With the increase in technology, smartphones seem to be getting better and better. Let’s look at the cameras on smartphones for example. The iPhone 5’s camera is 8-megapixels while the new Samsung Galaxy S4’s camera is 13-megapixels. To make it even more convenient for users, these high quality cameras on smartphones also have access to various photo apps to upload and share pictures. These apps are often linked with Facebook, Twitter, and you know the rest of the list. Now with all that being said, are people still purchasing point-and-shoot cameras? Do people even remember what a point-and-shoot camera is? This huge craze with smartphones with all the features they offer makes it seem like point-and-shoot cameras are ancient. With the popular photo app Instagram announcing that their monthly users have passed 100 million, it’s safe to say that people don’t need point-and-shoot cameras anymore. Although nobody may be thinking about these cameras anymore, the manufacturers have suffered from the neglect.
Olympus Corp., a Japanese camera maker, has caught on to the trend of smartphone cameras and the various photo apps and has decided to drop out of that market. Olympus has decided to eliminate its compact cameras which sell for less than $200. Their camera business suffered a loss in the last fiscal year through March because the market for compact cameras was so small, or even nearing nonexistence. The situation Olympus Corp. is currently in ties in with a topic covered in class: Quality Function Deployment. The first step of QFD is to identify the customer wants. In the age of smartphones, it’s safe to say that consumers want a phone that has numerous features which include a high definition camera. People want more things in one, which makes it more convenient for them. Why carry a phone and a compact camera when you can just carry one smartphone? Remember those annoying and somewhat unfashionable pouches for compact cameras back in the day? The next thing on the list for QFD is identifying how a company’s good will satisfy the customer wants. If people are wanting smartphones with nice cameras that have access to photo apps, compact cameras are clearly not satisfying these customer wants. As you continue down the list for Quality Function Deployment, the last check mark is evaluating competing products. Now for Olympus Corp., do they evaluate themselves compared to camera makers such as Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc. and base these evaluations off which company suffered the least, or do they compare themselves to smartphones?
It seems as if Olympus Corp. is comparing themselves to smartphones which resulted in the elimination of their compact cameras. With their biggest business coming from medical equipment, Olympus has chosen to focus on high-end cameras with interchangeable lenses. Of course medical equipment has a whole different Quality Function Deployment, but that’s another topic. Do you think Olympus is making the right decision by withdrawing from the compact camera market? What do they need to do in order to succeed in the medical equipment market? Will compact cameras eventually be wiped out for good?