursday 5th August 2004 10:34 GMT

We're obliged to Kodak for getting back to us to answer the questions raised by one reader's recent field test of the Kodak digital print booth as now enjoyed by Boots' customers across the UK.

First, there's the matter of payment. Our man on the streets Simon Prentagast noted that you print out your snaps first, then flash the cash at the counter. Of course, there's nothing stop stop you legging it without paying. Reader Ken Tindell offered:

On the subject of printing photos and walking away, I was shocked to discover that when I went into Sainsburys last week I was able to walk up to the deli counter, order cheese and noone asked me for money! Amazing. All they gave me was a ticket saying how much the cheese was. I mean, you could just walk out without paying. And all those items on shelves, too. None of them are fastened down: you can just pick them up, put them in your pocket, and walk out without paying.

Someone should look into this shocking state of affairs. I think there should be a crackdown on people taking goods and not paying. There should be a law against it. And perhaps some form of Government regulator to enforce a "paying for stuff" policy? The regulators of this "Ofpol" could even wear catchy blue uniforms.

Nicely put. Here's what Kodak has to say:

Payment - it is possible to activate a password so that staff have to enter a password before the consumer prints, thereby ensuring that the prints are paid for. Boots at head office level have made the decision to disable this function and instead site the kiosks as close to the photo counter as possible.

Function disabled? Let's hope so, because here's what happens when it isn't:

Interesting article about the Kodak kiosk. About a year ago I visited the largest Boots store in Nottingham (the home of Boots) and used their own Boots-branded kiosk up there to print my photos off a CD full of .jpgs I'd burned.

The queue for the usual photo service was massive and I was pleased to find that "Techno Fear" had left the kiosk free. I found the interface easy to use and whipped through the selection and size choices. I then clicked the "Confirm" button and was prompted with a message to contact a member of staff to key in the print authorisation code before printing would commence. So being the polite chap I am, I had to get to the back of the chuffing queue

It would have been nice to have been told I would require the intervention of staff before I started the whole "Self-Serve" process. The chap explained to me this was to prevent people "Spamming" the photo printers which are located in the processing lab behind the counter. I guess this also cut out the ability to shuffle off with your prints directly from the kiosk.

It would seem that the Kodak kiosks must benefit from the economy of scale of bulk purchase if Boots have ditched their own kit. Does seem odd that they rely on the integrity of the punter to pay after.

The Boots online service is excellent though. Really efficient and enables me to send pics of the kids straight from the camera to their website and they send the hardcopies to my parents saving me much hassle. For once, something that works as expected. If you haven't seen it, have a butchers.

Thanks to James Jennett for that input. For our extra-Blighty readers, butchers = butcher's hook = look. As regards chuffing, you can work that out for yourselves.

Of course, James' experiences were a year ago. We're prepared to believe that Boots has now dealt with this annoying obstacle to fast-photography and that shoplifting snappers can get back to the serious business of "doing a runner" with their prints.

Now, what about your snaps being stored in the memory so that any lurking paedo can come in and reel off copies of your little one's first birthday party? Kodak says:

Previous pictures button - the kiosk was installed with this function disabled on the request of Boots head office. We can only assume that the store has reactivated it. Would you be able to confirm for me which store Simon visited so that we can address this?

We'll certainly ask him.

Kodak went on to address the matter of price, although most of our correspondents seemed happy with this aspect of the digikiosk service:

Cost - prints from the kiosk are priced at a premium to reflect the convenience of consumer control over selection and free editing functions. Boots themselves have other print from digital options that are slower (e.g. 1 hour) without the editing therefore and at a lower price.

Fair enough. On the subject of editing, here's some final solid advice from Bob Cunningham:

After trying the newest Kodak kiosks appearing in Radio Shack stores in southern California, I contacted Kodak to discuss what seemed to me to be some glaring problems. I have some experience with imaging systems, and was once employed by a company that had been a division of Kodak prior to being spun-off.

First, when you zoom in on part of an image, the system doesn't tell you when the print will start to become blocky or "pixelated". The camera I carry around most is only 1.3 megapixels, so any cropping at all will soon reduce the image to only a handful of pixels. The kiosk will happily print such an image, and the result will have a decidedly blocky appearance. Having some warning before wasting a print would be nice, much less after wasting a dozen prints intended for family distribution. Of course, I've never been asked to pay for what I consider to be "bad" prints, so only my time and Kodak's resources were wasted.

An alternative to permitting pixelation to appear is to "re-sample" the image to insert pixels of intermediate values between the too-few pixels in the image. At worst, this will yield an image that appears to be somewhat out of focus. But it won't appear blocky, which is worse. Often enough, my pictures actually are out of focus, so who's to know?

Having either of these features, a "low resolution" warning or a resampling capability, would greatly improve the appearance of the images that finally do get printed.

My contact with Kodak resulted in an exchange that can best be summed up as: "Well, we thought we were already doing all that stuff." I'm left wondering if they were looking at the same kiosk product I was?

If you print only images containing a megapixel or more (after zoom/crop) at the 6"x4" size (scaled appropriately for larger sizes), then your images will appear crisp and have vivid color.

Alternatively, you can use freely available software on your PC to zoom and crop your images at home, prior to taking them to a Kodak kiosk for printing. I'd recommend doing this anyway, since spending much time standing in front of a kiosk that isn't quite the right height can soon become uncomfortable. It is far better to arrive with images that are ready to print.

Well said, sir. And that concludes this round of the Kodak digital print booth saga. Keep those front-line experiences coming.

Digital print booths: Kodak addresses your concerns | The Register

Posted by Craig at 04:09 PM

August 03, 2004

Review of Kodak Kiosk

Register reader tackles Kodak digital print booth

By Lester Haines
Published Tuesday 3rd August 2004 11:11 GMT

Letter Earlier this month we ran a short piece on UK pharmacy chain Boots' plan to deploy Kodak digital print booths in 1,000 of its stores across the UK.

This provoked a flurry of correspondence questioning whether or not they they actually worked and/or represented good value for money.

We're obliged, then, to reader Simon Prentagast who took the time to send us his personal experience of the man/machine interface:
RE: Boots deploys digital print kiosks

Having tried out the service just last night, I thought I'd let you have a user review of these Kodak kiosks.

The first thing you realise (or maybe that's just the Yorkshireman in me) upon approaching the kiosk is that there's no where on it to pay for your pics. The system works entirely on trust. You can print away to your heart's content without paying a penny. But more on this later.

The Kodak/Boots press release you reported on was right. The touch-screen system is quick and easy to use. An absolute doddle to use... granted I'm a little IT-savvy but, well, I think even my grandma could use it quite successfully.

And the speed? Once you've chosen the prints you want they're out and ready in minutes. I'd selected 21 photos and they'd finished printing after about 3 minutes. Good quality too... but I'd have expected nothing less with 1600x1200 JPG images onto 6x4inch photos.

There were also a number of nifty little features on the terminal too... options are available to crop, resize and "enhance" your photos, amongst other things. Especially useful if you wanted an immediate print from your camera without going via your computer.

So from a "does exactly what it says on the tin" point-of-view, it's all fine and dandy. However, there were some rather concerning flaws with the whole experience, not least the cost.

I'd decided I wanted to try out the kiosk anyway regardless (well, Yorkshiremanlyness not withstanding) of price and expected to pay a premium for the "instant" results but the prices are really quite high. The press-release price (i guess there was a very important "from" used on it) of 29p is if you want 50+ 6x4 prints. 20-49 will cost you 39p each, while 1-19 cost 49p each (The price of bigger prints increases accordingly). I paid just over 8 for 21 6x4' prints. Had I had the patience to wait an hour, Jessops, across the street would have done them for 25p each (20p if I'd managed to wait a day).

Compounded to this is the fact (as I mentioned earlier) that I could have actually just walked away with my snaps. Nothing to stop me. You choose your photos, print a receipt and get your prints. then you're supposed to take the receipt to the counter and pay. On this occasion I was decent enough to walk over and cough up (despite the lack of receipt, "Error printing receipt: The printing device was not found. Please press try again or press cancel to continue without receipt"). As I paid I passed comment about the level of trust employed with the system. The girl behind the counter simply giggled "yeah, we get a lot of people just walking off". Maybe my 8 covers a percentage of the prints that leave unpaid for then?

Anyway, onto the point of most concern. Having paid for my photos at the counter, i turned to leave the store, passing the kiosk again... only to notice the "Previous Pictures" button on the main display. Curious. I walked over and touched the button. Lo and behold, my photos. The kiosk copied them from my disk to print a copy... but you'd assume they'd be deleted afterwards. However, it seems they remain in a cache of some sort. Not all of my pictures were there, granted, but about half of them at least. Fortunately, there was a very obvious Delete button and I (hopefully) erased my remaining photos... not that I was bothered about people being able to see (and print??) these particular pictures. but what if I was a father and I'd printed some of my kids? a newborn baby in the family perhaps?

Perhaps this cache only remains for a few minutes? perhaps it's available for hours? Or just until the next unsuspecting user comes along? Whatever, it was certainly potentially long enough for that next user to come along and see (and print) my pictures, if they so desired. Most worrying.

It is. We contacted Kodak's PR outfit in the UK last week to ask for clarification on whether punters' pics were stored in the machine's memory. They have not as yet replied.

Reg reader tackles Kodak digital print booth | The Register

RELATED ARTICLE

Boots deploys digital print kiosks
By Lester Haines
Published Friday 2nd July 2004 14:53 GMT

More than 1,000 Boots stores across the UK now boast Kodak digitalk print kiosks offering quick output of your digital snaps. The booths can deal with Compact Disk (CD), Multimedia Card (MMC), Compact Flash Card, Secure Digital card (SD), Sony Memory Stick, Phone-cams (Bluetooth & infra-red), Smart Media Card, Microdrive Card and Floppy Disk.

A hard copy of those precious memories will cost 29p for a 6" by 4" print, and 8" x 6" versions are available as well. The Boots' press release claims the process "couldn't be easier", which is normally the kiss of death and it further quotes Kodak's Hal Duffin as saying: "The Kodak Kiosks are so quick and simple to use that they are great for all members of the family. We are really excited at Kodak that you can now go into your local Boots store and get digital prints in seconds."

Hmmm. Still, the price seems ok and if the machines work as claimed and the quality is any good, then it's a handy high-street service which will save budding Lord Litchfields' hideously expensive colour print cartridges from taking a battering.

Posted by Craig at 02:05 PM

July 30, 2004

Photo Kiosks

Photo kiosk software firm caters to DIY customers

By LESLIE McNAB
Special to The Globe and Mail

If you haven't heard of software developer Beaufort Solutions, that's just fine with Todd Hiscock.

"We like to keep it under the radar," the company's CEO says.

Located in St. John's several hours' flight and a time-zone-and-a-half from any mainland business centre the company is taking on technology giants and aims to be a major player in the burgeoning print-at-retail digital photo market.

Beaufort Solutions makes digital photo kiosk software. Its technology drives the Olympus TruePrint, a royal-blue booth that Mr. Hiscock says offers customers a fast, simple way to read images stored on any type of digital medium, from digital cameras to discs to memory cards.

With digital cameras now outselling traditional film models, Mr. Hiscock says the practice of buying prints is changing. The old model dropping off rolls of film at the drugstore counter is shifting to a print-it-yourself concept, but not everyone wants to purchase a special printer, ink and paper to make prints at home. Kiosk users can edit, crop and improve image quality on the kiosk screen before printing their pictures as standard photographs.

"We want to help make people's crappy images look better if you can give them those experiences, people will keep coming back to the kiosks for more prints," Mr. Hiscock says.

Kiosk customers can also choose to have the images put onto items such as posters, calendars, greeting cards, t-shirts and mugs. Joe Leo, director of new business development for Olympus America, says this is part of the company's strategy to offer consumers and retailers something beyond the standard 4-by-6-inch photograph.

"Our kiosks let retailers sell more than just prints they bring in people looking for that special photo-related gift or novelty item," he says.

More than 250,000 kiosks of one sort or another will be installed in North American stores by 2005, according to Summit Research Associates Inc., and self-serve photofinishing is named by Kiosk magazine as the No. 1 kiosk application for 2004. The benefit of the photo kiosk to retailers few of which can compete with giant operations such as Wal-Mart on the price of basic prints alone is the opportunity to earn margins from the value-added services without taking up much floor space.

Mr. Hiscock, who spent nine years working for IBM in Toronto after graduating from Memorial University's business school, describes his one-year-old company as a start-up, albeit one with a shorter-than-usual R&D cycle thanks to its ownership of certain intellectual property. Beaufort Solutions' software and programming talent are what's left of another St. John's company, dotcom flameout Telepix Imaging which got its start in the nascent on-line photofinishing business in 1996.

Telepix was bought in 1999 by Zurich-based Gretag Imaging, at the time a world leader in photofinishing systems, and Gretag invested more than $25-million developing its products for use over the Internet. When Gretag's holding company went bankrupt in December 2002, Telepix CEO Mr. Hiscock and another manager, Charlie Hutchings, recognized an opportunity for the product in the self-service kiosk market. They hopped an overnight flight to Zurich and struck a deal for Telepix's intellectual property, then went into business as Beaufort Solutions. The pair hired Telepix's top programming talent and now employ a development group of six, all with a financial stake in the company.

"We're a collection of talent who all have experience outside Newfoundland," Mr. Hiscock says. "And we've tapped into an industry with a small number of players that isn't geographically centred it's truly a global business."

Being located in St. John's is an advantage, he adds, because the time-zone is halfway between Europe and eastern North America. And with Atlantic Canada's largest university on the company's doorstep, Mr. Hiscock says he has a wealth of talent to choose from "people who are really trained in the process and discipline of developing code in a structured way." Many of Memorial's graduates are Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans, who, like Mr. Hiscock, are typically thrilled to find work in their home province.

Olympus a gigantic camera brand, but a relative newcomer in the photo kiosk market is betting that Beaufort Solutions' technology will help it win market share from Kodak and Fuji, the segment leaders.

Olympus' Mr. Leo said the company is focusing on getting the TruePrint out to specialty retailers, such as Hallmark and consumer electronics stores. Olympus has also singled out cruise ships, amusement parks, airports, hotels and hospitals as likely markets anywhere a person might be inclined to pop in their digital camera's memory card and print a few special photos.

