“It’s the appropriate time to embrace new technologies”

says Puneet Dutta, director of Professional Printing Products Group, Canon India, in conversation with Varsha Verma from Print & Publishing.

It is important for the printers to rediscover themselves as change is important in any industry. Competition is not amongst themselves; but people are competing with oneself. They have to look forward to innovations and embrace the new technologies, said Puneet Dutta, director of Professional Printing Products Group, Canon India.

Puneet DuttaFrom offset to digital – partners in transition… “Canon would like to play a significant role in this change. We would like to be with the industry and make them comfortable in the change. We want to partner with them in the challenges they face,” shared Puneet, who is also upbeat about the success stories of organisations like Replika and Sanat Printers – wherein Canon partnered with them through the journey of implementation.

“We were with them in every step of implementation and helped them overcome the challenges,” he said. “It’s not just about changing printing set-up, but pre-press also goes through a transition. They also need to invest in different skilled manpower, people with know-how of a digital printing machine.” “Infact, as long as printers can find partners for change and ready to go through the pain of migration, success is inevitable. It might look a slow tedious process but it works,” told Puneet enthusiastically.

Photo printing in India – huge market!

Talking about the photo printing market, Puneet said that it is entirely different in India than most of the countries. Though in Europe and US, this segment is going down, but in India, it has a huge scope. “As long as population is increasing in India, with 50 percent of the population being below 25 years of age, the market is huge. With sheer number of mass population and unique marriage functions, this market is bound to grow,” he added.

On asking about the market size, Puneet replied that though it is difficult to estimate numbers but Canon believes that it is around Rs 3000 cr industry, including photo labs, albums, silver halide pictures and of course digital. And that’s not all. With the new government in place in India and with lot of emphasis on tourism, he feels that both domestic as well as international tourism would add to the photo market and people like to print their memories for future recall and with digital giving them an option to add anecdotes and notations, the memories become priceless. That’s a value-addition to the customer.

Canon DreamLabo 5000 In 2012, Canon launched the first professional photo printer – DeamLabo 5000 with a highest resolution of 2400 × 1200 dpi. “Our customers call it high-definition (HD) print,” laughed Puneet. Delivering a new standard of combined photo and text quality together with high productivity, the DreamLabo offers the production photo printing market a viable alternative to silver halide technology, which is set to revitalize the photo printing market in the country. In addition, through opportunities possible from premium quality, it offers both the production photo and the small batch premium print-on-demand (POD) markets with substantial new revenue opportunities. The first DreamLabo 500 in South Asia has been installed at GK Vale, a 100 year old photo lab in Bangalore.

The DreamLabo 5000 features a newly developed high-density print head, enabling over 300 mm wide printing output. Incorporating Canon's FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) technology, the print head enables the printing of high-quality photos and detailed text to support a variety of high-value-added output, from premium photo albums, photo books, photo calendars, photo collages and other merchandise to high-quality POD items, such as bespoke brochures.

The wide print head delivers high-speed One-Pass Printing, requiring only a single pass of the printing paper while the print head remains in a fixed position. When used in combination with the automatic Doublesided Printing function, the DreamLabo 5000 is capable of printing A4 size print approx.1,000 page and 4x6 single print approx. 2,300 page per hour.

“DreamLabo 5000 uses a sevencolour dye-based ink system that delivers smooth gradation. Employing image processing technology that makes use of the full range of Canon's unique inkjet printing colour gamut, the new printer enables the output of photo images with a level of colour representation comprehensively surpasses that of conventional silver halide,” added Puneet.

On asking about the price range, Puneet revealed that it is a high-end machine, costing Rs 3.5-4 cr. “It is a production workhorse, wherein you can combine volumes and print in one go. Moreover, it is environment-friendly,” he added as a matter of fact. “There have been a lot of inquiries from various customers, especially from south India.”

On software support…

“Canon offers various levels of software support and it depends upon how customer wants to use it. Customers can use their existing software of colour correction and file generation. Canon offers various software development kits which have an open platform for various functionalities, giving the customer an option to integrate how much they want to,” he told.

On media…

As the quality of printing depends upon the quality of media used, Canon also supplies high-quality inkjet media which gives premium print quality.

Marketing strategy…

So, how is Canon reaching out to its prospective customers? “We have a two-pronged strategy wherein we are targeting crème de la crème of photolabs as well as we are reaching out to the photographers. We participate in exhibitions and conduct workshops to display HD print quality,” replied Puneet.

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