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Will Wi-Fi Become A Staple Feature?

TWICE:Are consumers becoming aware of the benefit that Wi-Fi-enabled cameras offer?

Bo Kajiwara, Nikon: We recognize the importance of providing consumers with solutions to instantly share highquality images not possible though a mobile phone. Nikon was among the first to bring together Wi-Fi and compact cameras many years ago, but now the technology has progressed to where it is an appealing option for the consumer, and a great benefit to retailers.

All consumers desire the option to share their memories and life experiences through their photos and the expectation to share content quickly is very high. By giving them this option with products like the new S800c and D3200, Nikon is responding to the needs of the connected customer who understands the need for higher image quality and the benefits and performance that only a camera can offer.

Nikon has already offered wireless solutions for the DSLR market for some time. Aimed at professionals, these are tools for large file image transfer that becomes part of a workflow. Realizing consumers who shoot DSLR also have a need for wireless connectivity, Nikon has developed accessories such as the WU-1a that meets the needs of these DSLR customers.

Stefan Guelpen, Panasonic: The market is slow in embracing this technology – we believe it is mainly due to consumer education and understanding of the application. This market will grow but needs to be incorporated into cameras that compliment the smartphone – for example – tough and long zoom.

The feature will quickly become a standard in cameras and not so much a differentiator.

In 2013 we will see this feature as a standard across all cameras. Consumer adoption rate will be faster with higher end cameras.

Ron Gazzola, Samsung: Consumers still appreciate the value of a high-quality image, especially for their event-based photography. They want the benefits of longer optical zoom, true image stabilization, larger image sensor for low-light shooting conditions, etc. Our Smart camera line provides all of those benefits along with a seamless Wi-Fi experience which makes them a very compelling solution. Our Wi-Fienabled Smart cameras don’t require a hot spot to be of value. They can connect directly to another device like a tablet, TV or phone without a hot spot. You also can actually back up your photos to your PC without wires. You can email and upload images to social-network sites directly from the camera. These kinds of compelling user experiences are adding tremendous value.

Wi-Fi is definitely a huge element in our compact system camera (CSC) line too – we just introduced three new models, the NX20, NX210 and NX1000, and each has built-in Wi-Fi. Advanced users love to share their photos, but there are other more advanced features that Wi- Fi enables too — like enabling remotecontrol shutters. That means you don’t have to actually touch the camera at all – perfect for setting up the perfect shot and not worrying about the camera vibrating.

Mark Sherengo, Pentax: We feel this will be an important feature to consumers in both point-and-shoot and system camera categories, and we are continuing to study this feature and its applications.

Scott W. Hardy, Polaroid: We see built-in Wi-Fi as a growth area for both still cameras and camcorders. We do feel there is a need for better and greater consumer education, more specifically the advantages, for wider adoption.

Right now we see Wi-Fi primarily used in point-and-shoot cameras, but as free Wi-Fi hot spots become more readily available in locations throughout the world, and consumers become more familiar with the technologies and advantages, it’s reasonable to expect that the technology will expand to DSLRs and mirrorless compacts.

Liz Cutting, NPD Group: We’ve seen the biggest interest in Wi-Fi among moms and heavy printers. It’s clear that the ease of picture transfer and immediate sharing capability are things that the core of social communicators – women and especially moms – appear most eager to get their hands on. The question is … is it as easy in practice as it appears to be in theory? Are the setup and user interface ones that invite the consumer to make part of their imaging workflow?

I imagine the point-and-shoot arena will be more likely to incorporate operating systems and enable consumers looking for convenience to easily share their images.

Chris Chute, IDC: It’s too soon to tell if this type of product is resonating. The danger is that these types of products may be a little too late. Consumers have been inundated with connected products like smartphones and tablets, and have now had years to learn and use – and value – connectivity over the higher levels of image quality standalone cameras offer.

I think we’ll see this across the board. Non-connected devices are quickly becoming irrelevant.