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01-14-2021, 04:40 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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Digitalization, still a long way to go

As everyone knows, Covid-19 involved a lot of changes, with, more and more working in a home office setting, the replacement of face to face communications by tele-communications (e.g via webcam) for workers who can, and the accelerated virtualization of product exhibitions, for instance CES. Interestingly, when CES was "physical", we could find nice reports to read about various novel products shown at the exhibition; report from people who actually went to the exhibition and reported to others who couldn't go. This year, CES was virtualized, and with the exception of a few product ads, I didn't see any exhibition report summing up what happened at CES. Has anyone noticed the same thing? Will CP+ be virtual and without the traditional reports? We will see. But , to me , it seems that virtualization is a new thing, and still a long way to go to become as enjoyable as the real physical exhibition thing.


Last edited by biz-engineer; 01-14-2021 at 04:47 AM.
01-14-2021, 06:58 AM   #2
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I've noticed the same thing with online conferences. In person most of the interesting talks happen over the snacks and coffee anyway (which is the best part about the conferences and missing from online versions), and person-to-person interaction is far, far livelier than showing a poster on your screen with terrible resolution and small figures, where people are basically half-listening half-working on other stuff...
Talks and lectures are also much less engaging when it's online.
01-14-2021, 07:13 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Virtual meetings take practice to make them work. I’ve found over the years that they can be improved and made engaging but it isn’t easy. The rapid pace of adoption certainly leaves growing pains.
01-14-2021, 07:13 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Agreed! I see two vast gaps in the virtualization of trade shows for physical products.

1. There are no good consumer haptic interfaces that would let you feel the heft of a new camera body, experience the fit of the grip in the fingers, check the stiffness of the e-dials, feel the texture of the body materials, or confirm the pressure levels needed to trigger AF and then fire the shutter. (Heck, even the research labs probably don't have good enough haptic interfaces to replicate holding/operating a camera.)

2. Virtualization usually means canned demos which means the company decides what you see and what you don't. An in-person exhibition lets you poke around, check out the menus, play with the modes, etc. You get to see if the product can do what you want it to do, not want the company's marketing people think you want it to do.


That said, I've often wondered whether exhibiting companies really profit from events like CES or CP+ or whether they simply fear not showing up because all their competitors will be there. I'm sure the sales people for trade shows play up the fear-of-missing-out angle a lot. In many ways, events like CES seem more about competing on marketing, not on products. This COVID-induced break from trade shows will probably give companies a chance to see if missing the show really causes any substantive loss of business.

There seem to be more targeted ways for companies to get new products in the hands of product-reviewing, bloggers/vloggers/instagrammians than dropping a bunch of cash on a CES booth, buckets of swag, and some Las Vegas booth babes. But the new ways won't be the same as the old ways.

01-14-2021, 09:28 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Agreed! I see two vast gaps in the virtualization of trade shows for physical products.

1. There are no good consumer haptic interfaces that would let you feel the heft of a new camera body, experience the fit of the grip in the fingers, check the stiffness of the e-dials, feel the texture of the body materials, or confirm the pressure levels needed to trigger AF and then fire the shutter. (Heck, even the research labs probably don't have good enough haptic interfaces to replicate holding/operating a camera.)
Right, and I'm not going to hold my breath waiting to see that happening!
QuoteQuote:

2. Virtualization usually means canned demos which means the company decides what you see and what you don't. An in-person exhibition lets you poke around, check out the menus, play with the modes, etc. You get to see if the product can do what you want it to do, not want the company's marketing people think you want it to do.
Right again----and the presenter makes a huge difference as well: language being the first issue.
QuoteQuote:


That said, I've often wondered whether exhibiting companies really profit from events like CES or CP+ or whether they simply fear not showing up because all their competitors will be there.
Not to mention all the visitors ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over the size of this booth versus that one, never mind the products. And then talking about it at DPR....(guilty!)
QuoteQuote:
I'm sure the sales people for trade shows play up the fear-of-missing-out angle a lot. In many ways, events like CES seem more about competing on marketing, not on products.
A very perceptive comment, and I think very true.
QuoteQuote:
This COVID-induced break from trade shows will probably give companies a chance to see if missing the show really causes any substantive loss of business.
You bet it will! And municipalities that have spent oodles on convention centers are in for a cold shower.
QuoteQuote:

There seem to be more targeted ways for companies to get new products in the hands of product-reviewing, bloggers/vloggers/instagrammians than dropping a bunch of cash on a CES booth, buckets of swag, and some Las Vegas booth babes. But the new ways won't be the same as the old ways.
I've been arguing this for a long time. I think Pentax's marketing problems are much less budget related than imagination related.
01-14-2021, 12:34 PM   #6
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Someone should be given the task to watch / attends all the video sessions of the virtual show, and then make a summary of the virtual exhibition for us, so that we don't have to watch all videos.
01-14-2021, 01:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Someone should be given the task to watch / attends all the video sessions of the virtual show, and then make a summary of the virtual exhibition for us, so that we don't have to watch all videos.
Maybe. But the point is to get a personal perspective. It’s not the same but a summary is always appreciated.

