Bulletin 2: Mid-Summer 2019 (Q3)

Welcome to our latest LIPA news and information Bulletin. In recent discussions and planning meetings, the Board has decided that it would be beneficial to all our members to increase both the amount and frequency of our communications outreach to you, our valued members and key audiences. So, as is traditional, we would like to start with this update from me, your new Chair of the Board.

At LIPA’s most recent Annual General Meeting (AGM), hosted by our member Panasonic, in Osaka, Japan, the Board voted to appoint me as its new Chair of the Board, and also elected a number of new Board members.

l am delighted to have been given the honour to chair an industry association that is so important for the advancement of our technology. As the use of laser projection technology continues to grow, both in cinema and non-cinema applications, it is vital that we have a body that holds us together by promoting the industry, but most importantly, ensuring that our industry’s end-user customers have a good understanding of the players and products they can choose from; and equally, that there is regulatory standardization for the technology offerings available from those industry manufacturers.

As an industry association, our mandate has always been to focus on encouraging the adoption of laser illuminated projectors (LIPs) across all venues worldwide and to help facilitate the enacting of regulatory change for the industry. LIPA’s mission supports its members, all leading providers of laser projection solutions, to markets worldwide.

The revamp of the Board comes at a time of increasing growth in the adoption of laser-illuminated projection technology globally, and a push to harmonize regulatory standards in the U.S. with the rest of the world.
As part of its revamp, LIPA is dedicating resources to increasing membership and to that end, created a new board position for membership and recruitment and elected Richard Miller of Epson as the Chair of the Membership Committee. We also agreed to decrease membership fees as an incentive. You’ll be hearing more about this from Richard in upcoming communiques on membership benefits and recruitment drives.
The full list of new Board members includes:

  • Chair – Goran Stojmenovik, Barco
  • Vice Chair – Tsuneharu Nomura, Sony
  • Company Secretary – Tim Ryan, Texas Instruments
  • Chair, Regulatory Business Committee – Hideyuki Kanayama, Panasonic
  • Chair, Membership Committee – Richard Miller, Epson
  • Chair, Finance Committee – Susie Beiersdorf, Christie Digital

Our Osaka AGM was a big success and we welcome our new Board members. We believe we accomplished a great deal and further adapted our objectives aimed at enhancing and supporting our industry (see press release we issued).

The Board, and all LIPA members, also want to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to our outgoing Chair, Jan Daem (Barco). In Jan’s four years as Chair, he has been extremely instrumental in establishing LIPA as a valuable industry association for its members, especially on the regulatory front where he was very effective in helping get international regulations more aligned and friendly towards laser projector technology, including recent success with the U.S. FDA (see separate article in this Bulletin and press release we issued at the time).

I am heartened to see industry growth numbers that were very strong in 2018, and which looks to continue this year. It’s encouraging but I feel that LIPA has more to do to promote the industry and to drive a standards-based regulatory framework that will ensure its customer base understands that LIPA members’ products are tried, tested and meet a full range of safety standards.
With continuing adoption growth for the whole industry, it is important that LIPA’s revamped board adapts the association’s focus to better represent the interests of its members and their customers, either in cinema or wider business world applications. We also believe recruiting new members will benefit all by building a stronger community of interest.

As we said publicly last year, LIPA will continue to put major effort into communication, education and support of new markets. We believe our role should increasingly be as the key source of reference when it comes to guidance, white papers, studies, research data from surveys and other tools for LIP end-users, as much as it is today with regulators and standardisation bodies. I look forward to going on the journey with all of you.

Goran Stojmenovik, Chair of the Board

Update on AGM actions Updates From the Board

Our next AGM is at the end of October more information is here

Important Takeaways From Last LIPA AGM and Recent Board 

LIPA held its most recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) in December 2018. Among the positive developments from that and subsequent Board meetings, items discussed at the various sessions were:

The Working Communication Group presented new tactics and plans for further and better disseminating LIPA’s news, views, and plans. There was general interest to seek speaking opportunities for key LIPA Board members at industry events (representing LIPA rather than their member company).

