By Alan Bullock – InfoTrends BLOG
Consumers have a growing problem, and the Association of Professional Photo Organizers (APPO) wants to help. Here’s some of what I observed during my brief visit to their 2018 National Conference, held last week (March 21-24) in Raleigh, North Carolina.
US Consumers are amassing huge collections of personal photos. InfoTrends’ latest Personal Photo Activity Forecast estimates the collective total will approach 1 trillion digital images by the end of this year. For most people, that collection is spread across several storage locations. Most newer photos are sitting on users’ smartphones, but some have been uploaded to social media and cloud storage services, or even transferred to a home computer. Digital camera photos may be in all those locations plus an assortment of memory cards, thumb drives, hard drives, or even CDs and DVDs. And then there are the shoeboxes and albums full of old printed photos…
The APPO describes its members as “small businesses who help people tame their photo chaos.” The conference offered education and training sessions covering topics that included scanning printed photos, creating video productions from digital photos, working within the Apple Photo ecosystem, and business strategies. The “Marketplace” featured tabletop displays from a dozen or so suppliers, featuring software, hardware and services for photo organizers and their clients.
One that caught my eye was promoting APPO’s own Metadata Camp, a three-day training session scheduled for Fall of 2018 that will cover best practices for tagging people, places, events, and other relevant information. InfoTrends has long maintained that photo storage and management solutions are only as good as the ability to find a photo when it is needed, so this seems like a skill that will add value for photo organizers’ clients.
I must admit that I was somewhat surprised to see not one, but two, digital photo frame vendors among the APPO Marketplace exhibitors:
- Nixplay, based in Hong Kong, offers several product lines, with and without Wi-Fi connectivity, with a variety of screen sizes (7- to 18-inches), and with an assortment of frame styles and colors from basic black to textured aluminum. Nix Play’s frames feature what they call Hu Motion Sensor, which automatically turns on the frame when someone enters the room, displays the most recent photos, and turns it off again when they leave. Nixplay Wi-Fi frames can also be controlled through Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
- San Francisco-based Joy takes a different approach. For one thing, its product is a digital photo album, not a frame. Designed to be held, touched, and passed around, the Joy Album more closely resembles a tablet, with a 13.3-inch HD touch screen, built-in stereo speakers, and no power cord to get in the way. A dual-angle magnetic stand provides wireless charging and tabletop display. Other interesting features include the ability to add voice notes to individual photos or videos and StoryTime, which connects two Joy Albums for a real-time voice call with screen sharing. Joy’s business model is a bit different, too, the digital album with 10 GB of cloud storage is available for $20 per month.
While we are not expecting a big resurgence in the popularity of digital photo frames, today’s products are vastly superior to those of a few years ago, with simple remote management from mobile apps or websites and the ability to easily include photos and videos from smartphones, social media and cloud storage services. Professional photo organizers are providing a valuable service. For those who choose to invest in that service, a digital frame (or album) is a compelling way to enjoy and share those memories.