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Last week, as I posted a note on LinkedIn referring to the latest depressing camera sales data from CIPA, it dawned on me how differently the photo output business has fared compared to the camera business – two industries that traditionally were interwoven and followed parallel trajectories.

At a time when many camera vendors are suffering, the photo print industry has managed to stay relatively stable in size (and is actually growing in some markets), while becoming less dependent on digital camera usage (read: success in attracting smartphone photographers as customers).

How has the photo print industry adapted to today’s drastically changing times, while the camera industry basically continued to serve similar products for the same old – but dwindling – customer segments? (For more about the latter, see Om Malik’s analysis).

When I first started Suite 48 Analytics back in 2013, I had the pleasure of chairing a panel at the HP Indigo Photo Summit in Barcelona, consisting of 3 developers of, at that time, cutting edge photo print apps: Caleb Elston (developer of Mixbook’s Mosaic photobook app), Matt Brezina (founder of postcard print app developer Sincerely, which was later acquired by Provide Commerce), and Bruce Seymour (co-founder of MEA Mobile, developers of the Printicular photo print apps). The audience of photo printers was intrigued by what these young app developers were presenting, but many shrugged these apps off as nice experiments that would not make a dent in their business any time soon, as 99% of their printed photos came from digital cameras.

But these types of apps did make a dent. And the photo print product industry did manage to adapt relatively fast – granted, some players did so faster than others – to changing consumer behavior patterns and emerging platforms and technologies (think smartphones, cloud storage & computing, edge computing, social media visual communication, AI, AR, and e-commerce APIs, to name a few) that enabled photo print solutions to keep reinventing themselves and stay relevant for existing customers while also becoming relevant to new ones.

At the same time, developers from the new world of mobile and social photo communication environments (photo sharing apps, cloud photo storage platforms, gig photography services, photo editing apps, to name a few) have come to realize that, no matter their primary monetization models, offering their customers easy solutions to create and buy photo products through an SDK or API provided by a photo print product vendor is often an attractive additional way to monetize their users.

Which leads us to the question, What’s Next? We’ll discuss this threefold at Visual 1st.

  • First, we’ll have the privilege of being able to dive into the drivers behind European market leader CEWE’s fast-growing revenues that have occurred under the helm of their CEO of 2 years, Dr. Christian Friege.
  • In addition we’ll have an exciting panel, featuring 4 innovative photo print product solution providers who will share their perspectives on a range of topics, including enabling Facebook and Instagram users to relive their visual memories in print, leveraging AI-powered storytelling tools to create printed photobooks, sprucing up traditional school yearbooks with video and messaging and other features, and exploring the do’s and don’ts of expanding one’s print provider network, for instance when expanding internationally.
  • Last, but not least, we’ll have several innovative photo print solutions developers lined up among our 30 Show & Tell presenters.

There is 24 days until Visual 1st!

Thursday Oct. 3 – Friday Oct. 4; San Francisco

Program & Speakers to date

Attendees to date

Attendee trailers to date

Buy your ticket now!

And a few more things…

Nokia/ZeissZeiss is not just a top-notch lens provider for digital cameras, as we’ll extensively discuss in our The Camera is Dead – Long Live the Camera panel at Visual 1st, featuring Robert Pignataro, General Manager of ZEISS Consumer Products, Americas. Zeiss’ lenses have also found their way into smartphones. Read the Nokia 7.2 initial review: Putting Zeiss into the mid-range. Its main camera is a 48-megapixel sensor with 1/2in size, with an f/1.78 Zeiss lens. It can shoot at full resolution, or use pixel combining to give you more typical 12-megapixel photos.

Shutterfly/Lifetouch. New management changes are reported for Lifetouch, thanks to a scoop by our Visual 1st media partner, The Dead Pixels Society.

Eye Caramba/Kodak. Your phone’s lens(es) or flash are not quite good enough? Finnish company Eye Caramba announces Kodak-branded smartphone lenses and ring light at IFA.

Edge Imaging. More consolidation in school photography land. Canada’s largest volume photography company Edge Imaging announced the acquisition of Added Touch Photo, the company’s first acquisition since being acquired by Walter Capital PartnersAdded Touch brings more than 70 accounts, primarily fall school photos, graduates, sports organizations, dance companies, and yearbooks in the Rockland/Ottawa area.

Facebook, Microsoft, and othersDeepfakes continue to get sneakier and make us think that doctored videos or photos are real. But how can we manage that issue? Facebook, Microsoft, the Partnership on AI coalition, and academics from seven universities have launched a contest to encourage better ways of detecting Deepfakes. (More about Deepfakes in our fireside chat session at Visual 1st with prof. Roman V. Yampolskiy, Director of the Cybersecurity Laboratory at the University of Louisville).

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Hans Hartman

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