There was a proposal/request to create an info sheet about LIPA with summaries of goals, mission statements, and all speaking points and messaging that LIPA wants to promote to wider audiences. This one-pager would be available to all members for distribution at industry events, as well as provide a guideline on speaking points for those presenting on behalf of LIPA.

There was interest and discussion around developing relevant Eco/Environment Impact messaging to share with all members.

Board created a new Chair, Membership Committee, Richard Miller: Board believes it is in all members’ interests to expand the LIPA membership. To that end, the Board said it would be beneficial to recruit a number of additional members at the Leadership Level and several more at the Participant Level.

There is a belief that LIPA needs to involve companies from all areas of the laser projector ecosystem.

The Board also agreed to reduce membership fees, hopefully to attract more members.

Strategy Session

LIPA’s strengths were discussed and it was agreed that among them, key ones include:

  • Industry consensus/ allows for one strong voice from all elements of ecosystem
  • Regulatory work
  • Development of Best Practices

LIPA’s Challenges were also discussed and among the most important were:

  • Member involvement (need to find way to get members more engaged)
  • Stay relevant
  • Education 
  • Timing of sharing of information (specifically around TC-76)

New items discussed for focus in 2019 included:

  • Consider creating product labels that are generic and LIPA-branded as opposed to company-specific
  • Create education materials to properly position the use of laser projectors
  • Create public Position Papers

New officers and WG Chairs were elected during the board meeting. They include:

  • Chair – Goran Stojmenovik, Barco
  • Vice Chair – Tsuneharu Nomura, Sony
  • Chair, Regulatory Business Committee – Hideyuki Kanayama, Panasonic
  • Chair, Membership Committee – Richard Miller, Epson
  • Chair, Finance Committee – Susie Beiersdorf, Christie Digital
  • Company Secretary – Tim Ryan, Texas Instruments

Current list of active LIPA members

Membership Report: Anabel provided the following membership report: 

  • Renewals are ongoing as each member has their own renewal period.

Communications

Conference Outreach Program – there was much discussion about the best ways to improve LIPA’s communication tools, who our target audiences really are, and the best ways – and how frequently – to reach out to them. The Board also discussed what constituted our key messages to these audiences, with an emphasis on best-of-breed information that helps LIPA members better understand our industry dynamics.

Other Items Discussed Around LIPA Communications:

  • Extensive list of potential industry conferences to speak at was discussed and we will advise in coming weeks/months where we will be
  • Utilizing professional writers/editors to coordinate our communications efforts 
  • Website redesign: Discussion around making LIPA’s website the best place to go to learn about the benefits of laser projectors and the regulations, and that tracking metrics/SEO are important to ensure our website is up to date, valid and of value
  • Crisis management guide – Communications team is reviewing the content and needs/use for this and will come back to the Board with valid recommendations
  • Best-Practice document – Jan and the Board discussed this and noted that such a document would be useful and help guide the Board and LIPA members around any legal obstacles – this document will be reviewed with the legal team
  • Regulatory Updates: While the Board discussed all matters related to this, please see separate update article in this newsletter

Next Board Meeting & AGM Update: It was agreed that the next LIPA AGM and Board meeting will take place October 28 and 29, 2019. More information on the meeting will be listed here.

Industry Growth/Momentum

Laser Projector Industry Continues Strong Growth

LIPA, in its role representing many members of the Laser Illuminated Projector (LIP) industry, constantly monitors the momentum and growth of the business globally. LIPA is pleased to be able to report that it is witnessing continued strong growth globally, with more manufacturers entering and introducing products across the spectrum of end-user markets, and with sales of LIPs beginning to outflank traditional lamp-based projectors.

LIPA monitors many growth indicators, and according to a key one, PMA Research, the worldwide information experts on projectors, global LIP revenue grew by 30.8% since the same time last year. This new data was revealed by PMA Research in their latest report, covering the period of January through June, 2019. In an indication that the shift to LIP technology continues apace, the same report said that non-LIP revenue declined by 14% for the same timeframe.

