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04-19-2021, 08:22 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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Ricoh's Road to a Great Transformation in '360 Degree Cameras' | Toyo Keizai Online

'The total number of digital cameras shipped in 2020 was 42% lower than the previous year, which was a big blow due to Corona. On the other hand, the total sales volume of Theta from April to December 2020 increased by about 20 to 30% from the previous year. Behind this strong performance is the capture of corporate demand.'

The full report from Toyo Keizai, Google translated:


04-19-2021, 08:35 AM   #2
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Thanks for posting.

Great news. The market for 360 degrees cameras becomes more and more crowded, but Ricoh seems to be holding ground?

Reminds me I should take out my Theta Z1 more often. I think I didn't even upgrade to the latest firmware...

Wim
04-19-2021, 08:46 AM   #3
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My Z1 had six months of vacation. I am glad it will be over soon.
04-19-2021, 09:33 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ishpuini Quote
Thanks for posting.

Great news. The market for 360 degrees cameras becomes more and more crowded, but Ricoh seems to be holding ground?

Reminds me I should take out my Theta Z1 more often. I think I didn't even upgrade to the latest firmware...

Wim
Perhaps that is the result of aiming this camera as a business solution, amongst others, for real estate businesses. And it is also a very nice camera for us, who are interested in panoramic pictures. Clever product, it is.

04-19-2021, 02:38 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Mark II Quote
Perhaps that is the result of aiming this camera as a business solution, amongst others, for real estate businesses. (...)
It's explained in Toyo Keizai's article:

'What sets Theta apart from other products is its ability to tap into business applications.

A recent example is the popularity of virtual tours, which allow users to view a room or a shop from any perspective, filmed with a Theta. A notable example is real estate. It is often used for viewing rooms which the coronavirus has made it difficult to visit in person. It has the advantage of being able to show more concretely the position of indoor equipment and the layout of the rooms, which cannot be conveyed only by photos and videos of the property posted on a website.

To encourage people to use the Theta for these purposes, Ricoh launched THETA 360.biz, a cloud service that facilitates the creation and publication of virtual tours, in 2014. Most recently, in response to increased demand due to coronavirus, the company launched a series of cloud services, including the RICOH360 Project (starting in November 2020), which streamlines the sharing of information on construction sites.

THETA 360.biz offers a usage plan that includes the Theta itself, starting at ¥10,000 per month depending on the number of published contents. The number of new contracts in 2020 increased by 50% year-on-year. In addition to real estate, THETA 360.biz is also being used in other industries, including apparel and car dealerships.

In January this year, Ricoh launched a trial service in which AI (artificial intelligence) automatically arranges CG furniture in a room in a 360° image. Real estate agents who have experienced this service say that it has increased the number of visitors to their websites and that it can intuitively convey the image of a room with furniture.

Ricoh understand the business concerns of their customers through sales of multifunctional copiers, and provide digital services suited to a wide range of industries, including real estate, construction and nursing care. This was the background behind the progress in the development of Theta applications.

In the past, 360-degree cameras were mainly aimed at consumers, but around 2017, the market saw a slowdown in growth due to challenges in how to use them and how to enjoy them in the first place. In 2018, however, there was a noticeable increase in corporate demand for 360-degree cameras for their own use.

According to Hitoshi Fujiki, deputy director of the Smart Vision business unit, which is responsible for Theta, "From that time on, we quickly accelerated the expansion of Theta's functionality". In addition to the hardware, they explored ways of using the camera that were not possible with conventional cameras, both inside and outside Ricoh, and developed a sales strategy based on the intended use and purpose.

They also worked with external services such as Google. Some of the Theta models are equipped with the Android operating system, which can be used to add new functions such as automatic blurring of people's faces. These plug-ins can be developed not only by Ricoh, but also by other companies and individuals, and can be shared on Ricoh's website.
'
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