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Kodak Kodak Extends Picture Maker Functionality (reads digicam memory cards!), Modularizes Design
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, February 23, 2002 - 17:14 EST)

Kodak announces new ordering and digital input modules, to extend the Picture Maker kiosk functionality.

By any measure, Kodak's Picture Maker self-serve printing kiosks are one of the success stories of the digital age. With something on the order of 21,000 installed units in the US, they've become a commonplace of American life.

Kodak has now announced two significant enhancements to the Picture Maker product, extending their reach further into the digital realm, providing connectivity not only to digital media, but to retailers' digital minilabs as well. In the process, the Picture Maker as been re-architected as a modular system, permitting a range of configurations to match the needs of individual retail locations.

Probably the most significant enhancement is what Kodak calls the "Picture Maker Digital Station," a unit that can accept a variety of digital media (flash memory cards, CDs, or floppy discs), allow basic image editing (crop/zoom, rotate, red-eye removal), and make 4x6 thermal prints.

The second newly-announced unit is the Order Station, apparently intended as an interface between the Picture Maker kiosk and a retailer's digital minilab. At the Order Station, users can browse through their images, select various ones for printing, and place orders to be fulfilled on the retailer's minilab.

The full-blown Picture Maker system, which now includes the digital input capabilities of the Digital Station, and the interface ability of the Order Station will now be marketed as the Picture Maker Print Station. Either of the lesser units can be upgraded to full Print Station status just by adding the necessary hardware units. (eg, film or print scanners, 8x10 thermal printer, etc.)

Perhaps the biggest news though, is that Kodak is opening up the Picture Maker platform to third-party development, announcing the Kodak Image Access Standard, an open architecture interface enabling connectivity to third-party equipment, Web sites and applications, and in-store print fulfillment. Depending on how well Kodak actually supports third-party development, this could be big news: The Picture Makers should represent a large and therefore attractive installed base of retail imaging kiosks with a proven customer base. (I emphasized the word "actually" above, because there will be many ways that the support could be less than stellar: Even if the engineering interface is superbly executed, easy to connect to, and well documented, there's a lot that could happen on the business front to either encourage or discourage third-party participation. Only time will tell, and this could either be a hugely significant announcement for retail imaging, or a on-event, depending on Kodak's ultimate handling of the opportunity.)

Read the Kodak press release below for further details on the Picture Maker enhancements.

Source: Kodak

Original Source Press Release:

Kodak Brings Innovation to the Category of Digital Print Kiosks

Modular, "Self Assist" Kodak Picture Maker Solutions Allow Retailers to Grow Digital Consumer Offerings, Capture Profit Potential

ORLANDO, Fla., February 23 - Eastman Kodak Company announced today an expanded family of digital Kodak Picture Maker solutions that will offer retailers the ability to extend consumer photo services and capture digital printing profit opportunities. As part of the new Picture Maker family, Kodak introduced the Picture Maker Digital Station, a low-cost kiosk that enables consumers to quickly and cost-effectively print photo quality Kodak pictures from digital camera media.

Kodak has reinvented its kiosk family with a simplified, modular approach that provides the flexibility retailers need to scale according to volume, grow high-margin consumer photo offerings, and connect these photo offerings to a variety of imaging equipment through a common hardware and software platform. Driven by a consistent consumer interface, the Picture Maker family includes three modular stations: the Picture Maker Order Station, Picture Maker Digital Station and Picture Maker Print Station.

The new Kodak Picture Maker family builds upon the continued success of Picture Maker, providing consumers with more imaging options and more access points to the world of Kodak picture services. Attractive to digital camera users, people in search of gift ideas and those who want to be more creative with their pictures, each station in the Kodak Picture Maker family enables a wide range of new consumer applications.

"Retailers have a tremendous opportunity with the new Kodak Picture Maker family to offer consumers an expanded range of do-it-yourself picture solutions that will continue to drive repeat traffic to the retail environment and generate profit," said Bernie Perrine, General Manager and Vice President, Output, Consumer Imaging, Kodak. "With this announcement, Kodak is expanding the market reach of Picture Maker and widening the placement potential for the Picture Maker family - now anywhere people want access to Kodak picture services."

The new Kodak Picture Maker family represents a significant shift in Kodak's approach to picture kiosks as the Picture Maker software platform will be enhanced by the Kodak Image Access Standard, an open architecture interface that enables connectivity to third party developed equipment, Web sites and applications, and in-store print fulfillment; providing retailers with greater choice in the products and services they can offer to their consumers.

To support the new portfolio, Kodak has recently launched an aggressive advertising campaign to drive consumer awareness of the Picture Maker brand. The advertising campaign delivered a 30 percent lift on average for retailers with Kodak Picture Maker in the fourth quarter of 2001, and the campaign will continue with a strong television media schedule throughout 2002.

The Expanded Kodak Picture Maker Family

Kodak invented the photo kiosk category in 1994 leveraging the convergence of imaging science and information technology to launch its Picture Maker kiosk. Since that time, Kodak has placed more than 21,000 kiosks in the U.S. market and grown print volume to record levels behind strong advertising and marketing campaigns. Kodak is now leveraging its photo kiosk expertise and strong Picture Maker brand recognition to expand its portfolio, meet new channel needs, and drive new consumer applications.