In Canada, Olympus has installed TruePrint machines in 12 of the 13 Henry's Camera stores in Ontario, and in Dumoulin/Audiotronic electronics stores across the country. Mr. Hiscock says there are deals in the works to deploy more kiosks in the Americas and Australia in the coming months.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040729.gttwnew29/BNStory/Technology/

Posted by Craig at 12:03 AM

July 15, 2004

Camera Phone Pictures

Having a camera in your phone makes it easier to get any shot at anytime. Now Kodak is making it easier to print those shots.

Tech Beat: The quality of camera phone pictures
7/14/2004 5:27 PM
By: Adam Balkin

hese pictures were taken by a 1 megapixel phone.
Having a camera in your phone makes it easier to get any shot at anytime.

Now Kodak is making it easier to print those shots.

The company has a wireless add-on for its picture-making kiosks, so now you can print more easily.

CVS Pharmacies is the first nationwide chain to roll out the updated kiosks.

"You can now make prints from any IR -- infrared -- or bluetooth camera phone or device, in addition to being able to make prints from any digital camera that you might want to bring to the store. You click on the picture, it'll ask you to send that picture to some location, you click bluetooth and away it goes -- it just transfers that automatically to the picture station," said Grant Pill, with CVS. "Quality varies according to the camera or the phone that you have. A 1 megapixel phone, which is just what's coming into the market right now, will make a great 4x6 picture."

But if you already have a camera phone, chances are it only takes .5 megapixel pictures or less. So is it worth it to print pictures from that phone?

We did a side-by-side comparison. The kiosk will actually warn you if the file seems too small to make a decent print. We did it anyway, and while the shot from the 1 megapixel camera phone looks relatively crisp, pixelation is obvious in the .5 photo.

Some analysts predict that as the technology within the phone improves, so too might the popularity of the kiosks.

WATCH THE VIDEO on the site.

As camera phone technology improves, so does the quality of the pictures they take.



"If you can go put your camera on a kiosk and you have infrared technology that just sends it there, and you print your pictures and you walk out -- people love that. It's easy, it's quick and you have just one small device, and that's what everyone's looking for," said Jenny Everett, with Sync Magazine.

The prints cost 29 cents each.

If your camera phone does not have bluetooth or infrared capability, you can't print directly from your phone. But you can still use the kiosk if you save the pictures to your computer, then transfer them to a CD or memory card.

News 24 Houston | 24 Hour Local News | HEADLINES | Tech Beat: The quality of camera phone pictures

Posted by Craig at 02:48 PM

July 14, 2004

Photokiosks and Fujifilm

Forbes interview of Fujifilm's John Prendergast

Q&A: Fujifilm's John Prendergast
07.12.04, 5:34 PM ET

What follows is the transcript of a Forbes.com Infoimaging online chat with John Prendergast, Fujifilm's vice president of strategic business development. The chat was hosted by Penelope Patsuris of Forbes.com.

Fdceditors: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to this afternoon's Infoimaging chat. Our guest this afternoon is Mr. John Prendergast, who is Fujifilm's vice president of strategic business development.

Prendergast: Good afternoon, everyone.

Mmgardere: From a business perspective, what does mobile imaging bring to the table that digital and film alone do not? What differentiates mobile imaging from the rest?

Prendergast: It's not what is different about it, but the additional business that it will bring to the industry. It allows consumers to capture images that they may not have had the opportunity to capture before, resulting in more opportunities for printing, storage and other revenue streams.

Fdceditors: John, what kind of revenue does Fuji see from things like storage?

Prendergast: The opportunities in storage for Fuji and its retail partners is the fact that people will need offline storage to save their images so that allows photo storage sites like www.fujifilm.net to do business.

Fdceditors: Is that much of a money maker John, won't people prefer to store on their own hard drives?

Prendergast: It's not as much the revenue from storage as it is the subsequent revenues that we get from printing. The advantage over the hard drive is that these sites let people view their images anytime and anywhere.

Mmgardere: Do you see people printing their camphone photos at home via wireless? Will people really print at drug stores, supermarkets etc? Aren't most people printing their digital photos from home now?

Prendergast: I think people will print many different ways as they do with digital cameras, but we have seen in-store printing grow year-to-year. So while people do print at home, they also print at retail. It depends on what is most convenient for them.

Qig12: What is the status of your agreement with Sprint announced at PMA?

Prendergast: We will be launching tomorrow a print at retail option available from the Sprint picture mail website that will include the following retailers: Ritz Camera Centers, Wolf Camera and Sam's Club. And in the future we will have printing direct from the camera phone handset. We will allow consumers to select pictures on the camera phone and send their print order over the wireless network directly to the retail store, which is truly printing anytime, anywhere.

Voightr: Good afternoon, John. Digital pictures taken by digital cameras are not producing the revenue and earnings previously enjoyed by photo manufacturers. How do you see camera phones being similar, different, expansive or cannibalistic to imaging earnings?

Prendergast: We have seen an increase in printing over the year and continue to see that pattern growing. With the increase of camera phone pictures, it creates a larger pool of digital images to be printed. We see this as an expansion to an already growing printing business.

Avery22: Which of Fuji's imaging products are gaining the most momentum with consumers?

Prendergast: The number one growth market are the higher end digital cameras which have three megapixels and up. However one-time-use film cameras are also still growing and the shift to print digital at retail is also gaining momentum.

Thunderfromdownunder: I don't really understand the threat of camera phones to the digital cameras. Aren't digital cameras just really taking off and going into the mainstream? People are just learning how to print the pictures! Please explain.

Prendergast: We agree, we do not see a threat to the sale of camera phones to digital cameras at the higher end of the market. We see the lower end, two megapixel and below, may possibly have their place taken by camera phones. Until camera phones can provide all of the features and functions of a digital camera. Digital camera sales will continue to grow.

J__Garcia: Very few dual function products have been able to sustain consumer interests over a long period of time. Is the camera phone just a fad?

Prendergast: That remains to be seen. Fujifilm's approach is to be in the right position to capitalize on this market and when it becomes established behavior. One thing to note is that every carrier and handset manufacturer is focusing on this business.

Mezzaluna: What size prints can camera phones print without sacrificing quality?

Prendergast: Currently in the U.S. market, the majority of phones are VGA quality, so the image size at most allows for a 4-inch-by-6-inch print, but there is more to print quality than size, so as camera phones build in things like zoom, flash and image processing capability and increased resolution, we will see larger print sizes possible.

Mezzaluna: Have companies that released low-resolution camera phones given the device a bad name?

Prendergast: I don't think so. The first-generation camera phones were focused on picture capture and sharing. The current resolution allows that function to be successful.

Jickib: Do you see any relationship between the difficulty that camera phone users now have sending images to other phones and the extent to which consumers are inclined to print their camera phone pictures?

Prendergast: There are many ways consuemrs can print camera phone pictures. We at Fuji are looking at many technologies to make that easy for consumers. One way is through Bluetooth in a store, using a kiosk. Another way is by sending those pictures from the handset to the retailer, and also allowing people to print from a website, like we are doing with Sprint. We want to have a solution for whatever way that the consumer is most comfortable.

Dackman: Kodak has done a pretty good job positioning itself in the mobile imaging printing arena. How can Fuji respond?

Prendergast: We do not see ourselves as responding. Last year, we launched our first mobile imaging application in the U.S. on AT&T Wireless, and continue to work with all the carriers and handset manufacturers to provide storage and printing services. Our goal is to connect consumers to retailers through the carriers for printing services.

Dukenfish: How do you think the adoption of camera phones in the U.S. will differ from what has happened in Asia?

Prendergast: The Asian market is currently ahead of the U.S. market in adoption, as they are typically in technology. But the focus of the carriers and handset makers on this market in the U.S. will probably lead to a greater U.S. market adoption. And as more feature-rich camera phones become available, more consumers will adopt the technology.

Shiggy99: What do you see as the next big thing in mobile imaging? Obviously, printable camera phone photos are here with Sprint's megapixel camera phone announced last week. What is next?

Prendergast: I think printing will be the next big thing in mobile imaging. Beyond printing, I believe that storage may be another growth area.

Shiggy99: How many retail locations have wireless printing capabilities for camera phones at this time?

Prendergast: Many major retailers are looking at either implementing Bluetooth technology in their kiosks, but I don't have an exact number. People should check with their local retailers to see if they have this capability.

Annabel: What do consumers like/dislike most about camera phones?

Prendergast: I don't have consumer data, but the ability to have a camera at the ready any time, anywhere must be a very positive consumer experience. What I hear anecdotally is that sharing across carrier networks is difficult, and that consumers would like this to be easier.

Dackman: How will the advent of 3G affect printing from camera phones, if at all?

Prendergast: I believe that as carrier networks increase their capacity to send images, it will make it easier for consumers to quickly upload and send their images for printing at their favorite retailer.

Jickib: Camera phones with better resolution are now hitting the market, but what else has to happen to encourage people to print their camera phone photos?

Prendergast: Well, first network speeds need to increase. The photo industry needs to promote these services and help educate consumers about their printing options.

Qig12: What's Fujifilm's stake in the camera phone pie? Are you seeing success in your partnerships with handset manufacturers?

Prendergast: Camera phones create great opportunity for Fujifilm. We are a leading provider of lens and sensor modules to the camera phone industry. We provide technology to carriers to improve the quality of images that are captured and shared, as well as the printing opportunities and services. We have have relationships, which we have not yet announced, with most of the handset manufacturers to provide either hardware or software.

Mongoose: Do you see any economic gain when people print at home, if so, how?

Prendergast: Besides providing photographic printing solutions to retailers, Fuji has a full line of home inkjet paper. We also offer solutions for consumers to print from home to the retailers.

Qig12: What is the best, easiest way to store camera phone images?

Prendergast: We believe that the best way to store camera phone images is to print them. There are other options of course online as well as storing on offline media like CDs and DVDs. It's probably a combination of all of these things that consumers will do.

Mezzaluna: What problems in mobile imaging printing need to be worked out?

Prendergast: The two areas that need the most improvement will be image quality, which is not just resolution. It's all the technology that makes the image desirable to print, as well as easier ways for people to get the images from their handsets to a local retailer for printing, be that faster networks, removable media or other wireless technologies, like Bluetooth.

Fdceditors: Well, I think that's about all we have time for today. I'd like to thank John for his time, and I want to thank everyone for taking the time to join us. See you next time.


Forbes.com: Q&A: Fujifilm's John Prendergast

Posted by Craig at 06:46 PM

July 06, 2004

Photo Kiosks

Boots has teamed up with Kodak to offer digital prints in seconds from Kodak Kiosks in over 1,000 Boots stores across the country.

Boots and Kodak Join Forces To Simplify Picture Developing

Do you have images stored on your digital camera card that you would like to print, but just never quite get round to it? Well help is at hand - Boots has teamed up with Kodak to offer digital prints in seconds from Kodak Kiosks in over 1,000 Boots stores across the country.

With just five simple steps to getting your prints, it couldnt be easier. Simply touch the Kodak Kiosk screen to start, and insert your media 1. Choose the images you want to print and, voila, Kodak prints in seconds for you to take home!

The kiosks also offer a function that enables you to get prints from your camera phone via Infrared or Bluetooth wireless technology.

Hal Duffin, General Manager for UK and Ireland for Kodaks Consumer and Professional Imaging division said: The Kodak Kiosks are so quick and simple to use that they are great for all members of the family. We are really excited at Kodak that you can now go into your local Boots store and get digital prints in seconds.

The Kodak Kiosks deliver 6 x 4 and 8 x 6 prints in a matter of seconds. Prints start from 29p each for 6 x 4, with CDs available at 2.99 each.

What better way to keep your summer holiday memories alive? Pop into your local Boots store, print out your pictures for the album, and ensure you have memories that last longer than your tan!

Posted by Craig at 02:14 PM

June 10, 2004

Photo Kiosk

Photo facility comes to town

Photo facility comes to town Jun 9 2004



Stratford has been chosen as one of 10 major tourist destinations to pilot the first Digital Photo Kiosks.

The kiosk, in the Corus Hotel, will let digital camera users process their pictures straight away and deliver them anywhere in the world.

Touchscreen terminals will allow users to edit and order prints and CDs of their pictures.

It means digital camera users do not have to stop snapping and miss out on those important moments when they reach the limit of their memory card.

Customers insert their camera memory card or CD into the terminal to copy their files which are not deleted from their camera media card.

During the six month trial BT will also be running a series of promotional offers.

Paul Hendron, director of BT Payphones, said: "This is the fastest growing and most exciting branch of photography. This new service is fantastic and is easy to use, handy and timesaving."

Other pilot areas include Luton Airport and London's Hyde Park.


ic Coventry - Photo facility comes to town

Posted by Craig at 07:34 PM

June 08, 2004

Digital Photo kiosks

BT unveils digital photo kiosks

08/06/2004
Claire Woffenden


Digital camera users can process their pictures on the go at ten new photo kiosks installed at locations across the UK.

BT has linked up with photo company Fujifilm to trial the kiosks that let you transfer and edit photos before sending them off to be printed.

According to BT, the new kiosks are ideal for tourists, people without access to a PC with the right software, or anyone who wants quick access to prints from their digital camera.

Insert your camera memory card or CD into the terminal to copy files, view and edit images by cropping, enlarging or adjusting colour, and order prints and CDs of your photos, with payment taken by credit or debit card.

Paul Hendron, director of BT Payphones, said: "This is the fastest growing and most exciting branch of photography. This new service is fantastic and really will bring your photos to life. It's easy to use, handy and timesaving".

The kiosks are available at London Luton Airport, the Blackpool Tower, St John's Shopping Precinct in Liverpool, the Coppergate shopping centre in York and in the Corus hotels, at Hyde Park in London and Stratford-upon-Avon on a six-month trial. If successful, further kiosks will be launched at major tourist attractions, hotels, airports and shopping centres.

BT said it is also looking at other options for the kiosks, including the browsing and printing service from libraries of online images. For further information and pricing details, visit BT's digital photo kiosk website.
http://www.digitalphotokiosk.bt.com/


BT unveils digital photo kiosks - Web User News

Posted by Craig at 09:40 PM

June 03, 2004

Photo kiosks

Fuji Photo Film USA Licenses Axeda DRM

Press Release Source: Axeda Systems Inc.

