Experts discuss the future of "images as social media"

With the Business Forum Imaging Cologne, photokina offers the specialist trade an important platform to detect key sector trends early on in the spring and to identify new sales areas.

The motto of the business forum this year was “Memories are more… INTERACTIVE”, reflecting the increasing impact of social media, digital networks and mobile communications on consumer behaviour when it comes to images. Already the first day kicked off with a premiere, when the US design studio Artefact presented the revolutionary WVIL camera concept for the first time in Europe. The Wireless Viewfinder Interchangable Lens combines the advantages of digital system cameras with the capabilities of mobile communication. It’s based on an open software platform, so that the camera can be adapted to meet new requirements at any time by the use of apps.

In addition to experienced industry practitioners, independent experts also shared their input. For example, the American social media specialist Alexandra Gebhardt presented successful online applications, introduced innovative online services, and addressed the question of how providers of image services and photographic dealers can benefit from the fact that more and more consumers are using images to communicate in social networks.

The business forum’s program was praised across the board. One of the most interesting presentations was given by the youngest speaker, 17-year-old Philipp Riederle, who shared with industry experts his fascinating insights into the world of teenagers and how they use images. The podcast “Mein iPhone und ich” (My iPhone and Me), which this young student has been producing for three years, is downloaded about a million times per year. He regularly tops the iTunes charts and frequently beats the offerings of the major media companies. Riederle emphasized that for him and his generation, photography is a "social medium" that is used every day to exchange memories with others. According to him, this mostly happens via social networks and mobile devices, which is why he encouraged participants to pay close attention to the needs of the "social media generation" and to quickly adapt to the target group if they don’t want to risk losing the latter’s interest.

The conference’s gold and silver sponsors were also satisfied with the event, where they presented their current lineup of imaging products and services in a special network zone. The sponsors included Cewe Color and Kodak as gold sponsors as well as Felix Schoeller, Fujifilm, di support GmbH, Ecce Terram, Imaging Solutions, Manfrotto, Taopix, and Tetenal as silver sponsors.

The Business Forum Imaging Cologne 2012 was also supported by the Photographic Industry Association and the market research company GfK Retail and Technology. The congress was once again organized by INTERNATIONAL CONTACT, the global sister magazine of imaging+foto-contact, and the international information agency Photo Imaging News, USA.