The expanded Picture Maker family starts with the Order Station, which enables consumers to preview and select their analog or digital images and print them to a retailer's on-site digital lab system. If a retailer wants the ability to have their customer print digital images in just minutes, they can upgrade their Order Station to a Digital Station by adding a 4x6 printer. If their customer has a need to scan and print images up to 8x10, a retailer can upgrade to a fully featured Print Station by adding a flatbed scanner and Kodak Photo Printer 8110. Each of these products in the Picture Maker family can be purchased individually, or a retailer can upgrade from one to the next as their business needs change.

Kodak Picture Maker Order Station

The Kodak Picture Maker Order Station is the next generation of Kodak's current Preview and Select service. For the consumer, it opens up a variety of imaging choices, giving them the opportunity to preview and select their analog or digital images and have them fulfilled onsite through the retailer's digital lab. The Order Station features a touch-screen monitor that allows users to view thumbnails of their pictures, zoom and crop, reduce red-eye and adjust brightness.

Kodak Picture Maker Digital Station

With a speed of 25-seconds per print, the Kodak Picture Maker Digital Station will allow consumers to print from digital memory cards, CDs, or floppy disks with JPEG images - faster than ever before. Consumers can simply walk up to this kiosk and insert their memory cards, CD or floppy disk, and gain access to a touch-screen monitor with an intuitive user interface. It accepts the most common memory card formats, including CompactFlash, Smart Media cards, Memory Stick, MMC, as well as other formats through common PCMCIA adapters. The Picture Maker Digital Station allows consumers to zoom/crop, eliminate red-eye, adjust colors and print photo-quality 4x6 thermal prints on to top quality Kodak paper. It also allows consumers to write images to a Kodak Picture CD. When the consumer is finished, they will have the option to pay for the entire transaction by credit card.

Kodak Picture Maker Print Station

As the full service member of the Kodak Picture Maker family, the Print Station brings all the functionality of the Order Station and Digital Station to the original Picture Maker. Offering reprints and enlargements up to 8x10 from original prints (without the need for negatives), consumers can make great pictures from almost any source even better in just 5 minutes. And consumers can print these pictures to a wide variety of digital printers, enabling high-volume and unique format printing in-store.

The Picture Maker Print Station accepts original prints, film negatives, CD, floppy, or digital media and offers popular edit and enhancement features. Its newly enhanced digital media printing capability makes it easier and faster than ever before to print digital camera images or write them to a Kodak Picture CD. It will also enable consumers to preview and select their favorite digital images, and print them at the kiosk or at the retailer's digital lab.

Benefits to the Retailer

With the world's largest installed base of digital picture kiosks, Kodak is leveraging its industry expertise to help retailers maximize the profit potential of Picture Maker. There are currently more than 21,000 Picture Makers in use in the United States and over 35,000 in use worldwide.

In addition, high consumer satisfaction and repeat usage of Kodak Picture Maker generates significant profitability for the retailer. In a 2001 Kodak Picture Maker consumer usage study, 86 percent of Picture Maker users said they would definitely use Picture Maker again in the future. Repeat users say that they have used Picture Maker 6.2 times in the past 12 months.

The new additions to the Picture Maker family are expected to contribute to this retailer profitability. Kodak found through its trade test markets that consumers picked their favorite photos and printed the equivalent of a traditional photofinishing order each time they used the new Picture Maker Digital Station, helping retailers to quickly capture output profit from the growth of digital camera use.

For retailers, the benefits of the Picture Maker family are clear:

Strong kiosk expertise and a strong brand name
Significant marketing and advertising investment to drive consumer demand
Software designed to meet the changing needs of today's consumer
Solutions that can grow with a retailer's business needs
Connectivity to on-site and on-line products and services
World class service and support

Industry Accolades for Kodak Picture Maker

In January 2002, Photo Trade News (PTN) awarded Kodak Picture Maker the winner in the photo kiosk category as part of the publication's 2001 Top Products of the Year. The annual PTN readership poll recognizes the top products of the year in over 20 categories that have driven consumer excitement and business profitability.

Eastman Kodak Company and infoimaging

Kodak is the leader in helping people take, share, enhance, preserve, print and enjoy pictures -- for memories, for information, for entertainment. The company is a major participant in "infoimaging" -- a $225 billion industry composed of devices (digital cameras and PDAs), infrastructure (online networks and delivery systems for images) and services & media (software, film and paper enabling people to access, analyze and print images). Kodak harnesses its technology, market reach and a host of industry partnerships to provide innovative products and services for customers who need the information-rich content that images contain, such as Kodak Picture Maker. The company, with sales last year of $13.2 billion, is organized into four major businesses: Photography, providing consumers, professionals and cinematographers with digital and traditional products and services; Commercial Imaging, offering image capture, output and storage products and services to businesses and government; Components, delivering flat-panel displays, optics and sensors to original equipment manufacturers; and Health, supplying the healthcare industry with traditional and digital image capture and output products and services.

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