Fuji Photo Film USA Licenses Axeda DRM
Thursday June 3, 9:02 am ET
DRM Technology will Enable the Remote Management and Monitoring of Digital Lab Systems

MANSFIELD, Mass., June 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Axeda Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: XEDA - News), the world's leading provider of device relationship management (DRM) software and services, announced today that Fuji Photo Film USA, Inc. has licensed Axeda DRM to enable proactive customer support for their photo- finishing retail and commercial customers.

ADVERTISEMENT
Using Axeda DRM, Fuji Photo Film will continuously monitor the operational parameters of mini labs, printers, servers, and customer-facing kiosks at retail customers and professional photo processing labs. At any sign of trouble, Fuji engineers will be automatically notified and have the ability to securely access the system for remote diagnosis and repair.

"At Fujifilm we are committed to providing our retail and professional customers with immediate service support to prevent the costly effects of downtime," said Ron Santos, Group Vice President of Service Support at Fujifilm. "With equipment in thousands of customer locations, the highly scalable Axeda DRM system enables us to help our customers solve problems while avoiding the time delay and cost of unnecessary field service visits."

Robert M. Russell Jr., Axeda Systems chairman and CEO stated, "We are pleased to be working with Fuji Photo Film, a leader in imaging and information technology. We share their commitment to quality and innovation, and are delighted that they selected Axeda DRM based on its superior scalability and advanced software management and remote access capabilities."

Using Axeda DRM, Fuji Photo Film will have real-time, two-way communication with digital lab systems deployed at their customers, enabling seamless technical support and instant response to customer problems. Remote desktop sharing will enable support engineers to see what the customers see, for over the shoulder support and training on system operation. Software management will be used to detect configuration changes and to distribute patches and software updates as required. Service will become more efficient because field engineering can anticipate and avoid potential problems, reducing resolution times, and resulting in higher levels of customer satisfaction.

The retail kiosk market, which includes devices such as photo-finishers and retail self-checkout systems, represents a new growth opportunity for Axeda. With a combination of sophisticated software and electro-mechanical systems, it offers an excellent match for the remote diagnostic and repair capabilities of DRM.

About FUJIFILM

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. is a subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. and delivers technology solutions to meet the imaging and information needs of retailers, consumers, professionals and business customers. As a global leader in digital imaging, Fujifilm pioneered the development of digital X-ray systems, and today is the leader in digital minilab systems. The company was ranked in the top ten for U.S. patents granted during the last decade, employs 72,500 people worldwide and in the year ending March 31, 2003, had global revenues of more than $20 billion.

In the U.S., Fujifilm employs over 10,000 people. The company is a leader in delivering high quality, easy-to-use imaging and information solutions in the following categories: Digital Imaging Systems, Recording/Storage Media, Film and Imaging Systems, Motion Picture Film, Graphic Arts and Printing Systems and Medical Imaging and Diagnostics Systems. Fujifilm is committed to being an environmentally friendly, humane enterprise and an exemplary corporate citizen.

For more information on Fujifilm products, consumers can call 800-800-FUJI or access the Fujifilm USA Web site at http://www.fujifilm.com.

About Axeda

Axeda Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: XEDA - News) is the leading provider of device relationship management (DRM) software and services. Axeda helps businesses become more competitive by using the Internet to extract real-time information hidden in their intelligent devices. The Company's flagship product, the Axeda DRM System TM, is a distributed software solution that lets businesses remotely monitor, manage, and service intelligent devices deployed around the world, allowing them to optimize their service, development, sales, and manufacturing operations. Axeda customers include Global 2000 companies in many markets including Medical Instrumentation, Enterprise Technology, Industrial and Building Automation, Office Automation, and Semiconductor Equipment industries. Axeda has sales and service offices in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, and distribution partners worldwide. More information about Axeda is available at http://www.axeda.com.

About Device Relationship Management

Everyday intelligent devices such as copiers, building control units, medical devices, computers and storage systems, and industrial machines are an important new source of business information. Device relationship management systems allow companies to tap into this valuable information anytime anywhere. Pioneered by Axeda, device relationship management technology provides a distributed information management system that leverages the Internet to allow timely, accurate, and unbiased information to be communicated automatically between intelligent devices, wherever they are deployed around the world, and service personnel or enterprise business systems. Device relationship management helps turn reactive businesses into proactive businesses providing new sources of revenue, increased operational efficiency, and lower costs, with an ROI that is often measured in months.
# (C) 2004 Axeda Systems. All rights reserved. Axeda, Axeda Systems, Axeda DRM, Axeda Device Relationship Management System, Axeda Agents, Axeda Applications, Axeda Policy Manager, Axeda Enterprise, Axeda Access, Axeda Software Management, Axeda Service, Axeda Usage, Automatic eCommerce, Firewall-Friendly, and Access. Insight. In Real Time. are trademarks of Axeda Systems. All other trademarks are either property of Axeda Systems or property of their respective owners.

This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements that relate to Axeda's future performance. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those regarding Axeda's products and markets, and may include implied statements concerning market acceptance of Axeda's products and its growing leadership role in the DRM market. Such statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual events or future results to differ from those discussed herein. Such factors include, among others: Axeda's customers' ability to implement or integrate Axeda's DRM solutions successfully and in a timely fashion or achieve benefits attributable to Axeda's DRM solutions; uncertainties in the market for DRM products and the potential for growth in the DRM market; the long sales cycle for DRM products; limited distribution channels; the difficulty of protecting proprietary rights; present and future competition; and Axeda's ability to manage technological change and respond to evolving industry standards. Investors are advised to read Axeda's Annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, particularly those sections entitled "Factors Affecting Operating Results" and "Risk Factors" for a more complete discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties. Axeda assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking information contained in this press release.

Contact:
Idalia Rodriguez
Axeda Systems, Inc.
+1 (610) 407-7345
ir@axeda.com


Source: Axeda Systems Inc.


Fuji Photo Film USA Licenses Axeda DRM

Posted by Craig at 10:58 PM

May 03, 2004

Invasion of Photo Kiosks

Stephen Manes sidebar in Forbes on photo kiosks

Stephen Manes, 05.10.04, 12:00 AM ET

When it comes to putting digital photos on paper, you may not need your own printer at all. You can upload your shots to a Web service like Ofoto or Snapfish, but you won't get your prints back right away. For instant gratification you can head to a digital photo kiosk. With Compact Flash card in hand, I ventured forth to a few Seattle-area Walgreens to sample the results.

The experience wasn't perfect, but it was a whole lot better than I expected. Stroll up to a kiosk, insert a memory card, pick the shots you want, press a couple of buttons, and the prints should emerge a few minutes later.

The first kiosk I tried was a Fujifilm Aladdin. Voila! Eleven pictures in less than five minutes. But the prints were somewhat contrasty, with occasionally odd color rendition. That's because this particular kiosk uses a thermal ink method visibly inferior to the traditional silver-halide process.

A fancier Walgreens had its Aladdin hooked up to one of Fuji's big one-hour-photo Frontier minilabs, which delivered traditional prints that looked excellent. They took a few minutes longer, but Iwas lucky; with this system, snaps from the kiosk wait their turn in line, so I could have been forced to come back and pick up my pictures after an hour or so. Walgreens charges 29 cents per 4-by-6 print, either thermal or traditional. The Frontier-connected system is a better deal.

Working with the kiosk can be irritating. If you just want a set of 4-by-6 prints of your entire memory card, you can do that in a flash. But the touch-screen system is slow enough to make selecting specific images a chore, and using functions like red-eye correction is virtually impossible--particularly with an impatient toe-tapping customer waiting in line behind you. And that customer, who turned up a minute after I did, had to wait not just for me but also for a store employee to service the machine when it ran out of paper.

Kodak's Picture Maker kiosks started out as scanner-only, but now many can accept memory cards, too. Unfortunately, the first one I tried, also at a Walgreens, repeatedly delivered a Windows error message when I inserted my card. The culprit turned out to be a bent pin in the machine's Compact Flash slot. So much for that store.

A Kodak kiosk in a different branch kindly talked me through the process of turning out decent 8-by-10 thermal prints--yes, these machines speak instructions to you at each step. A printed page normally costs a pricey $6.99, but Ihad stumbled onto a two-for-the-price-of-one deal.

These machines can put three 4-by-6s on one page, but that page ends up costing the same as an 8-by-10, and you have to cut it apart yourself. Kodak says its newer models can produce 4-by-6 thermal prints or use its minilabs to produce true photo prints at prices competitive with Fuji, but I couldn't find those kiosks in my neighborhood.

If the store isn't right down the street, you may want to phone before making a kiosk run. At the three venues I tried, one Kodak had that bum card reader, one hadn't been upgraded to handle memory cards, and one Fuji was out of commission. But at least where I live, there's always another kiosk just down the road.


Forbes.com: Invasion of the Photo Kiosks!

Posted by Craig at 09:58 PM

Photo Kiosks

USA Technologies Cashless Payment is Key Feature on Roll-out of New Sony PictureStation Kiosks

MALVERN, Pa., May 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- USA Technologies
(OTC Bulletin Board: USTT) announced today that its wireless, cashless
transaction technology is going to be included Sony Electronics' new
next-generation PictureStation(TM) photo-finishing kiosks, which are being
introduced to market now.
Sony has informed USA Technologies that the new PictureStation kiosks are
being installed this month in resorts, hotels, national retail stores,
corporate facilities and hospitals in Florida, Pennsylvania, California, South
Carolina, Texas, New York and New Jersey. More locations were being targeted
for early May.
Earlier last month, 7-Eleven announced the proof-of-concept test
installation of PictureStation kiosks in select 7-Eleven stores in the Dallas
area.
Each PictureStation kiosk has a wireless connection to USA Technologies'
network and enables consumers to have their digital photos printed and pay
with a credit card. The addition of the wireless credit card capability was a
concept co-developed between USA Technologies and Sony Electronics Inc.
"We are excited that the PictureStation network is up and running across
the country," said Stephen P. Herbert, president and COO for USA Technologies.
"This application is a perfect fit for our business in that the PictureStation
system utilizes the same USALive(R) Network that supports our other core
markets -. vending, hospitality and commercial laundry. Similar to these
other markets -- Sony is utilizing USALive to process transactions and give
customers the ability to monitor equipment in the field via the Internet."
USA Technologies gives the PictureStation kiosk the ability to accept
credit cards and permits remote auditing of sales and diagnostic information.
For example, a PictureStation kiosk owner could monitor the amount of the
paper in the machines to prevent them from running out of stock -. all via the
Internet.
The wireless component means the PictureStation kiosks do not require
phone line connection, and can be deployed more rapidly than landline based
kiosks -- while saving considerable expense. And because the machines are easy
to operate, and transactions are as simple as swiping a credit card, they
don't require additional staff to man them.
"We understand that not all locations have the same needs, or the same
types of customers," said Jay Dellostretto, Vice President for Digital Imaging
in Sony Electronics' Business Solutions Division. "The new PictureStation
system features and its scalable designs were developed in response to local
needs, including the ability to pay by credit card, which adds considerable
convenience and ease of use."

About USA Technologies:
USA Technologies is a leader in the networking of distributed assets,
wireless non-cash and m-commerce transactions, associated financial/network
services and interactive media technology and energy management. USA
Technologies provides networked credit card and other non-cash/mobile commerce
systems in the vending, commercial laundry, hospitality and digital imaging
industries. USA Technologies is an IBM Business Partner and an inaugural
member of the Sprint Enabling Application Service Provider Program for
e-commerce. The Company has marketing agreements with the Sprint, Motient, MEI
and the ZiLOG Corporation. http://www.usatech.com.

Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act:
With the exception of the historical information contained in this release,
the matters described herein contain forward-looking statements that involve
risk and uncertainties that may individually or mutually impact the matters
herein described, including but not limited to the ability of the Company to
increase revenues in the future, the ability to achieve a positive cash flow,
the ability to obtain orders for or install its products, the ability to
obtain new customers and the ability to commercialize its products (including
the e-Port on a chip), which could cause actual results or revenues to differ
materially from those contemplated by these statements.

USA Technologies Contact: Investor Relations Contact:
George R. Jensen, Jr., Chairman & CEO Ken Sgro
Stephen P. Herbert, President & COO CEOcast, Inc.
Phone: (800) 633-0340 Phone: (212) 732-4300
e-mail: sherbert@usatech.com

SOURCE USA Technologies
Web Site: http://www.usatech.com


USA Technologies Cashless Payment is Key Feature on Roll-out of New Sony PictureStation Kiosks

Posted by Craig at 02:19 PM

April 22, 2004

Sony and 7-Eleven

Five store test for PictureStation in 7-Elevens

7-ELEVEN, INC. FOCUSES ON ADDED CONVENIENCE FOR DIGITAL PHOTO BUFFS WITH SONY PICTURESTATION SYSTEM FIVE-STORE TEST


PARK RIDGE, N.J./DALLAS (Feb. 11, 2004) - Sony Electronics Inc. and 7-Eleven, Inc. have agreed to place Sony PictureStation digital photofinishing kiosks in five of the chain's store locations* in the Dallas-Fort Worth-area this March.


The placement is the first phase in a proof -of-concept test for a possible larger deployment of Sony PictureStation kiosks at 7-Eleven stores, the country's largest convenience store operation.


"7-Eleven is committed to providing customers with a convenient, high-quality experience, and Sony's PictureStation system is a perfect fit for us," said Ron Hannah, 7-Eleven's category manager for Services.. "Once we saw the photo-like quality, the wireless credit-card functionality and how quickly transactions were completed, we were sold on this convenient service."


The PictureStation system's wireless credit-card technology lends itself to unattended service and quick transactions. The kiosk's photo-like quality is created by Sony's dye sublimation process and new, easy editing features. Convenience and flexibility are delivered by the PictureStation system's ability to create everything from wallet-sized to 8 x 10-inch prints, in addition to custom options like seasonal and holiday borders.


Customers need only insert their digital photo memory card into the machine and through touch-screen technology select and edit the pictures they want printed on quality photo paper. The process takes just a few minutes from start to finish, based upon the number of pictures to be produced. Payment is made by credit card.


