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    « Cheap versus Free | Main

    October 28, 2010

    If It Can Be Digital...It Will Be Digital

    When Antionio M. Perez was hired as the CEO of Kodak he noticed the offices were full of signs that said "Expand the Benefits of Film".  He asked a room full of film factory workers how many had digital cameras at home.  About 40% raised their hand.  He quickly changed the signs to "If it Can be Digital...It Wll be Digital".

    Every industry that had an analog base is moving quickly to a digital base.  If you are in AEC reprographics you are determining how to provide more digital services.  Some are moving towards display graphics because of their competency in wide format printing.  This may be a smart move or may not.  Time will tell.  One thing is certain is that world will go digital also.  If you are providing display graphics you are in the marketing and advertising ecosystem.  

    O'Hare2 Here is a picture I snapped yesterday in Chicago O'Hare airport.  Notice the sign hanging to the left.  Notice the large LCD screen to the right of it.  I was watching people at a restaurant nearby and I noticed that people were watching the LCD screen.  An LCD screen can display multiple advertisements.  The owner of the screen can charge more money for more frequent advertisements, or more money for certain times of the day.  They could even charge a fee to advertise during certain infrequent and unpredictable events such as a winter storm when everyone is trapped at the airport.  Do you even need the hanging printed sign?  The point to this is as Perez said.  It will be digital.  If you are moving into the display graphics business you should ask the question whether you are going into the display graphics business of the advertising business.  How long will the print business last before it goes to more digital than print.  If you want to play in that market then what staff, skills, know-how, technology, and partnerships do you need to acquire be successful in that business.  


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    Joel Salus

    In one respect, your article is "right on", "if it can be digital, then it will be digital." To me, the key word is "eventually." There are, right now, and there will be, in the future, opportunities to generate sales and profits from display graphics services. There are applications that don't, or, because of cost and other factors, won't, lend themselves to "display" on electronic screens. The "short run" digital (printed) display graphics market is very much alive and, IMHO, will be for many years to come. I do, however, think that "long-run" display graphics work will begin to decline as larger advertisers and retailers make the decision to invest in and use "electronic displays" to display their messages. Although prices have declined over the past 10 years for printed short-run display graphics printing, margins are still good, especially when compared to margins earned on large-format black & white CAD printing. In addition, if the reprographer has "retail" locations, those retail locations are the perfect place to lure into the reprographer's shop customers who are users of printed display graphics services. I don't believe that "now" is the time to get out of, or not get into, display graphics color services. I'm sure my opinion on this will be different five and ten years from now.


    Dead on John, why not use the iPad instead of plans. It's a bit fragile for the AEC market for site use, but for collaborative share and review - dynamite. Its time to watch Minority Report again and forget about the plot and look at the technology. Tech futurists have got it right - and so does Mr. Perez.

    Dale Carlin

    I have seen over the summer in my city large drive by billboards are being replaced with digital signage. The questions also begs how long will it take to replace and/or remove billboards that can advertise as you mentioned more ads. Minus the printing and labor to replace a printed sign/ad each other week may also make more sense to do this quicker for the billboard companies of the world.

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