This year’s PMA Australia Hot Picks wins at The Digital Show were mainly shared among the ‘second-tier’, business-to-business exhibitors at The Digital Show, underscoring just how critical these companies are for the profitiablility of photo specialist retailing in this country.
While there were quite a few new camera releases, such as the Olumpus OM-D, The Pentax K-01 and the Nikon D3200, the criteria for Hot Picks is to seek out products which will contribute to a retailers’ profitiability, and the judges found these high-profit products mainly away from the mainstream offerings, some for stocking as accessories, and others for use in store to assist in selling.
The top six Hot Picks, condensed down from a list of 22 after passionate debate among the retailer judging panel on Friday afternoon at the show, led by Bill McCurry.
Bolle iPhone Printer (Australian Photographic Supplies);
Epson Interactive Projector/Board;
Eye Fi Pro Memory Card ( CR Kennedy);
Ez Share Memory Card (Photo Direct);
Topaz Software (Topaz Labs, US);
io Shutter (Kayell – invented by James Madelin from NZ, who also invented the Orbis ring flash)
The fact that two wireless memory cards were nominated reflects the fact that there is pent-up demand in the local marketplace. This is compounded by the current demand from consumers for greater connectivity from dedicated cameras. While Eye-Fi cards from the US have been available for years in other markets, they have only just now arrived here. Ez Share cards from Chinese manufacturer LZeal Information Technology take advantage of the Secure Digital Association’s recent release of an industry standard for wireless memory cards.
It’s also interesting to note that another two of the top six are iPhone-related – the io Shutter converts an iPhone into a remote shutter release for professional and enthusiast cameras, while the Bolle iPhone printer produces prints directly from an iPhone via a built-in docking unit. (The interest in this printer at the show makes a nonsense of assertions that the iPhone generation doesn’t want hard copy!)
The Epson EB-455Wi ultra-short throw interactive projector/pen is a contemporary alternative to a whiteboard and projector for educational and business use.
Topaz offers a bundle of enhancement, special effects and correction plug-ins for Photoshop.
The ultimate six winners were drawn from a larger group of nominations from the participating retailer/reporters.
Looxcie Video Cam (Contour Meeco Sales) – hands-free video camera;
Tamron A007 24-70mm VC f/2.8 lens (Maxwell International);
Google+ Hangout (Nikon Australia);
Microsoft Surface (Fujifilm) – ‘coffee-table’ format touch screen technology applied to creating photo books, etc;
Go Cam Waterproof Camcorder (Tasco) – a competitively-priced Go Pro alternative for the photo specialist channel);
HD720P Eyewear Video Reader (Tasco);
B Grip and Holster (Protog);
Hoodman foldable spectacle frames (Camera Electronic); – each lens swings up so that you can move lens up for your shooting eye and leave lens down for tracking eye;
Kaiser Baas iPad Photo Scanner (Kaiser Baas);
mCAM iPhone aluminium sheath/grip for improved video/stills shooting (Camera Electronic);
My Tego smartphone/device skins (Photo Direct);
Aerobot flying camera harnesses (Aerobot);
Black Dye Sublimation Mug (Nova Sublimation Australia);
iPhone Vacuum Press (Nova Sublimation);
Digiframe in-store Floor/Display Panels (Digiframe);
Fuji 3D Maker (Fujifilm) Australia, Stand 53.
‘Special thanks go to Bill McCurry of McCurry Associates for his passionate support and coordination of the Hot Picks program, as well as Alan Logue of Hutt Street Photos and the team of industry reporters who made the whole PMA Retailer Hotpicks 2012 program so successful,’ said Peter Rose, director, Australian activities, PMA.