"We're extremely pleased that 7-Eleven has agreed to test our PictureStation system to enhance their service to existing customers while hopefully attracting new ones," said Jay Dellostretto, vice president for digital photography in Sony Electronics' Business Solutions Division. "The popularity of digital photofinishing kiosks is exploding, and a 7-Eleven deployment would certainly accelerate this phenomenon. We're thrilled to be working with them."


Currently, there are PictureStation kiosks deployed nationwide in locations ranging from traditional photo retail outlets to consumer electronics stores to college bookstores.


7-Eleven stores where Sony PictureStations are expected to be deployed next month:


3200 W. Seventh at Arch Adams in Fort Worth


1401 W. 7th at Summit in Fort Worth


3011 State Highway 121 at Glad Road in Euless


7801 N. Beltline in Irving


5400 S. Cooper at Green Oaks in Arlington


About 7-Eleven, Inc.


7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven, Inc. operates or franchises approximately 5,800 7-Eleven stores in the United States and Canada and licenses approximately 20,000 7-Eleven stores in 17 other countries and U.S. territories throughout the world. During 2003, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $36 billion. Find out more online at www.7-Eleven.com.


For Sony Electronics Information:


Readers can visit www.sony.com/picturestation. For additional press information and digital images, please visit Sony Electronics' news and information web site at www.sony.com/news. For more information regarding the nearest Sony authorized dealer or service location, call 1-800-686 SONY.

Contact Info:
Anne Carlantone
Sony Electronics Inc.
Margaret Chabris
7-Eleven, Inc.
(214)828-7345


7-ELEVEN, INC. FOCUSES ON ADDED CONVENIENCE FOR DIGITAL PHOTO BUFFS WITH SONY PICTURESTATION SYSTEM FIVE-STORE TEST

Posted by Craig at 05:35 PM

April 13, 2004

Photokiosks

UK's Pixology to supply photo software to Costco

Reuters, 04.13.04, 10:56 AM ET

LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) - British digital-imagery firm Pixology Plc has grabbed a foothold in the world's biggest consumer market, striking a deal with a major U.S. retailer to provide software for photo kiosks.

Pixology said on Tuesday it would supply Seattle-based Costco Wholesale Corp (nasdaq: COST - news - people) with customised software for potentially hundreds of kiosks, where shoppers can insert their digital camera's memory cards into a computer, preview images and order prints. Costco runs 430 retail outlets worldwide.

A spokesman for Pixology said the terms of the deal were confidential, but it would charge Costco a licensing fee between $500 and $1,500 per kiosk. Pixology shares traded at 143.5 pence, up 1.1 percent, at 1130 GMT.

"It has obviously been taken very well by the market," one London trader said.

"It's a shame that the news came out on a quiet day. There is volume of barely 20,000 because most people are still away after the (Easter) holiday."

Costco is the first nationwide U.S. chain to employ Pixology's customised, branded technology.

Costco has annual revenue of over $45 billion and runs a chain of "warehouse clubs" -- retail outlets where, for a fee, its members receive discounts on branded goods, including furniture, hardware and electronics.

"I am happy to see that Costco agree with our view that it is software which drives digital printing, and it is software that creates the competitive advantage for the retailer," Pixology Chief Executive Yuval Yashiv said in a statement.

Pixology recently floated on London's Alternative Investment Market for junior companies.

Forbes.com: UK's Pixology to supply photo software to Costco

Posted by Craig at 06:16 PM

April 05, 2004

Photo print activity

prints made at self-service kiosks in photo stores rose 535 percent

From NY Times

Cutting Up Digital Photos
By IAN AUSTEN

Published: April 5, 2004


he number of rolls of film developed in the United States in 2003 fell 6 percent, the third successive year of declines.

But that does not mean that photofinishers are necessarily filled with gloom. The digital cameras that have induced films decline have also brought photofinishers some new business.

Theres more optimism because a lot of things have come into play in the last 12 months, said Gary Pageau of the Photo Marketing Association. While home printing remains the most popular way for amateurs to convert their digital images to paper, an increasing number of unsophisticated digital camera users do not want to bother with doing it themselves. They are turning instead to a variety of services offered by photofinishers. This January, for example, the number of prints made at self-service kiosks in photo stores rose 535 percent compared with the same month a year earlier.

Mr. Pageaus group estimates that within three years, digital prints made by photofinishers will overtake home printing. A big challenge for the industry is just to get people to print their digital pictures, Mr. Pageau said.

Any printing is better than no printing.


By IAN AUSTEN

Posted by Craig at 06:17 PM

March 18, 2004

Photo kiosks

Pixel Magic opens London office

San Marcos-based photo kiosk maker Pixel Magic Imaging Inc. has opened its first international office in London.

The 10-year-old company, which provides imaging kiosks and digital imaging software for the photo industry, opened the office to accommodate requests for Pixel Magic products in Europe.

"We're pleased to have our European office up and running," says Dave Erne, Pixel Magic's vice president of business-to-business sales. "We've had a great deal of interest in our products internationally and are excited to now be in a position to explore those relationships."

The company has shipped more than 6,000 systems to such clients as Clearwater, Fla.-based drug store chain Eckerd Corp., Grand Rapids, Mich.-based grocery chain Meijer Inc. and Miami-based cruise company Carnival Corp.

http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2004/03/15/daily39.html?jst=b_ln_hl

Posted by Craig at 11:11 PM

February 24, 2004

photo kiosks

Kodak making moves in Europe

PARIS -- Eastman Kodak Co. plans to grab a share of revenue from Europe's fast-growing camera-phone market by launching its online photo service for mobiles.

Kodak will announce the move today at the 3GSM world mobile phone congress in Cannes, senior vice president Bernard Masson told The Associated Press.

Starting in May, owners of a new wave of higher-resolution camera phones should be able to upload their pictures and videos to a central server, send them by e-mail or print them via wireless infrared or Bluetooth links at Kodak kiosks.

Final terms and prices have not yet been agreed with the phone operators that will bill Kodak's new subscribers in Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands according to the AP article.

Kodak, based in Rochester, N.Y., has already struck a deal with phone maker Nokia to make phones compatible with its kiosks, Masson said, and is in "advanced discussions" with operators Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange.

Masson said it was too early to predict revenue for the new service. Financial terms of agreements with operators will not be disclosed, he said in the article.

Posted by Craig at 02:37 PM

February 12, 2004

Photokiosks

ONY PICTURESTATION SYSTEM HELPS PHOTO BUFFS "PICTURE THE POSSIBILITIES" WITH NEW GENERATION SOFTWARE

Retailers to Benefit from Customization Options and Increased Store Traffic

LAS VEGAS (PMA, Booth # M30), Feb. 11, 2004 - Providing enhancements that will offer retailers and consumers new possibilities in digital photo processing, Sony Electronics will now make a new next generation software standard on its PictureStation photo-finishing systems, along with new options in kiosk design.

An array of features will translate into a system more customized to a retailer's particular environment, which can afford increased traffic and profits. These include wireless credit card capabilities, more choices in scalable kiosk designs, an interface on which customized promotional packages can be created, additional language options and a photo library feature. In turn, customers will enjoy such user-friendly enhancements as new text and border options, automatic color adjustment, re-touch features and faster printing.

"We have always understood that not all retailers or locations have the same needs, the same type of store layouts or even the same types of customers," said Jay Dellostretto, vice president for digital imaging in Sony Electronics' Business Solutions Division. "These new PictureStation system features and scalable designs are a result of our ongoing communication with retailers."

Combining quality pictures with user-friendliness, the PictureStation utilizes dye sublimation technology to bring out the full, rich depth of digital images. The print quality, along with system features like CD-burning, scanning capabilities and intuitive interface have been appreciated by retailers, beginning with Kinko's, which has installed more than 900 kiosks in its stores over the past year.

"The flexibility if the Sony PictureStation has helped Kinko's deliver a high level of customer service and tailored solutions for our digital photofinishing customers," said Jeff Heyman, vice president of retail at Kinko's. "The new features represent even greater flexibility for the future, which is critical for Kinko's and our network of 1,200 locations."

Instant Wireless Payment

The addition of wireless credit card capabilities co-developed with USA Technologies provides the customer with the instant gratification of being able to obtain and pay for their prints without cash. And because it requires no phone lines or additional personnel, this service requires no extra effort from the retailer.

Flexible, Scalable Designs

With three new kiosk designs, retailers can select a look most desirable for their store environment. If they are facing space constraints, the store owner may select a tabletop version. New options in scalability mean that features like additional printers, scanners and graphics can easily be added or taken away to accommodate customer needs.

Customized Promotional Packages

Retailers will now be able to program their own promotional package offers directly onto the PictureStation system to correspond with seasonal demand changes or location-specific needs. For example, with one touch on the screen, a consumer could obtain a package of 24 4x6 prints, one 8x10 print and a photo CD for a reduced price.

Easy Editing, Faster Printing

The PictureStation system now features automatic color adjustment to instantly correct lightness, brightness and color balance. With the touch on the "portrait button" icon on screen, consumers can also instantly "airbrush" photos to remove things like facial blemishes or wrinkles. Completed prints can now be produced at a rate of one 4x6 approximately every 12 seconds.

New Text and Border Options

Photos can now be personalized and turned into gifts or keepsakes with new text and border options, including holiday borders, birth announcements, calendars and more.

Image Library Capabilities

The new software allows for creating a customized image library. Retailers situated near sports arenas or famous landmarks can store images of locations, historic figures and the like directly on the PictureStation system to be purchased and printed in any size to become a framable keepsake.

Increased Language Options

The Sony PictureStation user interface is now available in 14 language options, which can be added or removed to meet the needs of specific retailer locations.

About Sony PictureStation

PictureStation systems are part of Sony's global "Print by Sony" initiative. A signature logo appears on the product emphasizing Sony's commitment to quality and consistency. The PictureStation system accepts widely used media, including various formats of Memory Stick media, CompacFlash cards, SmartMedia cards, recordable CDs, SD/MMC cards and floppy disks.

# # #

Editor's Note:

For more detailed news and information on Sony PictureStation, readers can visit www.sony.com/news or www.sony.com/picturestation.

Contact Info:
Anne Carlantone
Sony Electronics Inc.

SONY PICTURESTATION SYSTEM HELPS PHOTO BUFFS

Posted by Craig at 11:35 PM

February 06, 2004

PMA 2004 News Digest

News from PMA: Fuji, 8GB Compact Flash, Kodak Film Kiosks

-- Additionally, Kodak with its retail partners is migrating its 24,000 installed KODAK Picture Makers in the U.S. to the latest KODAK Picture Maker "G3" model because of strong consumer acceptance of kiosks and rising digital camera sales. Nearly half will be upgraded to the G3--which prints pictures in as little as 5 seconds--by this spring, solidifying Kodak's No. 1 position as the largest supplier of photo imaging kiosks at retail.


Kodak plans self-service kiosks for film


By BEN DOBBIN
Associated Press
2/9/2004
ROCHESTER - The latest advance in old-fashioned photography is coming soon: a self-service kiosk that can convert a roll of 35mm film into prints in as little as seven minutes.

Eastman Kodak Co.'s Picture Maker film-processing stations will be test-marketed in Detroit this month, with a full-scale rollout set for later this year in pharmacies, supermarkets and photo-specialty shops across the United States and Europe.

Last fall, the world's largest maker of photographic film unveiled an ambitious new strategy to accelerate its push into new digital markets. At the same time, it acknowledged that its traditional photography businesses - a century-old cash cow - were in irreversible decline.

The kiosks appear designed to plug a gap between photography's old and new ways of creating images and perhaps even slow the faster-than-expected migration of shutterbugs to digital cameras.

"It is very easy to believe that this could change the trajectory in the decline of film," said Kent McNeley, general manager of Kodak's consumer output operations.

The kiosks will allow customers to preview, crop, enlarge and tidy up their snapshots, then print only those they want - a benefit that digital camera users already enjoy. Instead of negatives, the machines also will store the photos on a digital CD.

Digital cameras outsold film cameras for the first time in the United States in 2003, the Jackson, Mich.-based Photo Marketing Association said. As a result, 200 million fewer rolls of film were processed last year compared with a peak of 781 million in 2000, it said.

Photography analysts scoffed at Kodak's notion that film kiosks might alter those trends.

"It would be nice if it happens but I wouldn't bet on it," said Ulysses Yannas of Buckman, Buckman & Reid in New York.

Nonetheless, with tens of millions of film cameras still in use, "there is and there will continue to be a very big market for film," particularly in developing markets in Asia and Latin America, Yannas said.

Kodak revealed last month it is cutting 12,000 to 15,000 more jobs - or nearly a quarter of its work force - over the next three years.

Kodak is hoping the film kiosk's relatively low price tag - $30,000 to $40,000 - will lure retailers who might balk at installing a digital mini-lab, which can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000.

The photo kiosk business has become increasingly competitive - Japanese rivals led by Sony Corp. are winning customers such as Kinko's, the self-service copying chain - but Kodak still dominates the U.S. market with Picture Maker kiosks in some 24,000 locations.


Fujifilm. Picture Your Solutions; Digital Imaging Leader to Introduce Advanced End-to-End Solutions at PMA 2004

PMA 2004 February 12 - 15, 2004

VALHALLA, NY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 5, 2004--Fujifilm will exhibit a broad range of imaging and information technologies and products at PMA 2004 under the theme, "Fujifilm. Picture Your Solutions". This theme emphasizes that Fujifilm is the leader in providing total solutions to its customers - professional and retail - with its wide range of digital and analog products and services in the full imaging spectrum, from capturing to printing.

"This theme underscores Fujifilm's strong leadership position in the industry and acknowledges that through our solutions-based approach we stand ready to deliver on the promise of high-quality images -- meeting the changing and varied needs of consumers, professionals, retailers and labs," said Yasuo "George" Tanaka, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. "We understand our retail partners' needs by recognizing that solutions are not one-size-fits-all. From cameras and film to entry-level print solutions to complete in-store labs with on-line capabilities, Fujifilm's range of products and services cover the variety of customer needs."

At PMA 2004, Fujifilm will unveil new consumer and professional digital cameras, new 35mm and APS film camera models - and the latest advances in printing solutions - underscoring the company's commitment to providing the best choices to its customers.

