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Home >> DPI Readies Kiosk For PMA Show, March Launch
Digital Portal Inc. (DPI), a joint venture between flash memory manufacturer San Disk and European kiosk maker Photo Me International, has announced that it is nearing completion of its 31-unit, ten market beta-test and will launch a six market rollout in March.
The touch-screen DPI kiosk differs from units already on the market in that it produces prints on true, silver halide photo paper using photographic chemistry as opposed to inkjet or dye sublimation units currently in use. The kiosk accepts all forms of digital camera media: CompactFlash, SmartMedia, SD, Memory Stick, CDs and floppy disks.
The unit takes 2 minutes to produce the first print and then cranks out three prints per minute. It also features Internet connectivity for image uploading and downloading.
According to DPI's director of marketing Don Keane, the beta-test, which ends in February and occurred primarily in photo-specialty stores, non-traditional outlets like amusement parks, and Staples, was edifying for DPI.
"We learned a lot about consumers' habits and retail digital printing in general," Keane said. Consumers and retailers enjoyed the convenience, he noted, but were still unaware that true photographic quality prints could actually be made from their digital cameras in-store.
The initial retail roll out in March will involve six markets — Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington D.C., New York and Toronto — with the aim of placing approximately 500 units in photo specialty stores, Staples and various other venues that have a high traffic of digital camera owners.
The big markets will serve to buttress DPI's primary desire of getting the word out to customers.
"One of the things that pleased us with the Staples test was their ability to advertise and promote the service," he said. "We're very keen on building awareness."
DPI will offer two options for retailers. The first is an outright sale of the kiosk for approximately $30,000. Photo paper and chemistry can either be purchased through DPI or another vendor.
According to Keane, replenishing and maintaining the kiosk does not require technically trained staff. "Staples was using high-school kids with no background at all in photographic processing," he said.
The second option is a lease program with revenue sharing between DPI and the retail store. After an initial 60-day trial (with no lease payment and a 75-25 revenue split favoring DPI), the store will then enter into a lease-and-collect program, with DPI maintaining the kiosk (replenishing paper and chemistry and remote monitoring the diagnostics) and collecting a click-rate commission.
The machine is currently carrying the SanDisk brand, but Keane indicated that DPI would be in discussions with retail partners to co-brand units. "You will see co-branded solutions," he said.
The company also plans to introduce a second-generation kiosk at the PMA show this month that will feature "a number of improvements and innovations," he said.
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