Despite the emergence of cloud computing and flash memory — sometimes called SSD (solid state drive) — Japanese tech titan Epson is confident that CDs and DVDs have a few more years left in its lifecycle before it is taken over by history.
While flash-based USB sticks have slowly eroded the dominance of CDs and DVDs as the preferred storage medium among consumers, Epson still considers the discs as very relevant and practical in the business sector.
This is because, according to Epson Philippines product manager Thea Austria, flash-based USBs haven’t reached yet the scale and popularity that have made CDs and DVDs extremely cheap and readily available.
Austria said producing flash-based storage items such as USB sticks in large quantities is still much expensive compared to replicating content in CDs and DVDs. Thus, even if computer makers are helping consumers veer away from CDs and DVDs by omitting CD/DVD ROM drives in their products, businesses are still trying to hold on to this old technology due to cost factors and availability.
Such is the company’s abiding faith on discs that Epson, at its annual media offsite event dubbed “Fusion” held recently in Huma Island Resort in Palawan, announced a new product called Disc Producer, which does not only create printed labels for CDs and DVDs but also instantly burn content onto the discs. Contrary to its name, however, it cannot make or produce a CD or DVD — that would have to come from a factory.
Austria pointed out that similar to the dot matrix space where Epson is the single dominant player, the Disc Producer is intended for a niche market like the business and commercial sectors where mass production for a specific material is a normal routine.
Another area where Epson is trying to expand its offerings is the Point-of-Sale (POS) systems that are commonly used in retail and service-oriented industries for printing receipts.
At the Fusion event, the company also unveiled the Epson TM-P20 mobile POS printer that is intended for on-the-go receipt printing for businesses such as food deliveries and taxi operations.
It has a compact and rugged design but has fast print speed of up to 100mm/sec, with long battery life, fast Near Field Communication (NFC) pairing, and a versatile compatibility with multiple smart devices.
Epson, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, also reported during the media event that it is now on its 14th consecutive year of global leadership in the projector category.
In the Philippines, the company said a growth spurt of 6 percentage points enabled the Epson brand to capture market leadership in the country, leading the industry with a commanding 31% market share.
“As the world’s No.1 brand in projectors, Epson pioneered a campaign to inform customers about Color Brightness — an important measurement of red, green, and blue light projection measured in lumens. Prior to this, lumens only referred to white brightness,” said Lyn Lizarondo, Epson Philippines product manager for projectors.
“Because of our very own 3LCD technology, Epson delivers the same high level of Color Brightness and White Brightness to deliver vivid and realistic colors — unlike 1-chip projectors that deliver a color brightness of only 1/3 of their white lumens.”
As for its core printing business, the Japanese firm also disclosed that its L-Series ink tank system printers have propelled Epson as the leading brand in inkjet printers in the Philippines.
The company said data from the IDC Asia-Pacific Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker, 2015Q1 report showed that Epson garnered 35.9% market share and a commanding 48.1% value share.
“While Epson has enjoyed value share leadership in IJP (inkjet printers) for the past three years, we were able to grow sales of our inkjet printers through our L-series to also capture market leadership last year. We attribute this growth to the undeniable cost efficiency and reliability of the L-Series,” said Epson Philippine product manager Russer Cabrera.
Epson Philippines country manager and president Toshimitsu Tanaka, who has been promoted as regional managing director based in Singapore but with concurrent role as head for the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia, said the impact of L-Series ink tank printers has been extremely significant.
In fact, Tanaka said the company is now pouring an additional P4.1 billion to expand its factory in Lipa, Batangas where a major chunk of L-Series printers are made. Upon completion, it will become Epson’s biggest plant worldwide with an estimated 23,000 workforce.
Meanwhile, Epson Philippines head of marketing and communications Donna V. Ferro presented during the media offsite one of the new 40th year Epson videos featuring the company’s advocacy project called “Gift of Brightness”.
“This year’s Fusion event is especially meaningful for us because on June 12, 2015, the Epson brand will be celebrating its 40th anniversary. Our 40-year journey is dedicated to our customers, and Epson makes this clear in our special commemorative videos. We are proud to say that the first of these videos, entitled ‘Educating To Change The Future’ features a special project here by Epson Philippines called the Epson Gift of Brightness,” said Ferro.
Epson, founded in 1942, was originally a developer and manufacturer of watches. It later leveraged its core technologies to enter and gradually expand in other business areas.
Epson began moving into the information equipment business in 1968 with the release of the EP-101, the world’s first compact, lightweight digital printer, and followed this in the 1970s with a succession of computer peripheral products.
The Epson brand name comes from the EP-101, the product that kicked off the company’s expansion into the information equipment business. The “EP” stands for “electronic printer” and the “SON” represents its desire to follow the original electronic printer with many worthwhile descendants (products and services).