"The basic needs of the picture-taker are still the same. People want photos to capture memories in hard copy form as keepsakes for themselves and for sharing with others. The bottom line is the technology has changed, but the underlying consumer motivation hasn't," said Stanley E. Freimuth, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. "We strive to be the best business partner to our customers by providing them with the choice of technologies they need to succeed in today's marketplace."

More About Fujifilm at PMA 2004

Visitors to the Fujifilm Booth #E2 in South Hall #1 of the Las Vegas Convention Center will find physical representation of the breadth and flexibility of Fujifilm's imaging solutions. Acrobats from Cirque du Soleil will provide an artistic accent to the full line-up of Fujifilm's solutions, including:

Picture Your Solutions at Retail: Fujifilm will spotlight its market-leading Digital Camera Developing solutions, led by the newest extensions to its world-renowned flagship Frontier digital minilab line, the standard in retail photofinishing. The Frontier 355/375 offer state-of-the-art scanners which eliminate scratch and dust defects while providing easy-to-use icon-based interfaces, automatic red-eye reduction software, 135/IX240 automatic film carriers for simplified film loading, and most importantly, the overall best print quality the market expects from Fujifilm. The company's groundbreaking Frontier, which features a solid-state blue laser, creates a unique depth of color and image clarity in pictures printed at retail from both analog and digital sources. Combined with the company's proprietary Image Intelligence technologies, prints made from Fujifilm's line of digital minilabs are automatically enhanced to the best-possible quality. Fujifilm continues to focus on enhanced print quality and performance, as well as improved workflow solutions for the retailer, through its new Frontier Manager system.

Also introduced will be the Digital Photo Center Express (DPCE), an extremely compact digital camera developing print solution for retailers seeking additional kiosk capacity and improved traffic flow at a reasonable price point. The DPCE provides additional workflow capabilities by increasing the number of images viewed on screen at a given time, and will also be wireless enabled and will make prints from camera phones equipped with Bluetooth(R) and infrared functionality.

Fujifilm will also add the Printpix Digital Photo Printer CX-550 to its full line of digital camera developing options for busy retailers. The compact, desktop-sized printer creates quality ID prints from any digital image. This new printing solution will allow retailers to quickly and easily enter the ID and Passport photo business.

Picture Your Solutions in Digital: Fujifilm will showcase four additions to its line of award-winning FinePix digital cameras at the show. Fujifilm adds two sleek new entry-level models, the FinePix A330, that offers 3.2 million effective pixels and a 3x optical zoom to capture bright, vivid images; and the FinePix A340, that offers picture-takers 4.0 million effective pixels, combined with a 3x optical zoom, for printed images that look as real as life. Both cameras offer streamlined menu navigation, a quick play-back mode and a slide-powered boot-up in sleek bodies.

In the professional category, the small form factor combined with the 6.2 megapixel Super CCD SR sensor technology of the FinePix S20 Pro, a new compact SLR-type digital camera for professional photographers, makes it an ideal component in an imaging system that meets the needs of school portrait and social photography as well as specialty segments, such as medical, dental and scientific. Fujifilm also unveils one of its most eagerly anticipated products, the FinePix S3 Pro. This professional SLR-type camera features one-of-a-kind Super CCD SR sensor technology, designed specifically for professional photography. This proprietary technology creates a wider dynamic range to produce images that approach true photographic quality. As a result, the FinePix S3 Pro will capture highlight and shadow detail often lost by digital cameras in high contrast scenes.

Picture Your Solutions Online: Fujifilm's Get the Picture Online service lets retailers provide consumers with an easy way to place digital print orders online. The service is the latest offering in Fujifilm's Digital Camera Developing initiative, which educates consumers on how simple it is to get prints from their digital camera. More information is available on www.digitalcameradeveloping.com .

The company's Get the Picture Mobile service allows camera phone users to upload their digital images from their cell phone to an online album on www.fujifilm.net where they can view their album from their cell phone. Fujifilm will also share new developments in the company's mobile imaging retail solutions and technologies that allow easy picture sharing and printing anytime, anywhere.

Fujifilm also recently underscored its ongoing commitment to providing consumers with a choice of cameras across formats with the announcement of three new 35mm film cameras, a new APS film camera and a new one-time-use camera. Making their debut at PMA 2004, all of these new products incorporate new technologies that will help consumers take better pictures and continue to make picture taking easy and fun.

The QuickSnap Smart Flash one-time-use camera, is "smart" enough to provide sharp, brilliant color photos in all conditions. With just a flip of a switch, Smart Flash's unique dual-flash system and its premium 2-element lens capture brighter backgrounds when shooting at night or indoors. Smart Flash not only features this flash breakthrough, but also comes preloaded with Superia X-TRA 800 speed film to produce the accurate true-to-life colors consumers have come to expect from Fujifilm.

The new Zoom Date 60W features a wide-angle zoom lens, while the new Zoom Date 120V and Zoom Date 135V offer new drop-in film loading for an even easier picture-taking experience.

The fashionable, fun Q1 Zoom APS camera features a 2x zoom lens (22-44mm) and is offered in two color combinations: silver with black or silver with blue. In addition, the Q1 Zoom offers fully automatic features such as auto focus, auto flash and auto winding, while using APS film.

Fujifilm's presence at PMA will be visible in the air with the flight of the Fujifilm Blimp over the Las Vegas strip throughout the week. On the ground, the Fujifilm Digital Tour Truck will be located at The Beach across from the Las Vegas Convention Center. The truck offers a fully interactive experience with Fujifilm's latest consumer digital cameras and self-service digital printing kiosks.

About Fujifilm

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. is a subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. and delivers technology solutions to meet the imaging and information needs of retailers, consumers, professionals and business customers. As a global leader in digital imaging, Fujifilm pioneered the development of digital X-ray systems, and today is the leader in digital minilab systems. The company was ranked in the top ten for U.S. patents granted during the last decade, employs 72,500 people worldwide and in the year ending March 31, 2003, had global revenues of more than $20 billion.

In the U.S., Fujifilm employs over 10,000 people. The company is a leader in delivering high quality, easy-to-use imaging and information solutions in the following categories: Digital Imaging Systems, Recording/Storage Media, Film and Imaging Systems, Motion Picture Film, Graphic Arts and Printing Systems and Medical Imaging and Diagnostics Systems. Fujifilm is committed to being an environmentally friendly, humane enterprise and an exemplary corporate citizen.

For more information on Fujifilm products, consumers can call 800-800-FUJI or access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their registered owners.

Contacts


Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.
Adam Yates, 914-789-8220
adam_yates@fujifilm.com
or
Text 100 Public Relations
Nicole Ramirez, 212-871-4081
nicoler@text100.com



SimpleTech Announces Industry's Highest Capacity 8 GB CompactFlash Card With 10MB/sec Write Speed;


New 8 GB Card Utilizes Company's Patented IC Tower Stacking Technology

SANTA ANA, Calif., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SimpleTech, Inc.
(Nasdaq: STEC), a designer, manufacturer and marketer of custom and
open-standard memory solutions based on Flash memory and DRAM technologies,
today announced the industry's highest capacity CompactFlash with an 8 GB Type
II card using the Company's patented stacking technology. The Company also
announced 2, 4 and 5 GB Type I cards and a significant increase to the write
speed of its entire ProX line of CompactFlash cards. The products will be
unveiled at the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) trade show held at the Las
Vegas Convention Center from February 12-15, 2004. SimpleTech will exhibit in
booth N-64.
"We combined the latest silicon with our patented IC Tower stacking
technology and produced the highest density CompactFlash card available in the
world," said Ken Roberts, director of product marketing at SimpleTech. "This
card also uses a high speed controller with 10 MB/sec write speed -- the
fastest on the market today."
SimpleTech's IC Tower(TM) stacking technology allows multiple NAND Flash
components to be stacked together to provide increased memory and storage
densities that provide enhanced capacity in its 5 mm Type II cards.
Delivering a breakthrough write speed of up to 10MB/second, SimpleTech's
ProX CompactFlash cards enable images to be saved faster to the CompactFlash
card and significantly reduces the wait time between digital photography
shots.
ProX CompactFlash cards incorporate Xcell(TM) technology, with a new
advanced controller that provides an exponential increase in throughput for
writing the picture file, delivering fast, accurate recording of
high-resolution images and outstanding reliability.
SimpleTech customers are offered a free trial of PhotoRescue software.
Customers can download the photo recovery software onto their computer, and
either insert the Flash card into a reader, or dock their camera, and view
thumbnail images of their pictures. If one of the images on the card is
corrupted, the rescue software allows the image to be recovered.
All SimpleTech CompactFlash cards come with a one-year warranty backed by
SimpleTech's reputation for quality and support.

Pricing and Availability
Manufacturers suggested retail pricing for ProX CompactFlash cards ranges
from $89.99 to $5,999 to meet budget and performance requirements. Samples of
the new ProX CompactFlash Type I cards in 2, 4 and 5 GB capacities and the
8 GB type II cards are expected to ship during the first quarter of 2004, with
production anticipated during the second quarter of 2004.

About SimpleTech
SimpleTech, Inc. designs, manufactures and markets custom and
open-standard memory solutions based on Flash and DRAM memory technologies.
Headquartered in Santa Ana, California, the company offers a comprehensive
line of more than 2,500 products and specializes in developing high-density
memory modules, memory cards and storage devices. For more information, visit
the company's Web site at http://www.simpletech.com .

Posted by Craig at 09:30 PM

February 02, 2004

Photo Kiosks

Independent shops say
they still fill photo niche..."St. Germain has three digital photo kiosks in his shop now; soon, there will be five."

THE DOWNTOWN photo shop that caters mostly to memories may be changing, but it is not about to disappear.

Forty years ago, when Kodak was king, the wall behind a shops counter invariably had a large herringbone shelf, its slots crammed with colorful boxes that offered an array of film both daunting and challenging to the amateur photographer.

Walk through the door now and there are people sitting in booths, pushing buttons, picking photographic memories from digitized images.

I think the change from film to digital is bigger than was the change from black and white to color, said Steve Bedell, who owns a photo studio in Dover, writes for Shutter Bug magazine and is president of the New Hampshire Professional Photographers Association.

For 25 years, Bedell has made his living taking pictures. For the past three or so, hes done most of his work with digital equipment, which is what most of the pros are using now.

It is technically more difficult to shoot digital, Bedell said. You have to have basically a perfect exposure.

Film is more flexible and forgiving.

But amateurs are fascinated by the LCD screen on the back of the digital camera that instantly shows the image the shutters snap has captured on the cameras memory card.

For amateurs, who dont know if they got it half the time, that is a very big thing, Bedell said.

Kodak cuts exposure

Big enough that Eastman Kodak, the company that turned picture-taking into a hobby for the masses a century ago, plans to cut more than 12,000 jobs, about 25 percent of its work force, and stop selling reloadable film cameras as it struggles to make the transition from film to digital photography.

Worldwide last year, 53 million cameras that record snapshots on computer chips were sold, compared with 50 million traditional cameras. It was the first year that digital cameras outsold film cameras in the United States.

Thus the need for change at the retail photo shop.

Since 1924, photography in Laconia has been synonymous with the Achber Studio, 39 Canal Street. Tim Cameron, a professional with 25 years of experience, is in charge there now. Most of his work is done with digital equipment.

Weve been backing out of it for years, Cameron said of the retail, film-based amateur end of the market.

In the 70s, we had three racks of Kodak film. Now, I have one little shelf to continue to service clients. And Im not looking for any new ones because there arent any, Cameron said.

In my opinion, the photo shops we used to have on Main Street are either going to be service bureaus, where you take digital files and they print them and you get good quality images, or they are going to have to find another line of work, he said.

Photo shop owners do not disagree.

In fact, they say they have embraced the changes forced upon them by digital technology.

Shifting focus

Paul Soucy had almost 20 years in the retailing end of photography when he took over Photo World at the Northside Plaza in Manchester.

One of the first things we did was bring in new (digital processing) equipment because I know where its going, Soucy said.

At the Foto Factory on Main Street in Littleton, Art Tighe compared digitals effect on the retail photo market to what would happen if the automobile industry suddenly discovered a new method of propulsion.

The whole industry has turned around and people are buying into that. That is what digital has done for us, said Tighe.

Since he bought the shop five years ago, Tighe has invested heavily in digitally-compatible processing equipment. He still can develop film, but now he can transfer the image to a CD-Rom digital negative and make a quality print from that digitized image. His customers can sit at a digital photo kiosk, insert their digital cameras memory card, look at an image, crop it, remove red eye, press a button or two and produce a print on quality paper.

The counters on Tighes processing machines confirm he is developing fewer rolls of film, but he is making more prints because the kiosk customers are enthralled by their new-found freedom to pick out only the images they want to print.

The biggest complaint I get when it comes to film is that the picture is blurry or I didnt get back the picture I saw in the camera. Now, with digital, they are having success and theyre excited by that. Theyre walking around . . . taking pictures of everything because its so new. And its tangible: You know what you are going to get back. Its kind of awesome, Tighe said.

For the computer savvy, digital offers the option of in-home printing. You can invest in scanners and inkjet printers, store images in a computers memory, transfer them by e-mail. There are on-line services local shops and distant labs that process digital photo files delivered over the Internet and send the prints to you.

But Tighe said all of that has just reinforced the value of the local shop when it comes to servicing the amateur photographer.

Were stronger, he said.

There is a lot of hand holding, talking it through, showing them how to get good prints out of the computer. . . . Were educating the consumer again. When you get into new technology, thats when the specialty store wins.

Just down from the State House, at 29 North Main St. in Concord, is the Concord Camera Store, which marks its 100th birthday this year. Owner Michael R. St. Germain has 35 years in the business and serves as president of the Digital Imaging Marketing Association, a division of the 18,000-member Photo Marketing Association International.

St. Germain has watched the incredibly rapid evolution of digital photography for more than a decade.

The reality is that you have to try to adapt to it to make your business work if this is the business you want to stay in, he said. Its fascinating, scary and rewarding. Im constantly intrigued and wondering how I can get my customers to be as excited as I am.

St. Germain has three digital photo kiosks in his shop now; soon, there will be five.

The family album

Digital has drawn women into the hobby, he said. They are buying 50 percent of the digital cameras. They come in to use the kiosks and make prints from the digital images.

They are the keepers of the memories, St. Germain said.

