After a three-year absence, InFocus (Wilsonville, OR; www.infocus.com) will be back at InfoComm, which kicks off next week in Las Vegas. InFocus will use this major AV conference to launch several new products and to reengage with its customer base. It has taken some time for the company to regain its footing, but the pieces now seem to be falling in place to allow the company to move forward on a very positive trajectory.
Senior Analyst and Editor
for Insight Media
InFocus was one of the pioneers in the projection industry and enjoyed great success and profitability for many years. In the early years of this century, it sought to broaden its focus and develop products more oriented toward consumers. This did not turn out to be a good plan as the company fell on hard times, loosing market share, money, prestige and focus as experienced executives abandoned the company.
Now, the company has a new CEO and old hands are returning to the company to try to recapture some of the old magic. It is a different market now, however, so new strategies are needed. In a recent conversation with David Woolf, Vice President of Global Marketing at InFocus, we learned more about their new direction, focus and products.
First, let’s highlight the new products that InFocus will launch at InfoComm. At the higher end of the range is the new IN5100 series. The IN5106 is a 3LCD model with XGA resolution, 4000 lumens, HDMI 1.3, embedded wireless network control, two-way lens shift and four optional lenses. Other models in the series will offer WXGA resolution at 4000 lumens and XGA at 5000 lumens. They will be available in July 2008 starting at $3,499.
At the mid-range, the IN3100 series offers 3000 to 3500 lumens, a choice of XGA or WXGA resolution, and 2000:1 contrast. These DLP BrilliantColor projectors support HDMI and LiteShow II wireless connectivity and will ship in July for $1,499.
For the road warrior, the IN1100 series goes with DLP BrilliantColor technology and up to 2200 lumens in a trim 2.75 lb package. It will be offered in both XGA and WXGA native resolution, shipping in August 2008 from $1299.
These are products with solid specs aimed at mainstream markets, but since InFocus has moved to an outsourced business model, it needs to differentiate its products in some way. And that’s exactly what the company is seeking to do with each of these units.
For example, the IN5100 features a new SplitScreen technology, which means presenters can display two different images in a side-by-side format using the WXGA model.
The IN3100 and IN1100 series will break new ground by incorporating DisplayLink technology. This allows a standard USB connector to be used to synchronize the laptop with the projector, eliminating the need for DVI or analog VGA cables. In addition, the IN3100 series features the new LiteTouch keypad that is visible only when needed, replacing standard button controls with an exclusive backlit touch-sensitive keypad to give a sleek, smooth look.
In addition, InFocus now thinks it is the first company with a full line of wide aspect projectors. It’s about time, as Woolf estimates that 70% of notebooks and all ultraportables will have a 1280 x 800 resolution LCD screen.
InFocus has also been busy rebuilding its relationships with it dealers. "Our biggest mistake over the last few years is that we stopped talking to our channel," admitted Woolf. That’s because it slashed its sales support team, but has recently increased the team to 15, up from only 3 nine months ago, and has plans to hire 7 more. "There was the perception that we were not interested in the ProAV channel, which was fostered by our lack of engagement. But we have a new commitment now," claims Woolf.
I hope so, and it will be nice see InFocus put new luster on its venerable brand.
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