01-15-2021, 12:40 AM   #8
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I used to work in sales and marketing for a big electronic company, we did all the shows relevant to our business and I would say, and did at the time, that they were a huge waste of cash.
By the time we had designed a stand, built it, manned it, removed it and gone home we could easily have spent half a million, more for some shows.
I never saw sales come out of trade shows and mostly the PR stuff like ‘abc corporation signs massive deal at trade show’ were either deals that had gone down already ahead of the show or were pure fiction.
We even deep faked product at shows to make it seem stuff worked when in fact it didnt.

When I was a grubbing sales person every few months we would get a bag of trade show leads and be asked to call all of the leads collected at trade shows. I never made a single sale of these leads and never knew any salesperson who did. Usually they were tyre kickers or the office junior on a free day out of the office.

Why bother ? Paranoia, the fear that if you didnt show up people will assume you are going bust or have exited the sector.
01-15-2021, 01:02 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astro-Baby Quote
I used to work in sales and marketing for a big electronic company, we did all the shows relevant to our business and I would say, and did at the time, that they were a huge waste of cash.
By the time we had designed a stand, built it, manned it, removed it and gone home we could easily have spent half a million, more for some shows.
I never saw sales come out of trade shows and mostly the PR stuff like ‘abc corporation signs massive deal at trade show’ were either deals that had gone down already ahead of the show or were pure fiction.
We even deep faked product at shows to make it seem stuff worked when in fact it didnt.

When I was a grubbing sales person every few months we would get a bag of trade show leads and be asked to call all of the leads collected at trade shows. I never made a single sale of these leads and never knew any salesperson who did. Usually they were tyre kickers or the office junior on a free day out of the office.

Why bother ? Paranoia, the fear that if you didnt show up people will assume you are going bust or have exited the sector.
'We' (the company) have also found that over the last year/year and a half. There were very few, if any, leads that seemed to come from international trade shows (not electronics, fwiw) and usually they were outweighed by visas/travel/equipment/stand costs/exhibitors costs/shipping goods/hotels/more travel/food expenses. The result is that 'we' will not be attending any trade shows in the immediate future to assess any value they had over previous years' sales and take it from there.
01-15-2021, 01:09 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Agreed! I see two vast gaps in the virtualization of trade shows for physical products.

1. There are no good consumer haptic interfaces that would let you feel the heft of a new camera body, experience the fit of the grip in the fingers, check the stiffness of the e-dials, feel the texture of the body materials, or confirm the pressure levels needed to trigger AF and then fire the shutter. (Heck, even the research labs probably don't have good enough haptic interfaces to replicate holding/operating a camera.).
This is an interesting comment, in bold. Massive tangent alert: would haptics have a place in photography?
You could have,
(a) haptic for shutter press - some people would want more feedback, some less, some more at half-press (rhyme alert also)?
(b) haptic for locking focus/focus confirmation?
(c) haptic for frame buffer clearing?
(d) haptic for mirrorless cameras to simulate shutter fire when using electronic shutter only?

I wonder if the consumer tech biggie Sony might look at that. Their PS5 controller is being regarded as a large step forwards in haptics, simulating environmental differences (walking on sand in game vs walking on grass vs walking on gravel), so I don't think it'd be that huge a step forward. Similarly (albeit, lightly) Apple did come a long way with their haptic haptic scrolling and haptic button presses/'force touch' on their iPhones and Macbooks... It'd all make silent shooting quite an enjoyable experience, in the case of either wedding, street or wildlife photographers. Minimal sound and maximum feedback.
01-15-2021, 03:21 AM   #11
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I think what happens in post-COVID world will depend on what other companies are doing. Eventually things will go away from being virtual and if Canon and Sony have displays, it'll be awfully hard for Fuji and Nikon to decide that it is wasted money (which it might very well be).

(So often companies do what their competition is doing, even if it isn't particularly a good idea).
01-15-2021, 06:58 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I've been in a virtual conference/exhibit event all week.. all online. Whole new experience for me.

What worked great:

The talks were delivered over Zoom, and they had a Slack channel for discusson about the talk - so easy for questions from the audience, plus once the talk was done, people could continue discussing in Slack afterward - kinda like how everyone mobs the speaker at the end of a real presentation. This went on for days, and people interested in the topic got to know each other well.
You could also visit multiple talks or keep an eye on the chatter in more than one, to learn a bit more.

What worked poorly:
The poor exhibitors can't see who is visiting the virtual booth. No advice someone was browsing their spot at the virtual fair.
Lack of eye contact - sometimes you'll see an old friend or a curious person - but you can't connect.
No "water cooler chat" or "go our for dinner" as a small group.

Overall it has been a fun experience. But hard on the exhibitors.
01-15-2021, 05:29 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
it'll be awfully hard for Fuji and Nikon to decide that it is wasted money (which it might very well be).
For Nikon yes, they have been "up there" and seem to think they are still there.They have to spend the $ to save face.

Not for Fuji,they are playing a different game.
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