Men are attracted by the cool digital technology. They enjoy taking the pictures, but often fail to follow through leaving billions of digital images in limbo on memory cards and in home computers because it takes time, skill and the right equipment to get good prints at home.

Surveys done by the Photo Marketing Association suggest that half the people using digital cameras arent aware that they can get high-quality prints at less cost and greater convenience than they did before (from their local camera shop), St. Germain said.

You cant share a picture if its still stuck in your computer. Could be well have a whole generation that thinks they were adopted because theyve never seen the pictures dad took when they were kids, he said with a wink.

And St. Germain said Concord Camera will continue to serve the needs of photographers who prefer film a medium whose demise is far from imminent.

The industry is saying 30 percent of the population will never own a computer. If thats the case, why as a merchant would you turn away from what amounts to 30 percent of your market?


The Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News - 02-Feb-04 - Independent shops say
they still fill photo niche

Posted by Craig at 06:52 PM

January 22, 2004

Cruise Line Kiosks

Photo process on Carnival Cruise Lines and Imageware

Hello Sailor!

Imageware Digital Imaging and Facial Recognition Technologies to Revolutionize Photo Selection and Procurement Processes for Guests Sailing aboard Carnival's Newest "Fun Ship"

ImageWare Systems Inc. (AMEX: IW) today announced that it has signed an agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines, the world's largest cruise operator, to conduct a pilot project aboard the new Carnival Miracle to enhance the photo purchasing experience for guests and speed the photo procurement process. The pilot project, which encompasses a photo-retrieval kiosk that utilizes "facial-recognition" software, is part of Carnival's ongoing effort to leverage technology to maximize guest satisfaction.

"We're looking forward to testing this innovative new technology aboard Carnival Miracle. Our objective is to enhance our guests' experience by utilizing state-of-the-art technology that reduces the time and energy it takes to physically search for keepsake photos," said Bob Woodry, Carnival's vice president of Photo/Video Services. "As an innovator in digital imaging and facial recognition technologies, ImageWare is the only company that combines professional photography expertise with innovative software capabilities that meet our demands. This is a terrific concept and if successful, we anticipate implementing the system aboard our other 'Fun Ships'."

Under the terms of this agreement, ImageWare will leverage a combination of its facial recognition and digital imaging capabilities to develop a system that will store all professional keepsake photos taken of guests vacationing aboard Carnival Miracle beginning this spring. To access the system, a guest simply steps up to a stand-alone photo-retrieval kiosk, which will capture an image of his or her face. This image is then compared, using facial recognition technology, to all faces in all photos that have been captured on the cruise. Once the search is complete, photos containing the guest, including group and individual shots, will appear on the screen and be available for review and purchase.

"We are very excited to be working with Carnival and eager to implement the project," said Paul Devermann, SVP and general manager of ImageWare's Professional Digital Imaging Group. "By leveraging our technologies and core competency in software development, ImageWare is uniquely positioned to create innovative products that will open new markets for the Company, such as cruise lines and theme parks. Our digital imaging, identification and biometric solutions have been validated and successfully deployed across multiple markets including government, law enforcement and professional photography."

Carnival is the world's most popular cruise line, with 19 "Fun Ships" operating three-to 16-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Canada, New England and Bermuda from homeports throughout North America. The line's 20th "Fun Ship," the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle is slated to debut from Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 27, 2004.

About ImageWare Systems Inc.

ImageWare Systems Inc. (AMEX: IW) is the leading global developer of digital imaging, identification and biometric software solutions for the corporate, government, law enforcement, professional photography, transportation, education and healthcare markets, among others. ImageWare's secure credential and biometric product lines are used to produce ID cards, driver licenses, passports, national medical health cards, national IDs and more. The company's law enforcement and biometric product lines provide the public safety market with booking, investigative and identification solutions that can be accessed and shared via PC, Web and wireless platforms. ImageWare's professional digital imaging product line provides professional photographers with automated, in-studio and mobile solutions to facilitate the transition from film-based photography to digital imaging. Founded in 1987, ImageWare is headquartered in San Diego, with offices in Canada, Germany and Singapore. For more information visit www.iwsinc.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. While these statements are meant to convey to the public the company's progress, business opportunities and growth prospects, readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements represent management's opinion. While management believes such representation to be true and accurate based on the information available to the company, actual results may differ materially from those described. The company's operations and business prospects are always subject to risks and uncertainties. Important facts that may cause actual results to differ are set forth in the company's periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contacts


ImageWare Systems Inc.
Joyce Chang-Watts, 858-673-8600
jchang@iwsinc.com
or
Andrea Alfonso, 858-673-8600
aalfonso@iwsinc.com

Posted by timdaw at January 22, 2004 03:17 PM | TrackBack

KNO - KioskNews.Org: Hello Sailor!

Posted by Craig at 03:27 PM

January 14, 2004

Photo Kiosks

Photo-Me has 20,000 photo booths across the world and is looking to install its new digital kiosks alongside at least 6,000 over the next three years. While the exact price of digital prints will depend on the owner of the store in which the kiosk is situated, Mr Sankey hopes it will cost consumers 15p to 25p per snap.
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Photo-Me kiosks let you print your snaps

Posted by Craig at 06:33 PM

Photo Kiosks in Europe

Phot-Me doing very well financially.
The Herald

Posted by Craig at 06:29 PM

January 09, 2004

Kodak Lays Out New Features

Kodak Defines the Future of Digital Picture Sharing at 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show

LAS VEGAS, Jan 8, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- World's Picture Leader Unveils New Mobile Imaging Enhancements, Digital Cameras and Concepts for Anytime, Anywhere Picture Sharing

Eastman Kodak Company today unveiled its vision for how consumers will take and interact with digital pictures, a day in the not-so-distant future when integrated, omnipresent digital imaging systems give people the ability to capture and share their life through pictures whenever or wherever they wish.

The demonstration at the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show represents another advancement of the company's digitally oriented strategy, announced in September. The products and services on display reinforce Kodak's leadership in the increasingly popular digital imaging market.

Building upon the company's renowned photography heritage and digital imaging innovations, Kodak is making picture sharing an anytime, anywhere activity. Kodak's combined products and services provide the world's only complete connection between picture taking, storing, organizing, sharing and printing -- so that people can easily do more with their photos. The roster of new products, services, and concepts showcased at the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show (LVCC South Halls 3&4/Booth 22600) includes mobile imaging enhancements, digital cameras, wireless kiosks, television-based Ofoto access via WINDOWS Media Center, and NUVUE organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays.

"Kodak's advances in helping people stay better connected through picture sharing have been widely followed and emulated throughout the consumer electronics industry," said Bernard Masson, president, Digital & Film Imaging Systems, and senior vice president, Eastman Kodak Company. "Our knowledge of how people interact with their pictures, coupled with our considerable imaging patent portfolio and continued stream of digital innovations, is propelling us beyond simple picture sharing. We're helping people do even more with their photos through richer picture experiences, whether they're at home, at a retail location or on the road."

Mobile Imaging Innovations

The new KODAK Mobile Service (www.kmobile.com) provides camera phone users anytime, anywhere access to their complete collection of digital photos and phone-captured video. Anyone with a camera or image-enabled phone that supports Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) 2.0 can store, access and share their images using the KODAK Mobile Service directly through their handsets or an Internet Web browser for a US$2.99 monthly fee. People can even choose to have friends and family receive automatic notifications when new photos, videos or albums are added to their online accounts.

Kodak is also showcasing a new service that makes it easy for people to print and share photos at U.S. retail locations through its market-leading line of KODAK Picture Maker kiosks. Camera phone users will be able to beam their images to a KODAK Picture Maker using Bluetooth and infrared wireless transfer technologies, after which they can quickly edit, enhance and print their pictures. KODAK Picture Maker kiosks now feature two thermal printers to offer five-second prints in 4x6-inch and 5x7-inch formats for increased ease of use and convenience. KODAK Picture Maker kiosks are equipped with KODAK PERFECT TOUCH software to reveal more vibrant colors, richer detail and fewer dark shadows in every picture. These new kiosk services will be available beginning next month at participating retailers.

Digital Camera Innovations

Kodak is unveiling the latest additions to its EASYSHARE consumer digital photography system. The 4-megapixel KODAK EASYSHARE LS743 digital camera and the 5-megapixel EASYSHARE LS753 digital camera -- whose sleek aluminum bodies are the size of a small mobile phone -- offer beautiful design, outstanding image quality, exceptional ease of use, and advanced sharing features.

Both cameras incorporate the new camera favorites option -- with which people can place pictures into the on-camera digital photo album for later viewing or printing -- and professional-quality SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH C-VARIOGON 2.8x optical zoom lenses. In addition, both are compatible with the KODAK EASYSHARE printer dock 6000 (US$199.95 MSRP) for making real, waterproof 4x6-inch KODAK prints in as little as 90 seconds -- with or without a computer -- plus rapid battery charging and one-touch picture transfer to a computer.

The LS743 camera will be available worldwide beginning this April (US$349 MSRP), and the LS753 camera this June (pricing to be determined).

In related news, Kodak garnered three coveted CES honors for its EASYSHARE digital photography system. The KODAK EASYSHARE printer dock 6000 and EASYSHARE DX6490 zoom digital camera won "Innovations 2004 Design and Engineering Awards," and the printer dock 6000 was selected for the "Technology is a Girl's Best Friend (TechGirl)" product showcase. Both EASYSHARE products will receive special recognition throughout the show.

In-Home and In-Car Innovations

A television-friendly version of Ofoto is being unveiled at the show as well. Microsoft is working with Ofoto, Inc., Kodak's wholly owned subsidiary, to develop a photo-imaging application specifically designed to work with WINDOWS Media Center Edition 2004 PCs. For the first time, millions of Ofoto customers will be able to access and view their digital images, and share those images in their Ofoto accounts, anytime from their TV or PC display with the convenience of using a remote control. This relationship further expands Kodak's efforts to make sharing memories easy and ubiquitous, even from the comfort of one's living room.

In addition, Kodak is highlighting a series of product concepts in its booth. The exhibit features in-car digital camera docks and displays, home-networked wireless camera docks, and wireless digital cameras. Kodak also revealed that forthcoming premium services, based on its popular Ofoto service, would bring significantly enhanced sharing functionality to anyone with Internet access.

Kodak is also exhibiting the world's only 15-inch NUVUE organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display screen, a next-generation, Kodak-developed technology that permits viewing at nearly any angle. Mounted on a refrigerator, the NUVUE display illustrates how digital-picture sharing is moving beyond the PC screen to central gathering places such as kitchens.

"Kodak is synonymous with pictures and is at the forefront of the digital evolution as people adopt new ways of capturing, experiencing, and sharing life through pictures," Masson said. "We're highlighting the next frontier at CES -- easily accessible, image-centric personal content for anytime, anywhere sharing."

For additional information about Kodak, visit www.kodak.com.

About Eastman Kodak Company and infoimaging

Kodak is the leader in helping people take, share, print and view images -- for memories, for information, for entertainment. The company is a major participant in infoimaging, a $385 billion industry composed of devices (digital cameras and flat-panel displays), infrastructure (online networks and delivery systems for images) and services & media (software, film and paper enabling people to access, analyze and print images). With sales of $12.8 billion in 2002, the company comprises several businesses: Health, supplying the healthcare industry with traditional and digital image capture and output products and services; Commercial Printing, offering on-demand color printing and networking publishing systems; Commercial Imaging, offering image capture, output and storage products and services to businesses and government; Display & Components, which designs and manufactures state-of-the-art organic light-emitting diode displays as well as other specialty materials, and delivers optics and imaging sensors to original equipment manufacturers; and Digital & Film Imaging Systems, providing consumers, professionals and cinematographers with digital and traditional products and services.

(Kodak, EasyShare, Perfect Touch and NuVue are trademarks of Eastman Kodak Company. Schneider-Kreuznach and Variogon are trademarks of Jos. Schneider Optische Werke GmbH used under licenses by Eastman Kodak Company.)

SOURCE: Eastman Kodak Company

Ketchum
Katy Hudnall, 917-664-1758
katy.hudnall@ketchum.com
or
Kodak
Mike McDougall, 585-781-4287
michael.mcdougall@kodak.com
Editor contacts only.
Please see last paragraph for reader contact information.

Posted by Craig at 06:38 PM

January 05, 2004

Digital Photos at CES this week

Where Digital Comes Together at 2004 Consumer Electronics Show; Technologies to Shoot, Store, Print, Share, Record and Playback on Display

LAS VEGAS, Jan 5, 2004 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Exhibiting a broad range of consumer imaging and information technologies, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., presents solutions demonstrating "Where Digital Comes Together" this week at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). With a portfolio of end-to-end products and services that help people shoot, store, print, share, record and playback images and information, Fujifilm demonstrates its leadership position.

Fujifilm was the first company to introduce a digital camera with removable media in 1988. Today, the company is the global leader in digital minilabs. Indeed, Fujifilm's history of innovation is proven through its groundbreaking technology and high quality products. Visitors to the Fujifilm Booth #11006 in Central Hall #3 of the Las Vegas Convention Center will find:

-- Shoot: Award winning FinePix consumer digital cameras and
accessories designed to span the market from first-time
digital photographers to serious photo enthusiasts.

-- Store: A complete range of CD-R, DVD, flash memory, disk
storage and products based on the company's own high-density
coating technology to store important consumer audio and
visual data.

-- Print: The complete line of Fujifilm's market-leading digital
camera developing solutions for consumer printing at home,
from home, and at stores.

-- Share: Fujifilm's online photo services that allow easy
picture sharing anytime, anywhere.

-- Record and Playback: A full line of video offerings from VHS
to mini-DV.

On Friday, January 9th, Paul D'Andrea, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fujifilm's Photo Imaging Division, participates in "Digital Imaging Super Session", a panel discussion scheduled for 1:30 pm in North Hall room N257. The in-depth session offers insight into new technologies and developments, breaking applications such as advanced display editing options, Bluetooth-enabled features and accessory trends in digital photography such as printers, online services and in-store kiosks.

Available online, Fujifilm sponsors its own resource for breaking news, press releases and photos (www.fujifilm.com/ces) that provides interested media with full Fujifilm information. In addition, media representatives can access Fujifilm news and information for CES 2004 via the CES Virtual Press Office (www.virtualpressoffice.com/CES/index.jsp). These sites also serve as a great resource for media members unable to attend the show.

