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News:

March 8, 2019

Business Forum Imaging Cologne 2019: A more intelligent approach to the customer

The Business Forum Imaging Cologne 2019 has taken up the trends of photokina 2018 and addressed them in more depth: new devices make it possible to preserve that which was previously invisible. Artificial intelligence identifies motifs, points out new paths through the flood of images and enables the design of fascinating image worlds that can be combined with other media to create unprecedented results. That not only expands the possibilities of classic photography, but also leads to new applications for imaging technologies. Images are being assigned an increasingly important role as a universal means of communication.  Around 200 industry experts and representatives, specialist traders and service providers discussed the consequences of these developments for the imaging business of today and tomorrow in Cologne. In addition to established companies from the industry like Canon, Cewe and Fujifilm, digital and mobile pioneers like Google and LG Electronics also presented themselves on the stage.


David Montanya (European Product Manager, Mobile Communications, LG Electronics) showed how the new smartphones  from  LG Electronics and the ThinQ platform  are raising smartphone photography to a new level thanks to high quality optics, a higher level of computing power and artificial intelligence (AI). Thorsten Tourbier (head of Marketing, allcop)  presented the strategic backgrounds of the first image product  with which customers can order images directly from WhatsApp. Together with the drugstore chain dm, allcop launched the product at the end of 2018 and is now able to share initial experiences with instruments like the smart chatbot Zoé  and the reactions of customers.

Manfred Rau (head of Marketing at Fujifilm Imaging Products and Solutions/Fujifilm Imaging Systems) focused his presentation on the irreplaceable role of the human being in photography - despite pioneering developments in artificial intelligence, which the industry must utilise. In the panel discussion with Ziv Gillat (Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Mobile, Athenthech), Sofi Shvets (CEO & co-founder of Let‘s Enhance.io), Philipp Mühlbauer (co-founder & Managing Director, Picanova) and  Qian Lin (Distinguished Technologist, HP), the topic was how imaging companies can motivate to not forget their visual content, but instead to use it. All too often, the flood of images and videos end up in the digital shoe box, although the possibilities for processing and use are also nearly limitless today.

Traditionally, impulses for the stationary specialised trade have been provided on the second day. Successful measures, frequent errors, government funding: André Hunziker, founder and CEO von PNA International, showed how digitalisation means more sales and more freedom. The specially developed IT platform  "loadbee" brings the multimedia  information of manufacturers not only to the online shops of the traders in real time, but also to the stationary PoS.  Marc Mombauer (PR Manager, loadbee) demonstrated how "loadbee" enables consistent product communication for customers and sales staff, and which effects can thus be achieved in sales practice. The LiSA Retail Innovation startup from Düsseldorf in turn develops solutions that make it possible for retailers and brands to advise and inspire their customers online via live video.

Popular network event
As in previous years, visitors, sponsors and speakers of the BFI made use of the network zone and the traditional evening event in the Rheinterrassen as an opportunity for networking and communicative exchange. The event was also a success for the sponsors of the event, who presented their current imaging products and services in the network zone. Canon and Cewe appeared as Gold Sponsors. The specialised trade partners were europafoto and Ringfoto.  allcop, di support, Fujifilm, Kodak Moments, loadbee, mediaclip, Mitsubishi Electric, Peleman and TIS Service GmbH appeared as Silver Sponsors.

The Business Forum Imaging Cologne is organised by photokina and by the Photoindustrie-Verband (PIV), and supported by GfK Retail und Technology. The conference is organised by the global trade magazine INTERNATIONAL CONTACT in collaboration with the worldwide information service Photo Imaging News, USA and Visual 1st, the successful conference on imaging ecosystems that takes place annually in San Francisco.

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