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Canon's Forrest Leighton on their digital strategy and product positioning

Published on July 13, 2012

Cary Sherburne talks to Canon's Director of Product Marketing Forrest Leighton about the B2 digital sheetfed market and learns how he sees Canon in the marketplace.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink. And I’m here with Forrest Leighton, who is the Director of Product Marketing for Canon. Welcome.

Forrest Leighton: Thank you, nice to see you.

Cary Sherburne: So, recently at Drupa and I’m sure coming at Graph Expo. There’s a lot of new about B2 sheet fed in the digital world, particularly with liquid toner and with inkjet. And so I was just kind of curious, because at this moment there’s not really a B2 offering in the Canon line. What’s your position on that? How do you see your role in the market now?

Forrest Leighton: It’s a great question, so thank you. We see the market, and it’s very interesting, because it looks like what a lot of our competitors are doing is they’re really focusing on the higher end of the space. They’re looking to really replace offset technology. And it seems like they’re either very high end, or they’re going very low end to the light production market. And no one really is focusing on, so the folks that are kind of doing the offset transfer, started with light production products, where do they go next? And we think we have a really nice differentiation in that space with our ImpagePRESS product line. So that’s really where we fit. So from a strategic standpoint, we think it’s a great position to be in. And it actually differentiates, because we’re not in the position where we’re looking to replace offset technology with B2 today. In the future we’ll see what comes down the line, but definitely I think it’s a good position to be in.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, and so in that, I guess you would call it mid-range area now, which we used to call production as opposed to light production. So, I mean, there’s still a pretty significant market opportunity there, right? Because there is still some offset transfer, but most of the market opportunity really comes from new applications.

Forrest Leighton: Oh yeah, there’s tons of new applications. When you think about everything that’s happening with variable, and it seems like all the people that said years ago, “Oh I can never do it. The data’s too complex.” Now you’re having conversations about predictive analytics with printers. And that’s a wonderful thing to see. And so I think there’s great opportunity there for us with those opportunities too.

Cary Sherburne: That’s great. And then things like photo applications. You guys have a little history in photo.

Forrest Leighton: Yeah, a little bit. Counting cameras in and print photos out. But yeah, with the DreamLabo product we introduced, and the image press, we’ve done a lot more photo applications.

Cary Sherburne: Oh that’s great. Well we’ll be interested to watch the progress over time, and see what else comes out new later. But for the meantime it sounds like you’re positioned pretty well.

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