Fujifilm's presence at CES will also be visible in the air with the flight of the Fujifilm airship over the Las Vegas strip throughout the week. And, on the ground, the Fujifilm Digital Tour Truck is located at The Beach across from the Las Vegas Convention Center. The truck offers a fully interactive experience with Fujifilm's latest consumer digital cameras and self-service print kiosks.

About Fujifilm

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. is a subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. and delivers technology solutions to meet the imaging and information needs of retailers, consumers, professionals and business customers. As a global leader in digital imaging, Fujifilm pioneered the development of digital X-ray systems, and today is the leader in digital minilab systems. The company was ranked in the top ten for U.S. patents granted during the last decade, employs 72,500 people worldwide and in the year ending March 31, 2003, had global revenues of more than $20 billion.

In the U.S., Fujifilm employs over 10,000 people. The company is a leader in delivering high quality, easy-to-use imaging and information solutions in the following categories: Digital Imaging Systems, Recording/Storage Media, Film and Imaging Systems, Motion Picture Film, Graphic Arts and Printing Systems and Medical Imaging and Diagnostics Systems. Fujifilm is committed to being an environmentally friendly, humane enterprise and an exemplary corporate citizen.

For more information on Fujifilm products, consumers can call 800-800-FUJI or access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their registered owners.

SOURCE: Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.
Tom Shay, 914-789-8145
Tom_Shay@Fujifilm.com
or:
Text 100 Public Relations
Nicole Ramirez, 212-871-4081
NicoleR@Text100.com
http://www.fujifilm.com/ces

Posted by Craig at 04:46 PM

December 29, 2003

Kodak's metamorphosis

In depth stories by Rochester newspaper on the transformation of Kodak

Democrat & Chronicle: Kodak's metamorphosis

Kodak Ties that bind

Posted by Craig at 03:52 PM

December 11, 2003

Photo Kiosks

Nokia and Fujifilm offer in-store mobile phone prints

hursday December 11, 2003

Because it uses a removable Multimedia Memory Card as its storage media, digital snaps from the new Nokia 6600 camera phone can be printed via in-store photo kiosks. Nokia and Fujifilm have announced a deal designed to entice consumers to sample this new functionality - purchasers of the Nokia 6600 are being offered 10 free prints per month from a Fujifilm Digital Photo Center (DPC) kiosk for a 12-month period.


Nokia 6600

In-store prints via MMC

Nokia General Manager - Australia, Alexander Lambeek, expects do-it-yourself DPC kiosks are set to make a major impact in Australia next year.

"Already in the United States, an estimated 50,000 photographic kiosks have been installed, Mr Lambeek said.

The Nokia 6600's integrated camera features include video capture and 2 x Zoom functionality for both stills and movies. Web browsing and email; is suppirted via the 2.1", 65,536 colours TFT display and a 32MB Multimedia Memory Card (MMC) is sold as standard with the package.Wireless Connectivity includes Bluetooth2 wireless technology and Infrared.


Fujifilm DPC

The Fujifilm DPC also caters for prints transferred via Infrared - follow the links below to learn more.

Content Links

www.gizmo.com.au/public/News/news.asp?articleid=2042
More on the Fujifilm DPC

www.fujifilm.com.au
Fujifilm Australian site

www.nokia6600.com.au
Official Nokia 6600 site

Posted by Craig at 03:04 PM

Photokiosks

Toys for Tots and Keshot

LOS ANGELES, Dec 10, 2003 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Keshot Co., the creator of a powerful, new advertising medium called Keshot, and the Advertising Club of Los Angeles team up and find a truly innovative way to send much needed, heartfelt, holiday video and photo messages to Marines stationed overseas.

The Advertising Club of Los Angeles' 56th annual Toys for Tots Luncheon brings together the U.S. Marines and the advertising community for what has traditionally been the largest collection of "Toys for Tots" toys in the Southern California area.

Keshot Co., in conjunction with the ACLA, have taken this opportunity to provide Keshot kiosks free of charge for the Toys for Tots luncheon.

Keshot is a free-standing kiosk that takes videos or pictures of the user, and allows the user to send the images via email. Keshot kiosks and Keshot emails are also customized and branded, in a variety of creative ways, to ensure that the message and life of the event is maximized.

Keshot has added a special feature to the kiosk, so that event attendees can instantly email their video or pictures, along with a written message, to Marines stationed overseas. This is done directly from the Keshot kiosk, which utilizes a wireless Internet connection as part of this cutting edge technology.

Keshot Co., and the ACLA see this as an opportunity to bring out the true spirit of the holiday season by supporting Toys for Tots as well as allowing attendees to thank the Marines for their service in a unique way. We want to ensure that they are not forgotten during this special time of the year.

For more information about this event or Keshot Co., please contact:
Nikki Perry
310 279-3864
Keshot Director of Sales
nikki@keshot.com
www.keshot.com

Posted by Craig at 12:01 AM

December 04, 2003

Send Photos Via Web and California Shop Will Turn Them Into Prints, Cards

Another way of providing service to digital camera owners.

Send Photos Via Web and California Shop Will Turn Them Into Prints, Cards
Jump to first matched term

By Patrick Giblin, The Modesto Bee, Calif.

Dec. 4--For years, it has been common practice to drop off film shot on vacations or at special occasions for photo processing.

Then someone had to pick up those cherished photos, often waiting in line for an available clerk.

Chuck Smith and Becky Taber-Smith, owners of the 8-year-old Valley Custom Photo in Riverbank, have found a way to eliminate that hassle.

Digital photos, either taken with a camera or copied on a flatbed scanner, can be sent to their store via home computer. They turn those images into prints and mail them back.

The Riverbank couple also can transform the photos into custom Christmas cards and even mail them to relatives across the country -- whatever the customer wants.

"I had this idea for three years, but when I went to find the equipment to do it, it wasn't available," Smith said. "Our industry has been slow to adapt to the digital revolution."

Many businesses that process photos -- from Costco to The Camera Center -- will print directly from a memory chip taken from a digital camera. Smith took that one step further by using the Internet, and started offering the service last week.

"I have three kids and normally get my photos done at Costco, but it's hard to get three kids through the store, especially with a busy schedule," said Angela Hayes, a Modesto resident who was one of the first to use Smith's new service.

"Then you have to go back to the store and pick it up," she said. "This way, you never have to leave your house, and you can do it at all hours of the day or night."

She said she recently told some family members on vacation in Cancun, Mexico, to send their photos via the Internet to the Riverbank store from their hotel.

"Then when they get back, their photos will be ready and waiting," she said.

"Besides, with all the X-rays you have to go through (at airport security), you don't want to risk losing your photos."

After customers transmit their photos through the store's Web site (www.vcp1hr.com), they select a size and quantity. In the case of greeting cards, they also must pick the background and custom message. The Smiths charge 40 cents apiece for greeting cards and from 35 cents to $3.49 for prints, depending on the size. Payment is by credit card.

Smith will look at each requested photo and correct the color for best results, he said.

"This system also allows you to save all your photos in an online album," Smith said. "So if you upload your vacation pictures, you can tell grandma in Arizona to take a look, and she can pick the picture she wants and order it from us."

The photo album also allows additional greeting cards or prints to be ordered with a simple phone call or e-mail, Smith said.

For those who don't have Internet access, the Smiths have installed an in-store kiosk that can read multiple forms of digital camera memory. Smith also has a studio in the back and will take a family photo for custom cards.

He charges $1 per card for that service, he said.

"Every year we have people come in with photos on Christmas Eve asking us to turn them into last-minute greeting cards," Taber-Smith said.

"We couldn't do it in one day," she said. "Now, with the digital, we can turn it around in an hour."

Valley Custom Photo is at 2119 Patterson Road (Highway 108/120), Suite 11, Riverbank. For more information, call 869-8036 or visit www.vcp1hr.com.

Story

Posted by Craig at 02:59 PM

CVS, Walgreens announce new digital photo printing services

Looking to further tap into the growing digital camera segment, both CVS and Walgreens on Wednesday announced new digital photo printing services.

CVS plans to introduce in early 2004 mobile image printing capabilities at its Kodak Picture Maker kiosks in more than 3,000 stores nationwide. The new service will enable mobile camera phone users to bean their images to the kiosk using Bluetooth or Infrared technologies. Customers can then edit, enhance and print their photos.

Earlier this year, CVS announced that the Kodak Picture Maker kiosks enabled digital camera users to produce photo-quality prints from digital media, including camera cards, CDs and disks.

Walgreens announced that it now offers standard, 4x6 prints from digital cameras for 29 cents eachthe same price as prints from traditional filmat all Walgreens stores.

To order digital prints at Walgreens, customers insert their cameras memory card into the Walgreens digital photo center, select which photos to print and present their receipt to the photo specialist. The order can be processed in as little as one hour, the retailer stated.

Customers also have the option of editing their photos at the digital photo center, including retouching red eye, cropping and zooming.

Walgreens has been testing the service for about a year at various store locations, and now offers the service at more than 4,200 stores nationwide, said Michael Polzin, a Walgreens spokesman.


story link

Posted by Craig at 02:54 PM

November 17, 2003

New U.S. Mobile Imaging Service

Eastman Kodak Company today announced agreements that will provide mobile imaging services to help people store, share, organize and print their digital images.

US : Eastman Kodak Company today announced agreements that will provide mobile imaging services to help people store, share, organize and print their digital images, moves that will make the familiar Kodak brand a leader in this new category.

This market is rapidly growing, according to projections by market research firms such as IDC, which forecasts more than a billion camera-enabled mobile phones in use over the next three years.

Kodak will provide imaging services for Cingular Wireless and has also entered into agreements with wireless leader Nokia to help customers get more out of their camera phones. KODAK Mobile Service offers camera phone users anytime, anywhere access to all of their digital photos and phone-captured video.

In addition, Kodak extends its leadership in the kiosk market by enabling KODAK Picture Maker kiosks at participating retail locations with mobile printing capabilities and five-second printing with superior KODAK PERFECT TOUCH premium processing.

Cingular subscribers with camera phones and multimedia messaging service (MMS) are able to store and access their mobile images at KODAK Mobile Service directly through their handsets for a monthly subscription fee of $2.99, charged through their monthly service bill. Cingular MMS customers can sign up for KODAK Mobile Service by visiting www.cingular.com/mms and can enjoy a 90-day free trial of the service prior to the subscription billing.

Kodak is also expanding its relationship with Nokia, the leading handset maker, to create seamless links from select versions of the NOKIA 3600 Series camera phones to the KODAK Mobile Service. Nokia users can sign up for the service at www.nokia.kmobile.com.

"Kodak has led innovation in the imaging industry for more than a century and currently holds the No.1 market share position for photo kiosks at retail and online photofinishing through Ofoto," said Bernard Masson, president, Digital and Film Imaging Systems, and senior vice president, Eastman Kodak Company. "As an example of Kodak's aggressive pursuit of the digital imaging market, these new services and agreements place Kodak at the forefront of the mobile imaging industry, with products and services that help people take, view, print and share pictures wherever they are, whenever they want. Whether online or through kiosks at retail locations, Kodak's mobile imaging services now give consumers places to print all their mobile images."

KODAK Mobile Service
KODAK Mobile Service is an easy-to-use, comprehensive service for the growing number of camera phone users to make, manage and move all of their digital pictures and mobile-captured video on the go. With KODAK Mobile Service, consumers can:

Intuitively store and organize all their pictures and phone-captured video in one location;
Share all their digital and mobile pictures with friends and family right from their camera phone;
View all their digital pictures and phone-captured video on the go.
Anyone with a camera or image-enabled phone that supports WAP 2.0 can begin using KODAK Mobile Service, which can be accessed by computer or handset browser at www.kmobile.com.

KODAK Mobile Service is currently available free for trial initially to customers in the U.S. After the trial, customers can subscribe to the service on a monthly or annual basis through a participating carrier or directly through KODAK Mobile Service. Customers should check with their carriers for specific pricing and availability or visit www.kmobile.com for further information.

Kiosks Offer Mobile Image Printing at Retail
Capitalizing on Kodak's installed base of 24,000 kiosks across the country, Kodak will offer convenient solutions for consumers at retail to print digital images through the enablement of KODAK Picture Maker kiosks using Bluetooth or infrared technologies. Camera phone users will be able to beam their images to a KODAK Picture Maker and quickly edit, enhance and print their images. Users simply take a picture with their mobile imaging-enabled phone, insert their memory card or select the wireless option and send the photo to a KODAK Picture Maker kiosk. Consumers then follow the on-screen kiosk directions to easily print their pictures. CVS/Pharmacy will be the first national retailer to provide this offering beginning in early 2004 as part of its continued effort to provide easy-to-use digital printing solutions to their customers.

Kodak is expanding its global partnership with Nokia to the U.S. and together they will engage in a number of co-marketing activities in 2004, beginning with the 2004 Nokia Sugar Bowl. Nokia and Kodak also will jointly develop kiosk printing services and other retail printing solutions to empower mobile users to turn their favorite pictures into prints.

Continuing to innovate its kiosk offering, Kodak will offer five-second printing of 4x6-inch prints from KODAK Picture Maker kiosks. This offers consumers increased ease of use and convenience with prints five times faster than current print options. In addition, all thermal printer-enabled digital KODAK Picture Maker kiosks will be equipped with KODAK PERFECT TOUCH premium processing so each photo reveals more vibrant colors, richer detail and fewer dark shadows. These new services and wireless enablement will be available to consumers by January 2004 at participating retailers.

Posted by Craig at 03:05 PM

November 04, 2003

The Fight Ahead For Fuji

The first-half results that Fuji Photo Film announced--net profits were up 22% on flat sales--belie some of the big challenges that the Japanese giant has ahead of it.

story link

Photography
The Fight Ahead For Fuji
Penelope Patsuris, 10.31.03, 1:50 PM ET

NEW YORK - The first-half results that Fuji Photo Film announced this morning--net profits were up 22% on flat sales--belie some of the big challenges that the Japanese giant has ahead of it.

More on Fuji Photo Film
Tear Sheet




Specifically, Fuji (nasdaq: FUJIY - news - people ) ranks fourth behind Canon (nyse: CAJ - news - people ), Sony (nyse: SNE - news - people ) and Olympus in the sales of the digital cameras that are reshaping the photography industry, where Fuji ranks second in the dwindling film market, behind beleaguered Eastman Kodak (nyse: EK - news - people ). Also a threat: Hewlett Packard's (nyse: HPQ - news - people ) recent introduction of its own digital cameras.

