The latest issue of Photo Imaging News International (May, 2017) reported on the Business Forum Imaging, Cologne, March 1-2 (or as we prefer to think of it, the ‘Imaging Business Forum’). One of the speakers was Alberto Spinelli, senior director Digital Services, Canon Europe, who gave an outline of the new markets in imaging in which Canon is moving to play a role.
The following is a slightly edited version of that report, with thanks to Don Franz and Photo Imaging News:
[At the Business Forum Imaging] Alberto Spinelli (pictured right) spoke about Lifecake (www.lifecake.com), a photo sharing service/app acquired by Canon in 2015 He also provided a separate presentation on The Canon Digital Services and Ecosystem Strategy.
Smartphone users new customers
He showed Infotrends data indicating that 357 billion images will be taken in European, Middle East and African countries during 2017 (326 billion on mobile phones, 31 billion on DSCs), rising to 419 billion in 2020 (395 billion on mobile phones, 24 billion on DSCs). Canon views the smartphone user as a new audience and a chance to connect various Canon devices.
Its ambition is to move from a company being centred on products to one centred on consumer behaviours and needs.
Canon’s consumer vision is ‘Enriching people’s lives through imaging experiences.’ The role of Digital (cloud) Services is to drive user engagement from cameras to printers.
A home for photos
Gartner forecasts that by 2020, 10 trillion photographs will ‘need a home.’ Those photos are moving to the cloud. In 2016, already 36 percent of households were storing images in the cloud, creating a real opportunity. Immediately after taking photos, consumers consider social media for sharing, but what about longer term?
Photos are deleted from phones to find room for more, and consumers do nothing with these photos. Pictures are scattered across many devices and services. Many sit on hard drives as files, not memories. However, intelligent systems to help finding memories are still in their infancy and existing tools / services are not well connected to the whole imaging ecosystem.
According to the September 2016 Infotrends study of Western European Photo printing behaviours:
– The use of smartphones will determine the future direction of the photo print market — 64 percent of people are printing photos on their smartphone at least occasionally (28 percent frequently);
– Most consumers do not print because they feel they have ‘no need’ for printing — educate and make it easier;
– The home is still the most preferred place for photo printing — more than 40 percent of photos printed from a mobile device are printed at home, on a printer, and 20 percent are printed from an online service with print delivered by mail.
One of the challenges of printing from the Cloud (using popular sharing apps) is a massive reduction in the printable size (resolution) of images. Canon put a high quality JPEG from an EOS 5D through multiple services and measured the printable image size that remained. WhatsApp lost 97.7 percent, Facebook lost 94 percent, Instagram lost 69 percent and Google Plus lost 67 percent.
Digital Services is focussed on engaging with millions of users around 3 main pillars, in which Canon can play a role: Capturing — Capture, Connect, Inspire, Learn; Remembering — Be Reminded, Find, Share, Organise; Creating — Printed Art, Digital Delights.
To achieve this, Canon acquired London-based startup Lifecake in April 2015, which was familiar with young children: ‘Relive amazing moments in your child’s life again and again by turning your phone into a time machine! Transform all your baby photos and videos into an amazing timeline, to take the whole family back in time.’ Ninety-eight percent of the photos uploaded to Lifecake come from smartphones.
Worldwide, mothers with young children are passionate printers.
Using Lifecake you can ‘favourite’, manage permissions (for both uploads and views) including private sharing, and can choose the print format as well as make photobooks (on Canon DreamLabo equipment) — with the app prompting consumers to print. Even though these HD books are expensive, the volume being printed is increasing, Alberto Spinelli noted.
The mobile version runs on iOS and Android and there is also a web version. Images are stored in the cloud for ‘real-time caching’. The frst 10GB of storage is free, and thereafter a charge of £20/€31 is required for additional storage. Lifecake runs competitions and is adding languages other than English
For consumers and hobbyists — quality-driven Canon shooters overwhelmed with photos — there is Canon Irista (www.irista.com). The Irista vision is to be the highest quality, most trusted home for images, surprising and immersing you in memories online and off, and helping you capture better ones.
It will provide:
– All your photos – from phone, tablet, computer, web and camera;
– In original quality and in one safe place that’s always at your fingertips;
– With duplicates removed and tags added automatically;
– Shared online as galleries and of?ine as HD printed products.
It will provide ‘reminders’ in three touchpoints: Screens, Print (photobooks made on Dreamlabo A4 landscape hardcover flat spread, lustre or glossy, 24-100 pages) and ‘Immersions’.
Irista is now being cross-promoted on packaging for Canon photographic products.
Canon teams are also working to develop a better ‘book building experience’, and a better experience with home printing. A ‘Virtual Reality engagement’ — with VR glasses — for reliving memories will accommodate ever-changing environments, highlight image quality and enable gallery viewings to anyone anywhere. These features are expected to be available towards the end of 2017.
Apps, such as the Canon Photo Companion to provide knowledge on how to use your device and advance photography skills, as well as tips for better photos are being introduced.
The new Canon ID is a global and unified User ID that works across all Canon channels and services, integrated with cameras and printers.
Initially, retailers have not been included, but Canon Digital Services is seeking to get retailers involved. Alberto asked the audience how Canon can help retailers.
– Photo Imaging News