Better installation projectors

Neil Colquhoun, Visual Instruments, offers an insight into Epson’s new installation projector strategy

Better installation projectors

Bringing colour to Epson’s installation projector strategy

Projection is a specialism of ours, and we have been the recognised global market leader in this field for each of the last fifteen years[1]. We have achieved this position by listening to our customers who, when asked, consistently tell us that they value technology and product quality, alongside service and support above all other buying criteria. This is part of the reason why, although we have delivered a number of market firsts, this has never been at the expense of our ambition to always be ‘best to market, not first to market’.

What Epson is bringing to the Pro-AV installation projector market

Epson’s tagline is ‘Exceed your Vision’, which neatly summarises our desire to be constantly innovating and growing into new markets to offer real value to our customers. And this is why, at the Integrated Systems Europe 2016 trade show in Amsterdam, we ushered in a new era of installation projection including the world’s first 25,000 lumen 3LCD laser projector, the EB-L25000U, and the new EB-L1000U series of six projector models. These models contain game-changing laser technology and a range of flexible features that significantly enhance usability and reduce maintenance.

Reliability broadens product appeal, a critical consideration for determining customer value. Our laser projectors’ 3LCD panels and phosphor wheel must therefore be highly durable to deal with the exceptionally high radiant energy from the light source and intense light over the entire optical path. The wheel is made from inorganic materials, giving it superior tolerance against light and heat, and ultra-light-tolerant LCDs use inorganic components in their main build.

Thanks to this robustness, together with the relatively long life of the laser diodes in comparison with those for lamps, we can now say that we have the first ever ‘fit and forget’ projectors. Thanks to the use of inorganic LCD panels, and Epson is currently the only manufacturer that uses this technology, we can offer a world-class warranty of 5 years or 20,000 hours, guaranteed, allowing for their installation in high spaces, such as large exhibition rooms or concert halls, where maintenance would be difficult.

Similarly, high image quality and colour reproduction increase value, as does our offering of a rich selection of optics, such as our 4K compatible lenses or our ultra-short throw lenses that make installation in narrow spaces possible. In these ways, we are succeeding in offering customers value in line with their expectations.

Technology to revolutionise the workplace

To make sure we offer customers the best available technology and product quality, we invest heavily in both research and development, and our manufacturing excellence. Our investment of approximately €1.2m every day in R&D resulted in a breakthrough innovation in the projector market, the development of 3LCD projection. The key benefit of 3LCD projection is an equally high White Light Output (WLO) and Colour Light Output (CLO) which deliver vivid colours and bright images, enabling high-quality colour projection even in light rooms.

From listening to our customers, we understand that the benefits offered by 3LCD technology also need to be matched by product quality. Epson maintains close control over its manufacturing processes to ensure the highest standards. The principles of monzukuri (craftsmanship) and sho-sho-sei (the art and science of manufacturing) are deeply embedded into our corporate culture and, with a staff of over 1500 in our Toyoshina plant, who, for installation projection alone, contribute an estimated one million engineering man-hours each year, ensure the manufacturing quality of Epson projectors.

As a result we are able to manufacture our unique 3LCD chips and projectors in Japan.  By contrast, the majority of our competitors purchase components from third-party manufacturers. They also offer up figures for only the white light output, keeping the CLO figures to themselves because they are often much lower than the white, making for dull and washed out images.

Exceeding customer expectations

Alongside this, it has been our strategic intention to build up a veritable army of salespeople and engineers working in the field with one of the biggest sales forces and one of the biggest service and support networks in EMEA to support all our customers. Only then can we say that we have created a product that meets the expectations of our customers.

Listening to customers’ wants and needs has provided invaluable insights that have then shaped out product strategy, and it is by doing this that we have been able to create products that year after year exceed our customers’ expectations. And we will continue to do so.

[1] Survey conducted by Futuresource Consulting Limited for the period from 2001 to 2015.