Once an expensive niche market, changes are taking place in data/video projection.
Driven by technological advance and user needs, a new breed of PC peripheral has emerged - the personal projector.
Tapping into this new but growing concept can yield high revenue for PC dealers who take advantage of an early market entry.
Without question, there is an increased adoption of digital presentations in business and sales - and with the availability of packages such as Microsoft's PowerPoint, it's hard for companies to ignore how simply eye-catching displays can be created and how they can have a dramatic impact on the results of a meeting, training session or sale.
Technological advances in LCD and DLP have created a complete range of projector products, from permanently fixed projectors for large audiences, to smaller ones for company meeting rooms to portable or personal projectors for the mobile presenter.
Fixed projectors will undoubtedly continue to be sold by specialist AV dealers to office equipment specifiers. However, the personal projector is different. As the cost of the technology has come down, it has become realistic for individuals to have their own projector.
Primarily, it is the laptop users, who travel to business or sales meetings to present, who are the early adopters. Personal projectors incorporate the values that appeal to them in a PC peripheral, for instance, weight and size, ease of use, technical innovation and price.
Instead of a high end AV tool, they are considered a complementary PC peripheral. This has led to their purchase being seen as the responsibility of IT managers, who generally look to their regular PC dealer as the first port of call.
Although this will change, the current number of PC dealers actually supplying personal projectors is very small, which leaves huge potential profit margins for resellers entering the market now. If investing in a new area seems a bit risky, then assess the facts.
This market is by no means a one minute wonder. With decreasing costs and emerging technologies being incorporated into the products, it is inevitable that, like the PC and laptop before it, the personal projector will soon cross into the mainstream consumer market.
Many large electronics companies have recognised this trend and are already introducing basic models to consumers, establishing personal projectors as home entertainment products.
If you're still not convinced, consider this - the overall projector market in 1997 was worth z3.1 billion, and looks set to grow by 44 per cent in 1998 alone, reaching z4.7 billion by the year 2000.
That leaves only one thing left to say. Those hungry enough for success, who establish their presence in this evolving market now, will obviously reap a larger slice of the profit pie.
So, what are you waiting for - get out there and start selling.
Jussi Ekholm is european marketing manager at In Focus Systems.
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