Editor’s Notebook: The Imaging Shift at CES 2018

Editor’s Notebook: The Imaging Shift at CES 2018

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DIR-January-10-2018-Issue-Cover

As I once again roam the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center at CES, I notice a not-so-subtle shift on the imaging side of consumer electronics.

The usual suspects are making it big in the LVCC’s Central Hall, but some are presenting with a different focus.

Jerry-Grossman-cropped-7-2016
Jerry Grossman

Canon continues its “Visionary” strategy from last year, having very little to do with imaging products and lots to do with Canon-based technologies. Robert Pignataro, director of Strategic Business Development at Canon, described the strategy as a move to find new partners that can grow their dreams, while at the same time finding additional avenues for Canon products. “We’ve opened the door for potential partnerships from around the world.”

Moreover, Sony Electronics has upped its game once again. It is bringing a central focus to cameras and lenses in its always-impressive booth. Their confidence is evident in the broad array of products on display. They just seem proud of what they’re accomplishing.

Nikon continues to stand firmly behind its heritage, with a notable array of speakers and presenters, including astronaut Scott Kelly. But it is also demonstrating its new robotic technology—Mark Roberts Motion Control. MRMC is a Nikon Group Company in which they’ve invested. It’s safe to say that Nikon understands the challenge and is clearly stepping up with a diversification strategy that takes the best of their imaging heritage to a new level, especially in video production.

I also had a very nice chat with Dan Unger over at the Panasonic booth. He is very bullish on their photo products, including the new Lumix GH5S hybrid mirrorless camera. It was great to hear Panasonic’s commitment to the imaging category.

I was also impressed with the VR (virtual reality) section in the South Hall, where CES finally gave future imaging technologies an organized space. Companies like Humaneyes Technologies and Kodak PixPro are focusing on the commercial aspects of their products. Perhaps they realize that mass consumer adoption may still be a few years away. That’s not to say there is not a viable business out there for 360º-capable and VR products.

Drones also continue to make their play, but it’s safe to say their consumer photo applications are still years away. However, photo retailers should take note and embrace these products. If done well, they will present strong profit opportunities to commercial customers.

The Shift

My overall take: CES 2018 is less about imaging every year. However, if you’re into smart homes, entertainment systems and the future of the future, this is a great place to hang out.

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