San Francisco - The centerpiece of the Common Picture eXchange Environment (CPXe) initiative, an online service/retail directory, took a step forward today with the announcement of the CPXe Directory Service Consortium, a conglomerate of manufacturers charged with creating and operating an online directory of digital photography services.
The consortium will be lead by Agfa, Kodak, FotoWire and Hewlett-Packard.
The not-for-profit CPXe Directory Service Consortium is a subsidiary of the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A) and will allow photo service providers to connect to consumers and to each other via the Web through a variety of interfaces including software bundled with digital cameras.
The Directory Service, in union with CPXe interoperability standards, will allow any adopting company to list and connect their compliant devices, applications and services with those of other participants.
According to I3A, companies poised to benefit from the directory include photo-enabled device manufacturers, photo-enabled Web sites and portals, independent software vendors, traditional and non-traditional photo retailers, online photofinishers, and photofinishing system integrators.
The CPXe Initiative aims, in the words of an I3A statement, 'to provide a reliable and secure business-to-business environment that will enable participants to conduct business transactions with confidence.'
Through the CPXe Directory Service, consumers will be able to search for desired services, such as ordering prints from a digital camera, using criteria such as zip code or type of service desired. For example, consumers could request a list of service providers located in a specific geographical area that offer in-store pick-up and one-hour service.
'The CPXe Directory Service Consortium encourages participants to think in a collaborative way, creating new and expanded business opportunities for everyone in the imaging industry, said Lisa Walker, executive director, I3A.
'This open environment will let all industry players list their services under fair terms, while expanding their access to consumer around the world. As a result of this effort, the Directory Service will be an open, interoperable environment that may be safely adopted without fear of proprietary influences or operational liabilities,' Walker continued.
The operational capabilities of the directory will be funded and maintained by the Consortium, which will also define and maintain the infrastructure necessary to allow applications to dynamically discover and use any listed service.
The CPXe Directory Service is expected to be operational by the end of the first quarter of 2003, with the initial group of compliant service listings added during the second quarter.