Photography News 08

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Profile

INTERVIEW

BIOGRAPHY

Phil McMullin

AGE: 50 YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY: 25 CURRENT LOCATION: I live near Bristol but work out of Hemel Hempstead. LAST PICTURE TAKEN: An F-Type Jag to showmy son HOBBIES? Swimming and reading (not at the same time) WHEN YOUWERE YOUNGER, WHAT DID YOUWANT TO DOWHEN YOU GREWUP? Coffee farmer DOGS OR CATS? Neither, I have two rugby playing sons

so don’t need any more animals. TOAST OR CEREAL? Porridge EMAIL OR PHONE CALL? Call me (maybe?).

PN picks the brain of Epson UK sales manager Phil McMullin, who, with 25 years’ industry experience, is well placed to answer our incisive questions

Can you tell us about your role at Epson? I’m sales manager for Epson’s UK ProGraphics large- format printer division. I joined the company just under a year ago following lengthy stints at Xerox, Kodak and more recently running the UK media business for sign specialist Spandex. Please give our readers an introduction to Epson. Epson began life in 1942 as a watch components manufacturer, Daiwa Kogyo in the Japanese city of Suwa, Nagano Prefecture. Since then, Epson has grown to become a globally recognised brand and leader in imaging and innovation. Epson started with nine employees, operating in a modified storehouse used for miso, a traditional Japanese seasoning used in some soup and noodle dishes. The Epson brand was created in June 1975 and the foundation of Seiko Epson took place in November 1985. We haven’t looked back and along the way we’ve created many milestone products and industry firsts, including most recently the BT-100 Moverio in 2012, the first consumer see- through mobile viewer making big-screen multimedia entertainment accessible on the go. The second generation BT-200 is due out later this year. We are bucking the trend, compared with how some other Japanese technology companies are performing and our latest financial results reflect this. Our revised company strategy focusing on core technology areas is payingdividends andwe’ve seennet sales increasing by 17.9%, passing the¥1,000billionmark for the first time since 2008. We’ve strategically aligned our product mix and adopted new business models in existing business segments. The continued success of our high-end printing business for photographers and fine artists and the launch of commercial printers in areas such as signage and textile printing is really helping to drive this. It’s proof that our focused corporate strategy is now paying off, that our technology is robust and our product line-up is strong. You must be thrilled that the Epson EH-TW7200 won best photo projector at the TIPA awards recently. Why do you think this projector has been so well received by such a large and varied range of consumers? The Epson EH-TW7200 projector is a fantastic product that is performing really well in the home cinema market. It’s won a number of awards this year and we’re naturally delighted with its success. It offers the features usually found in high-end models, such as a wide lens shift and very high contrast ratio, but with a much lower price tag. It’s a great product, packed full of features but with a price tag that’s right for the market. With theprinting industryexperiencingaslumpon thewhole, how is Epson faring?

Within the camera club circuit, and indeed in the market as a whole, projectors are on the rise. Is there still the market demand for professional home printers? Absolutely, we know there is the demand more so than ever as photographers realise that making their photographs look good on display also depends on the quality of the printer and the lifelike colours it is capable of reproducing. Epson plans to release ten new inkjet printers over the next 18 months. Is there a product in that line- up that would excite the exhibiting photographer? We have plenty of newproducts to be launched across all markets and sectors, but we can’t share any details yet – but watch this space! Epson’snext-generationPrecisionCoretechnology facilitates ultra-precise printing and is already available for commercial and business printers. Do you foresee this technology tricklingdown into home printers? PrecisionCore was announced in September last year and has so far been seen in some of our industrial and office products. Over time we will increase the range and at some point we could see this technology used in home printers. Research and development is hugely important to us and demonstrates our commitment to key technology platforms. We invest $1.75 million each day into R&D and have around 5000 patents registered each year. We currently have 50,000 live patents making us one of the world leaders in terms of patents registered. Reuters listed us as one of the top 100 Global Innovators alongside the likes of Google, Microsoft and Boeing. Some people turn to third-party inks because of the cost saving. How does Epson justify the price of its inks? The printing system is a complex combination of printer, ink and driver technology; they work together to produce the results that our customers tell us they expect from our printers. We can only guarantee this printer performance (output quality, trouble-free use, printer life etc…) when used together with Epson ink. There are many so-called compatible ink cartridges available on the market at varying prices and of very varying quality. Ultimately, the choice about which products to buy is up to the consumer. Sadly, the low prices of some non-original cartridges lead consumers to believe that they’re getting a good deal, however this is not always the case as it can lead to What kind of money and resources does Epson invest in research and development?

printer quality and reliability problems and ultimately require the printer to be replaced before the end of its normal life. Fortunately, most customers recognise and appreciate the quality of Epson products and we will continue to produce products that meet these standards and deliver the performance and reliability that our customers say they expect from us. There is an increasing trend for Wi-Fi enabled cameras at the moment. Do Epson printers incorporate similar technology that would enable photographers to print wirelessly from their devices? A number of our photo printers already offer remote printing with Epson Connect. This allows you to print wirelessly from smartphones and tablet PCs, using Epson iPrint, and from anywhere in the world, by emailing directly to the printer’s unique email address. Many of our printers are also Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint ready. Many of our printers have automatic Wi-Fi set up so you don’t need to know your network settings or connect with a USB cable during initial set-up as the printer automatically finds the relevant connection settings to configure itself. In our printer business I would say this is our PrecisionCore printhead technology. It represents one ofthelargestinvestmentsinresearchanddevelopment in Epson’s history and is our most advanced printhead technology to date. It has the flexibility to deliver high-speed solutions for commercial, industrial and office printing and extends our tradition of providing renowned colour quality and output durability across the widest range of applications. For our projection business, it’s definitely 3LCD, Epson’s core technology found within all our projectors. Projectors that use 3LCD technology create images using three LCDs and include a sophisticated combination of Epson’s original micro device and optical component technologies. It creates colour visuals that are made up of every possible colour and expressing every type of movement, resulting in the reproduction of truly natural, bright and beautiful colours. What are your future ambitions for Epson? Our ultimate goal is tobe number one in all themarkets that we operate in. This is a really ambitious statement but I think we’re in pretty good shape to move forward and achieve this. Since joining Epson, what are the most pivotal technological advances you’vewitnessed?

We invest $1.75million eachday intoR&Dand have around 5000patents registered eachyear. We currentlyhave 50,000 live patents

π To find out more about Epson, go to www.epson.co.uk.

Photography News | Issue 8

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