As is always the case, PMA provides an excellent opportunity to do a bit of trend watching and at this year’s gathering that activity bore even more fruit than usual. What follows is a brief look at a few of the trends we feel have some staying power.
Photo Book Bonanza
If you attended PMA this year you clearly saw that the photo book product had a dominant presence. This was really the first PMA that we saw high quality, and easily obtainable photo book solutions all over the show floor. While the various offerings included all manner of digital scrapbook (another market poised for takeoff), the product we were most impressed with were the beautiful hard or soft bound books, with easy, interchangeable layout templates and myriad creative touches, that could be produced with limited-click ease and ordered on the Internet or at photo kiosks in store.
As we walked the show, it appeared as though they were being offered by just about everyone with unlimited branding opps that included software packages that allowed the end-user to get as involved, or uninvolved as they choose. An important factor when you consider that the industry is finding out that there are several different incarnations of “Jennifer”.
Quite simply, we see this item as one of the hottest to emerge in this industry in 2007. It brings everything to the table that digital promises to bring – ease of operation, easy to share and carries huge personal value to the creator. When an imaging product dishes out that happy hat trick, you’ve got a winner.
Often times lost amid the chatter and excitement in the digicam market is coverage on the sensors that really power them. Among the many interesting pieces of news in the digital camera market lately is the work coming out of Texas Instruments on the chip front. Late last year they brought the DaVinci processor to market with the promise of injecting some much needed life into the lower-end market. The TI offering included an entire reference design kit for the manufacture of “feature-rich” digital cameras in the $99-$199 price range. Both Kodak and GE/General Imaging had cameras at PMA based on this DaVinci reference kit.
Not satisfied with this salvo on the low-end market, TI demo’d what they labeled DaVinciP2 technology at PMA with the claim it will allow manufacturers to bring DSLR feature sets to point-and-shoot digital cameras. The company told us that they have, “leveraged their DSC silicon and expertise to offer a production-ready software reference design, based on DaVinciP2 technology.” TI says that this breakthrough will allow digital camera manufacturers to use the reference design to bring the type of burst capture performance, among other higher end features, normally found in DSLR cameras to low-cost, point-and-shoot digital cameras. They also demonstrated that the technology can also enable high-definition (HD) video on digital cameras priced as low as $99. Looks like TI lightning will be striking twice in this market.
Among the many trends that have emerged so far this year is the fact that PMA’s Jennifer is a multi-layered consumer. The industry is definitely on to something here as they have labeled this demographic as the one most likely to turn their digital images into either a print or a high-margin specialty item. She has apparently become a bit bored with the 4×6 and feels there is fun to be had elsewhere with her digital image files.
Turns out she isn’t very big on the tech part of the equation but is instead driven by the emotion behind these products. Play to that and make her time in your location easy, enjoyable and productive and she’ll become a most loyal customer.
And, oh yeah, Elvis is still very big in Vegas.