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We have been partnered with Hewlett Packard for quite a while, and the results have been phenomenal – with our unique autoloader capability and their inkjet technology, we were able to introduce the fastest, highest resolution inkjet printer with the lowest cost per print available, and have held that position for several years.
Apart from CD/DVD printers and duplicators, you also distribute CD/DVD media from Taiyo Yuden and Verbatim. What do you believe is the outlook for the optical storage media market during the next year?
I think the outlook is fantastic. Every now and then we hear people talking about the Internet as the death of media – as if software and music downloads are going to replace delivery on CD. But if you believe that, you probably believe that computers are reducing the amount of paper we use, too.
Experience shows us exactly the opposite. Increased exchange and archival of data, music, and video has been a boon to our industry, and DVD is driving that even more. We are projecting over 30% growth in each of the next two years for our optical media business.
Currently, the optical storage industry is focusing its attention on the new DVD formats, HD video content and the way it would be efficiently and safely distributed. In what ways will the duplication industry be involved in these new developments?
We’re fortunate to have strong relationships with each of the drive manufacturers, so we get good inside information on what’s coming and when. Duplication comes into play when these formats become distribution mediums; as soon as people are talking about playing the discs at home, we will have technology to service the market. We are also fortunate to have patents that apply to the new formats – we can handle and print on practically anything, regardless of the changes made to the recordable side.
We are also interested in the security question; content producers want to protect profitability, and we have developed relationships with people who are engineering leading content protection methods, whether through copy protection, password protection, or other encryption solutions. One we are particularly excited about is Hexalock – their holographic copy-protection technology remains undefeated for many types of digital content, and it is already integrated with top products like the Rimage Producer series.
Besides CD/DVD duplicators and optical media, are there other tangent markets and product lines that you are considering for the near future?
Yes and no. We will, of course, adopt optical media formats as they become available and viable, but our focus is on what we do best which is CD/DVD products. Our manufacturing arm has been very successful in bringing our core CD/DVD technology to the point-of-sale market. For example, we have deployed our CD dispensing and recording mechanism into Kodak’s point of sale kiosks for digital photography with over 10,000 of these types of units in the field. As we have with Kodak and other prominent photo kiosk manufacturers, we are now working in new markets outside photography to develop kiosk solutions.
We are investing heavily in our Asian and European operations, expanding our Japan and London offices, to position ourselves for expansion in global markets.
And we are looking for ways to bring our technology to new vertical markets. We are looking to everyone from corporate marketing departments to medical doctors for ideas on how we can help them to use optical technology.
What do you foresee as the future for Microboards in the duplication industry?
My vision is simple, but strong; Microboards will continue to get better and better at doing what we do. We have loyal customers that have grown with us because we take good care of them. We look for ways to make our products better every day. We are a family-oriented, personal company – five & ten years from now we will be bigger and better, but we will be the same people, doing the same thing – because we do it well.