Web Clicks: Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk at the 2012...

Web Clicks: Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk at the 2012 PMA@CES


We thought we’d help you take a mini cruise around the web . . . First stop, image sharing in the digital age. . .

Gone, it appears, are the days when we’d sit in the living room passing prints around that were taken weeks, sometimes months, prior. This, generally speaking, was how we shared our memories in the analog days gone by.

Well, that was then and this is definitely a very different now. A recent study done by web researchers Mashable.com reveals some interesting information regarding when and how consumers share their images today. For instance, the peak hours for sharing images online or via e-mail is 9:30 a.m.; the peak day of the week is Wednesday, and 75% of the clicks to open said images happen within the first day they are sent. In fact, the highest percentage of opens occurs within the first two minutes of receiving the image(s).

Lytro Nitro?
The Lytro camera we have mentioned in previous issues is now officially available and getting a fair amount of coverage in the tech press—and for good reason. It’s not everyday a revolutionary photography product hits the market, and I think the Lytro has a fair claim on that designation.

To review, the Lytro camera does something no other consumer-grade digital camera can do: focus a photo after the fact. In other words, it’s impossible to take a photo that’s blurry and out of focus. Think of the possibilities: if you have a photo of several people, you can send each individual in that shot a custom-tailored image with just their faces in focus—all from a single image using software provided by Lytro. I recently saw the camera demo’d in NYC and it’s very cool stuff.

But before we sound the horn for the Lytro being the must-have camera of the day, there are two factors that might inhibit its mass adoption . . . for now. First, its price. At $399, the Lytro is considerably more expensive than your average point-and-shoot camera. Which brings us to point two: the Lytro isn’t your average point-and-shoot camera in its design. It looks more like a pocket telescope, and its odd (for a camera) shape may turn off consumers accustomed to slimmer designs.

Perhaps a fair number of people will overlook this and jump in with both feet anyway, we’ll see. But it will be interesting to see if and when Lytro can put this technology into a “traditional” camera body that’s priced more in line with the mainstream camera market. It’s a technology worth keeping a close eye on, and yes, we are also wondering why they haven’t just licensed the tech to a real camera manufacturer . . . hmm.

More Blur Away
Speaking of blur, did you hear Adobe is claiming to have come up with what they are calling a deblurring tool? Unlike other common photo maladies like red-eye or underexposure, blur isn’t something we’ve been able to remove after the fact with computer software. Adobe recently announced they have created a software feature that analyzes how the camera created the blur and what is needed to correct it. While we haven’t played with the software yet, based on the reaction to the demo at the Adobe Max 2011 event in LA, the company may have done something revolutionary. No word yet on when this tool will show up in Photoshop, but here’s to hoping it’s sometime soon.

“They Will Print!”

According to recently released InfoTrends research, while many markets in the digital imaging space are approaching maturation, they tell us the photo merchandise market will attain substantial growth, reaching $2.2 billion in revenues by 2014. When it comes to increasing sales over the next few years, as your more traditional print volumes and revenues level off or even decline a bit, generating profits from photo merchandise appears to be your best bet.

As you all know, in this “look at me” generation we live in today, consumers are taking more photos than ever before, and beyond simply posting to Facebook, study after study is showing they still want to do creative things with their pics. Photo merchandise opens up that creative avenue, giving your customers a wide variety of unique options for output. Make sure they know about every single one of them. Not unlike that famous cornfield in Iowa, the voices you should be hearing are saying, “Show them and they will print!”

16MP Sensor for Smartphones

Samsung recently announced they have developed a 16 megapixel CMOS image sensor “designed for high-performance, advanced smartphones as well as digital still cameras and camcorders.” The S5K2P1 is a 1/2.3-inch sensor with 1.34 micrometer backside illuminated pixels, which yield, as Samsung explains, “excellent sensitivity and low-noise performances.” The company adds that the chip also provides brighter and more vivid pictures at night and dark indoor conditions and can capture video at 8 megapixel resolution and 60 frames per second.

Samsung also announced, for smaller smartphones, they will be producing a 1.2 megapixel system-on-chip sensor, the S5K8AA. The 1/8.2-inch sensor package fits in camera modules shorter than 3mm “for the slimmest mobile device designs,” they added. This smaller chip supports 30 fps at 720p and 60 fps at VGA resolution. The future of the point-and-shoot digicam market seems a bit dicey . . . no?

The Power of Facebook

Although I know many of you have embraced the power of Facebook and know what a presence on the iconic social network can do, there are still lots of retailers who aren’t really involved in FB in the right way. First, a few numbers to grab your attention:  Worldwide ad revenues for Facebook will rise 104% in 2011 to $3.8 billion, according to market research firm eMarketer. In the United States alone, ad revenues rose from $1.21 billion to an estimated $2.01 billion at the close of 2011.

We grabbed a few quick tips from the National Retail Federation (NFR) on how retailers can maximize their returns from Facebook. First and foremost is when and how often you should post. Research shows the largest number of consumers engage with brands that post on Wednesdays, and brands that share their messages in the less busy early morning and later evening hours win an additional boost. The other key to FB use for retailers is only posting when you have something relevant to post. Many retailers are posting items just for the sake of volume, and as a result they are turning off their followers.

Be smart and pay close attention to your FB analytics; online behavior is obviously very trackable and those analytics tell many interesting stories about what your customers are doing and what they want and expect from you.