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What is your strategy for growing the company this year?
We need to get control of business, and the second thing we need to do as a company is to grow organically. That's going to be our primary focus for 2008: to go to our traditional customer base and work more closely with them and then to earn more of their business. We believe that traditional customer base has made InFocus the company that it is today. We owe them quit ea bit so we're going to go back and work with them. Our third initiative is to look for significant growth opportunities that are very much aligned with our core business. That's probably going to be something that we're doing into 2009.
I mentioned the conversion of data and video and one of those applications that I think is going to be a big space for projectors is high-definition video conferencing. It's network-based video projection. While a lot of press has been given to the solutions that are involving LDC and plasma, these projectors play an important part in that solution and can potentially be much more cost effective as some applications move beyond videoconferencing to include things like PowerPoint presentations.
Who do you see as your biggest competition?
That's something that was part of my education when I got here. I was aware of traditional competitors in our space like Epson, Sony, Samsung and ViewSonic. We counted up the other day and we had 45 different manufacturers worldwide that make projectors so our biggest competitor is "other."
Our strategy here is to go back to our organic growth strategy and to start to differentiate our products. Our challenge is to differentiate the way our product is used and in terms of our relationships with our distributors.
How do you segment your business?
We have four major components. The first is our traditional component which is a projector you'll see in a conference room with an audience of 10 to 20 people. It is somewhat mobile and can be brought from one conference room to the other but it's not a put-in-your-briefcase mobile product. That's where we started. That's our bread and butter. That's where the projector business started and it's typically used for PowerPoint presentations.
The second application area for us is the mobile segment. Those are products that a traveling salesperson can use with a laptop when he or she needs a projector to show sales projections for probably 5 to 10 users. That has been a growing segment.
The third segment is the installed segment. It's typically in larger conference rooms with a mounted projectors on the ceiling and somewhere in the room there'd be a screen for the projection. Typically these are for audiences of 25 to 300. These projectors need to have variable lenses.
The fourth segment is the home segment. With that the vertical that dominates that is education. That's on the low end an elementary school with a projector that can be brought in on a cart to be available to an instructor and then on the college-end it's the installed segment.
What new technologies in projectors represent opportunities for VARs?
Our industry, the projector component of the industry, is going to see some changes in the next couple of years which I think will give VARs a tremendous opportunity to go in and replace systems, and the two drivers are wide-screen aspect ratios and high resolution/high definition. With the wide resolution movement, like with the TV market, people are moving from 4:3 to the 6:9 aspect ratios. You're going to see the same thing on the projector side.
If I have a notebook with a 16:10 aspect ratio, I'm going to want to project an image that's 16:10. That's an opportunity for our VAR base to go out and sell new screens, new projectors. We just announced the first 16:10 aspect ratio projector, so we're leading the market for wide projection.
The second driver is going to be high resolution. That's not so much for PowerPoint presentations but as we get much more into the projection of video, there are going to be very important applications like digital signage and high definition videoconferencing. Those will be opportunities for VARs.
Wide and high-definition and high-resolution are key factors in the selections of projectors going forward in the future, and key opportunities for our VARs going out to sell them.
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