Help For The Photographically Challenged
Slow-Motion Photography
Four Gigabytes For Digital Photos
Picture Frames Go Wi-Fi
MultiFunction Printers: It's All In There
Megapixel Madness
Fuji doesn't break out its film and hardware businesses, which are both included under its Imaging division. That group's sales accounted for about one-third of the company's first-half sales of 1.26 trillion yen. But as the film business that analysts believe dominates the company's sales continues to fade, camera sales will become a more crucial element for Fuji.

"Their biggest problem [with camera sales] is a lack of brand awareness, especially here in the U.S.," says Infotrends analyst Michelle Slaughter, who adds that Fuji has as complete a line of digital cameras as its competitors. But the company is working to improve that image by pushing its presence in the nascent retail digital photofinishing market, which may in turn help raise the visibility of its digital cameras.

One of the biggest hurdles between average consumers and digital photography is that they don't understand how to get the photos out of these cameras and are intimidated at the thought of having to do it themselves, according to a recent report by Future Image analyst Paul Worthington. Fuji hopes that by keeping a high profile in the efforts to ease that process, it will boost its appeal as a camera manufacturer.

"Fuji has led the push to get retailers to upgrade their labs in order to process digital prints," says Kerry Flatley, Infotrends' printing analyst. She estimates that Fuji has 46% of the installed base of digital minilabs, which are the machines behind the photo department counter that print digital photos. Fuji is second behind Kodak in the self-service kiosks that let users get their prints instantly.

Fuji's coups in the digital developing realm include getting its technology into Wal-Mart (nyse: WMT - news - people ), which has 4,700 locations, as well as behind the counter at Walgreens (nyse: WAG - news - people ) and Ritz Camera stores.

Fuji is also in the vanguard with hybrid online and offline photofinishing services that let consumers upload their photos via PC and pick them up at a local retail shop. Users can submit photos to its Web site, DigitalCameraDevloping.com, and then choose the store nearest to them to pick them up.

To be sure, Fuji's success in the printing realm is by no means guaranteed to translate into camera sales.

"The question is, What drives demand for a brand of digital cameras?" says IDC analyst Angele Boyd, "and there aren't always the logical connections that you'd expect. The halo effect won't be as strong as you would think, but it certainly can help."

More From Forbes
The Push For More Digital Prints 10.30.03
Paper and ink are high-margin supplies, but people just aren't printing many of their digital photos.

Posted by Craig at 02:49 PM

October 10, 2003

Market Research Photokiosks

What is a reasonable guess for total photokiosk deployments by Kodak by end of 2003?

One reasonable guess is close to 50,000 (up from 35,000 number). Figure 50% outside of U.S. with fastest rising market being China.

Posted by Craig at 08:01 PM

Photography Businesses Shift into Digital Mode

Memory cards and Digital imaging processing in the small shops of the photo industry

Story

Charleston, W.Va., Photography Businesses Shift into Digital Mode
Jump to first matched term

By Jennifer Ginsberg, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va.

Oct. 10--In 1994, Patrick Dodd had one computer, a film recorder and a small scanner as part of his photo-developing business.

Now, less than a decade later, he has a full digital mini-laboratory and a 30-inch printer that can print digital photos up to 100 feet long.

About 99 percent of what Dodd and his staff at Photographic Production Services, on Central Avenue in Charleston, do is digital. He says that they process film the old-fashioned way, in a darkroom, about once every two or three weeks.

Photography businesses like Dodd's are diversifying their services and adapting to, or face getting knocked down by, the digital wave rolling across the photography industry.

According to Eastman-Kodak's latest annual report, sales of the company's consumer film products in the United States, including 35 mm film, Advantix film and one-time-use cameras, declined 12 percent from 2001 to 2002.

The company attributed the decrease to a "declining industry demand driven by a weak economy and the impact of digital substitution."

The report also said the photographic film industry across the United States shrank about 3 percent from 2001 to 2002.

Glen Callihan, manager of the photo lab at Fountain Photo Shop, says his customers still take more film pictures than digital, but he has lost some customers in the real estate industry who have switched from film to digital cameras.

"It's easier for them to put their images online," he said. "[For] anybody that has to put their images online, it's good to have a digital camera."

Callihan also has found that many people who take digital photos don't bother to print them out, but save them on their computers or post them on the Internet instead.

At a small kiosk at the back of Merrill Photo Supply, on Hale Street in downtown Charleston, customers can insert memory cards from their digital cameras and follow the touch-screen instructions to make prints.

The kiosk has been open for about a week, said Jim Ore, the store's assistant manager. "[We] feel like a lot of people want to do that, come in and make their own prints," he said.

The store's business is still highly film-based, Ore said, but the business brought in by digital photography has increased in the last two years.

He estimates about 65 percent to 70 percent of the new items the store sells are digitally based. Basically, any type of equipment a customer can get for a film camera can also be purchased for a digital camera, Ore said.

"We still sell darkroom supplies, but it's slower than it was," he said.

Now that digital cameras are available everywhere from discount department stores to high-end camera stores, so are the processes to transform a strip of film into digital files, or a digital file into a tangible print.

At Photographic Production Services, Dodd and his staff can take film and run it through a processing machine, scan the negatives into a computer server, color-correct and retouch the images, and then send the files to a printer with photo paper.

If a customer brings in a digital camera's memory card or pictures already saved on a CD, the production process is the same, minus the film processing and negative scanning.

The photos that are printed from the computer are "sharper digitally than optically. All around, it's a better print," said Megan Dailey, a Photographic Production Services employee.

Like Merrill Photo, local Target and Wal-Mart stores also have a kiosk for customers to insert their memory cards to make prints.

Heather Hudson, manager of Target's One Hour Photo in South Charleston, and her staff can help customers load their memory cards into the computer and print out a contact sheet, which also serves as an order form.

The store has offered this service for about a year, in addition to traditional film developing. Hudson said she's noticed an increase in digital business in the past three months.

Plus, at Target, it's cheaper to have a digital photo printed than a film photo. It costs $6.96 to develop 24 prints created from a digital camera and $7.49 to develop 24 film prints, Hudson said.

"People are trying the new digital and seeing how the process works, but I'm not sure people are totally switching yet," she said. "People are curious."

Posted by Craig at 06:56 PM

October 01, 2003

Digital Photography Kiosk Report Now Available!

KNO - KioskNews.Org: Digital Photography Kiosk Report Now Available!

Summit Research Associates, Inc., the leading consulting firm devoted to the kiosk and self-service industry, is proud to announce the publication of Kiosk Industry Sector Report - Digital Photography, their first report on one of the fastest-growing sectors in the kiosk arena. This sector has enormous potential. Why?
In 2003, more digital cameras will be sold than film cameras
Consumer digital photography is already a $1B business
Less than 4% of all digital pictures are ever printed
80 percent of all digital photos are printed at home but the cost of consumables is high and the print options are limited

This report examines the current status and opportunities for growth for these units that are benefiting from the rapid acceptance of digital cameras. More than a dozen of the world's leading photo kiosks were tested, using a methodology designed to provide the most level playing field. Each kiosk tested was evaluated as a Case Study and includes pictures of the unit itself along with an example of the user interface. The same test pictures-employing the same storage medium-were used at each kiosk and compared for output quality. A number of charts are included covering the leading digital storage media accepted, the types of peripherals used, the most popular editing features and the leading print options. Almost every photo kiosk manufacturer is represented in this report. They include Kodak, Fujifilm, Sony, Agfa, Pixel Magic Imaging and Konica.

Digital photography kiosks represent an area of enormous promise. But two critical questions must be answered: If you build it, will they (the customers) come and use it? And, just as important: If they come, will they be able to produce prints of their digital pictures? This report provides valuable insights into these issues, along with recommendations for maximizing revenue while minimizing the time spent at the kiosk.

The Case Studies are evaluated using Summit's extensive Photo Kiosk Evaluation Checklist, which presents an overview of each kiosk project. It includes descriptions of, the enclosure, signage, user interface, peripherals, digital storage media accepted, print options available, image editing capabilities and any special features that make this kiosk stand out. A detailed evaluation of the kiosk-both positive and negative-follows the checklist featuring pictures of the unit and a sample screenshot of the user interface.

Table of Contents
I. Introduction
II. The Opportunity
III. Research Findings
IV. Testing Methodology
V. Evaluation Checklist and Descriptions
VI. Digital Photography Kiosk Case Studies
Agfa
Applied Science Fiction
Fujifilm
Kodak
Konica
Lucidiom
Noritsu
Olympus
Photo-Me
Pixel Magic Imaging
Polaroid
Sony
TouchPoint Solutions
VII. Appendix


Table of Figures
Figure 1. Leading Storage Media Used in Photo Kiosks
Figure 2. Print Options Offered in Photo Kiosks
Figure 3. Leading Editing Options Offered in Photo Kiosks
Figure 4. Leading Features Found in Photo Kiosks
Figure 5. First Test Picture
Figure 6. Second Test Picture
Figure 7. Photo Kiosk Evaluation Checklist
Figure 8. Agfa e-box
Figure 9. Agfa e-box Editing Interface
Figure 10. Applied Science Fiction DigiPIX Image Station
Figure 11. Applied Science Fiction DigiPIX Specialized Editing
Figure 12. Fujifilm Freestanding Aladdin Unit
Figure 13. Fujifilm Instructions for Printing all Pictures
Figure 14. Kodak PictureMaker PictureMaker Unit at Wal-Mart
Figure 15. Kodak PictureMaker Print Size Options
Figure 16. Konica Digital Input Station
Figure 17. Konica White Border Option
Figure 18. Lucidiom Touch Prints Unit
Figure 19. Lucidiom Payment Options
Figure 20. Noritsu CT-1 Digital Camera Terminal
Figure 21. Noritsu Print Selection
Figure 22. Photo-Me Digital Photo Kiosk
Figure 23. Photo-Me Print Enhancement
Figure 24. Pixel Magic Imaging iStation 100 Media Choices
Figure 25. Pixel Magic Imaging iStation 100 Images and Output Options
Figure 26. Pixel Magic Imaging iStation 200 Editing Options
Figure 27. Pixel Magic Imaging iStation 200 Customer Options
Figure 28. Polaroid Instant Digital Prints Kiosk
Figure 29. Polaroid Selection Options
Figure 30. Olympus True Print Kiosk
Figure 31. Olympus Print Style Options
Figure 32. Sony PictureStation at Kinko's
Figure 33. Sony PictureStation Media Choices
Figure 34. TouchPoint Solutions quickPIX Digital Photo & Film Processing Center
Figure 35. TouchPoint quickPIX Fun Stuff Editing Options

You might also be interested in our consulting services (including general workshops and briefings on the kiosk industry; strategic planning; as well as application, interface, usability and content evaluations.) Please contact me if you are interested or if you have additional questions. For further information on Summit Research Associates, please visit our Website, www.summit-res.com. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Warm Regards,

Marta Mendelsohn
Director of Marketing
Summit Research Associates, Inc.
7728 Warbler Lane
Rockville, MD 20855-1034 USA
www.summit-res.com
marta@summit-res.com

Phone: 301-670-0980
Fax: 301-670-1006
Phone (Europe): 34-93-659-37-68

Posted by Craig at 06:55 PM

September 26, 2003

New Focus for Kodak

Kodak slashes dividend, targets digital markets

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - Eastman Kodak Co. slashed its generous $1.80 annual dividend to 50 cents a share -- the first cut in over a century -- as it struggles to accelerate growth in digital photography to offset sliding film and camera sales.

The move, announced Thursday, is aimed at reducing spending and boosting investment in digital markets by as much as $3 billion over the next three years. Kodak wants to drive up sales from $12.8 billion last year to $16 billion in 2006 and $20 billion by 2010.

Investors didn't like what they heard, sending Kodak's stock price down $3.47 or 13 percent to $23.52 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The world's biggest photography company is trying to quickly widen its range of digital products in the consumer, commercial and health imaging fields as it shifts away from investing in the chemical-photography businesses that turned it into a 20th-century icon.

``This is probably the biggest turning point in our recent history, certainly a major turning point for a 120-year-old-plus company,'' chief executive Dan Carp told investors at a meeting in New York.

``The decline that became evident for sure in the second quarter of this year to the historic film-based businesses can be managed,'' Carp said. ``It requires hard work, a different model ... heavily driven on cost reduction and then selected investments for growth.''

Kodak said in July that it was eliminating up to 6,000 jobs this year -- shrinking its global payroll to around 62,000 from a peak of 136,500 in 1983. It blames the three-year slump in film sales on a sluggish economy and the rapid rise of filmless digital picture-taking.

By the end of the year, industry analysts expect digital cameras to begin outselling film cameras for the first time in the United States.

Cutting the dividend by 70 percent will give Kodak extra financial flexibility, said Robert Brust, Kodak's chief financial officer.

``This reallocation of cash will help us achieve our revenue targets while carrying an amount of debt that's appropriate for the goals we intend to pursue,'' he said.

Kodak's dividend yield -- which was 6.67 percent based on its closing stock price Wednesday -- was the highest among the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average. Its payout reduction is the first since Kodak introduced a dividend in 1902, spokesman Gerard Meuchner said.

In July, Kodak said it expected to end up with $500 million of free cash this year after dividend payments and debt reduction. But its $500 million buyout that month of PracticeWorks, an Atlanta-based company that provides information technology systems for dental offices, would leave Kodak with no free cash, analysts said.

The company expects to winnow down its debt from $3 billion at the end of June to between $2.1 billion and $2.4 billion at the end of this year.

As the switch by consumers to digital photography comes on faster than expected, cutting deeply into the film, paper and photofinishing businesses that anchor Kodak's profits and image, the company has chopped jobs, consolidated its divisions and made large-scale changes in top management.

It hired Hewlett-Packard veterans Antonio Perez in April and James Langley in August to help guide its development of digital businesses.

The consumer and professional photography businesses, which account for about 60 percent of Kodak's annual sales, were combined this summer in an effort to pool resources.

http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/6858250.htm

Posted by Craig at 02:49 PM