Other growth indicators highlighted by PMA Research include:

  • Overall LIP technology captured 42.2% revenue share and 12.4% unit share in first half of 2019
  • In the digital cinema category, worldwide LIP revenue grew by 14.2% in the past year, with LIPS representing 60.0% revenue share during first half 2019
  •  In China, the majority of units (53.1%) purchased for digital cinema were laser in first half 2019, compared to less than 5% in first half 2015.
  • PMA forecasts that for the full year 2019, worldwide LIP shipment value for digital cinema will be more than double that of lamp projectors
  • In projectors with 6,000 lumens or more, LIPs captured 68.2% of unit shipments and 78.6% revenue share – more than 3.5x revenue versus lamp illuminated projectors in same timeframe.

PMA Research said these numbers are for mainstream and high-end projectors (mainly with more than 1000 lumens) and do not include Pico/Personal units.

“These numbers, from such a credible source such as PMA Research, tell us at LIPA that our industry is thriving,” said Goran Stojmenovik, Chairman of LIPA. “It is obvious to us that the transition from lamp-based projector technology to laser-based is well underway and that’s very good news for our industry as a whole, and our member manufacturer companies, especially.”

This strong growth for the first half of 2019 follows on from a very successful full year in 2018, where the industry witnessed significant LIP revenue growth of over 40%, including product categories from home theater to high-end digital cinema.

“Considering the successful year the industry experienced in 2018, it was extremely encouraging to see that continue during the first half of this year,” said Rosemary Abowd, Senior Analyst at PMA. “And we are now on the cusp of a significant replacement wave for older, lamp-based cinema projectors. With manufacturers continuing to expand their laser line-ups, it’s clear that the future is bright for LIP in digital cinema.”

“LIPA, representing a large number of LIP-industry players, is very pleased to be able to highlight this positive news for our members. As an industry association, it is important to us that we can use such data to inform the industry that we are experiencing unprecedented momentum, and it looks set to continue. Our role at LIPA is to promote the industry and we believe we are having a positive effect, and ensuring that all manufacturer members get the support they need, and also to work with regulatory bodies around the world to streamline standards, making it easier for our members to produce and deliver these increasing numbers of products,” Stojmenovik added.

In addition to the strong growth numbers from industry research firm PMA, LIPA observers attending industry events this year saw an increase in the number of LIP products being announced and more manufacturers entering the market.

For example, at this year’s InfoComm in Orlando, LIPS were very prominent with more than a dozen different manufacturers offering laser-illuminated projectors for applications across the spectrum, from home theater to commercial projectors for large public spaces. According to one LIPA observer, there did not appear to be any projector manufacturers that were not offering at least some laser-illuminated products. LIPA believes that in a few short years, laser illumination has grown from a novel, advanced feature to become a mainstay of every projector line today.

U.S. FDA to Harmonize Classification for LIPS

LIPA Worked with FDA to Bring About Needed Changes

In recent years, LIPA has untiringly and regularly worked with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to help bring about important changes to regulatory standards in the U.S. around laser projector technology.

In May this year, the FDA released Laser Notice 57, which goes a long way to harmonizing U.S. nomenclature and regulatory classifications for laser projector technologies with the rest of the world, which is largely adherent to IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards.

LIPA believes these changes to regulatory classification and standards for Laser-Illuminated Projector (LIP) technology announced by the FDA will be very beneficial to the global laser projector industry.

Background: Originally, FDA laser safety regulations assumed that all laser projectors posed the same danger as highly collimated lasers used, for example, at laser light shows. LIPA has regularly maintained, with evidence, that LIPs are different, since the source laser beams are optically modified to spread light over a large area, resulting in light output (and therefore much lower safety risks) very much like lamps, and unlike laser beams.

Historically, LIPA (and other industry experts), worked closely with the international laser safety regulators at IEC towards updating their documents and classification to reflect this distinction. The IEC 60825-1 standard was updated to reclassify those laser devices (for example projectors). A new IEC 62471-5 standard defined what safety protocols are appropriate for these projectors. This was largely completed by IEC four years ago (June 2015).

Current status: The release of Laser Notice 57 by the FDA finally links U.S. regulations to the IEC international standards. Now all technical requirements are mostly based on the same, well-defined definitions of optical emission levels, painstakingly developed for the IEC specs. 

These changes now mean that projector manufacturer companies no longer have to maintain dual classification schemes. In practice, this means that a projector classified as Class 1 Risk Group 3 by IEC will be identically classified by FDA for the U.S. market. LIPA believes this is a great simplification for projector manufacturers and also for projector installation partners operating in different geographies.

