What does the digital-imaging marketplace have in store for printers in 2008? Read on to find out what you may see in the coming year.
By Tim Greene
We think this is more of an issue in Europe than it is in the US at the start of 2008, but there are many indicators that digital signage is seeing wider market acceptance, and that will impact certain segments of the printing industry. When I look at some of the long list of retailers that are either using, launching, or piloting some type of digital signage system, I see companies like Adecco (UK), Borders (US), Hilton Hotels (US), Harrod’s (UK), Liberty Travel (US), McDonald’s Restaurants (US) Muvico (US), Pathmark (US), Subway Restaurants (US), Wal-Mart (US), and many more.
I see that this trend is cutting across vertical segments and across international borders and will have an impact in the US market in 2008 for applications like point-of-purchase graphics. It also should be noted that the digital-signage industry now has its own industry group, the Digital Signage Association, that will work to raise the profile of successful digital-signage implementations around the world.
The year ahead
I find it an interesting and fun exercise to try to predict what will happen in the year ahead, especially in a dynamic market like wide-format digital printing. (For the record, I shot about 65% with my predictions in 2007). I believe the fruition of the predictions that I have specified in this article represent both opportunities and threats for printing establishments in the US.
My final prediction for this article is that in 2008 printing organizations will continuously hear analysts and consultants in this industry stress the idea of moving beyond just selling print and becoming more of a partner to customers by using creativity to maximize their investments. I agree wholeheartedly with that analysis, because with growing competition from an expanding installed base of wide-format printers on the print-for-pay side, and a growing installed base of wideformat printers within organizations—or what I call the print-for-use market— I believe it will be increasingly difficult to compete on a cost-per-square-foot basis. The most successful printing establishments will be those that become extensions of their clients’ marketing organizations, offering marketing solutions that may include traditional design, print, converting, finishing, and installation services, but may also include preparation or management of content for digital signage systems.
Tim Greene has worked at InfoTrends (formerly known as CAP Ventures) since 1997 and been the director of InfoTrends’ Wide Format Printing Consulting Service since 2001. He is responsible for developing worldwide forecasts of the wide-format- printing market and conducting primary and secondary research. Greene holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Northeastern University. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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