Goran Stojmenovik, Chair of the LIPA board thinks this is an excellent example of the specific benefits that LIPA can and has brought to the industry. He said that while it has taken many years, LIPA has continuously and tirelessly advocated, educated and collaborated with regulators to update obsolete regulations, which the industry believes thwarted widespread adoption of Laser-Illuminated Projectors, especially in the U.S. Stojmenovik also said it’s been a step-by-step process, with the FDA previously responding with some incremental reforms to old regulations, but the disharmony with the rest of the world was a significant frustration, which he feels is now mostly alleviated (see press release we issued).

 “We have been working with the FDA since LIPA’s inception; specifically regarding LN57,” Stojmenovik said. “Ever since the first draft for review was published in October 2017, LIPA has been active in providing commentary and industry perspective to the FDA. We are very happy for our industry that the result is the published LN57, which is a great step in harmonizing and easing the U.S. regulation for LIPs”.

Future: With the LN57 published, still quite some work remains. The projector classification is now harmonized, however the FDA still mandates installation conditions that are more restrictive. In addition, the requirement of laser show variances throughout the distribution chain for LIPs in the U.S. still holds. LIPA members are absolutely committed to making sure that their LIPs are operated and maintained safely. This involves not just the FDA labeling regulations, but comprehensive training of service personnel, and safe installation.

LIPA however, believes that the current U.S. variance process and installation restrictions are unnecessarily complicated and overly restrictive. LIPA strives and will continue to work towards getting the installation conditions and legal processes of the laser projectors in the US fully harmonized with the rest of the world.

LIPA Officially Responds to Proposed U.S. Tariffs

Outlines to United States Trade Representative Compelling Reasons to Exempt LIP Technology

Background: In May of this year, the U.S. Government proposed new tariffs on products entering the U.S. market from China. The tariffs, which were due to be activated by September 1st, are proposed for a very wide range of products, including ”Image Projectors”, which apply to all Laser Illuminated Projectors (LIPS).

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a request for comment on these proposed tariffs from interested parties, key points in the main notice were: USTR has proposed a modification of the action being taken in Section 301, investigation of the acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation

A proposed modification is to take action in the form of an additional duty of 10 percent (or more) on products from China with an annual trade value of approximately $300 billion.

The products subject to this proposed modification are listed in this government document.

USTR announced that it was seeking public comment and will hold a public hearing regarding this proposed modification.

Earlier this year, responding to the proposed imposition of these substantially higher tariffs, which LIPA believes will negatively impact its member companies, LIPA drafted a letter to directly address the issue with the USTR and answer its call for comments.The letter was submitted on June 14th, 2019 in accordance with all requirements and within the imposed deadlines for submissions.

LIPA provided key overview of what it represents and points to support its contentions, including:

  • Many LIPA member companies are U.S. subsidiaries of overseas companies, with a significant U.S. footprint including facilities, employees, channel partners, financial investments and patented technology.
  • LIPA member companies produce and sell more than 75% of all mainstream and high-end projectors sold in the United States which is a market of more than $2 billion.
  • LIPA members have serious concerns with the abrupt and sweeping application of these measures and the collateral damage they are likely to inflict upon various facets of the US economy.
  •  More measured and strategic action would allow suppliers, like LIPA members, adequate time to coordinate alternative sourcing measures.

The proposed tariffs will negatively impact the vast majority of projector products supplied to the U.S. market, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in tariff costs that will be passed on to U.S. end users.

Conclusion from LIPA’s submission:

Although the circumstances related to the Section 301 Investigation and findings are generally understood, LIPA is certainly not alone in its opinion that the plan of action should be more strategic and measured.  This would afford suppliers, including LIPA members, adequate time to find sourcing alternatives.  Without this more measured approach, there could be significant negative impact to many segments such as the projection industry, with ripple effects disrupting the U.S. economy as a whole.

Response from USTR

On August 13, USTR responded with an announcement that as part of their public comment and hearing process, the 10% tariffs for Image Projectors and select other categories will be delayed until December 15, 2019.  This is a positive step in the right direction, and LIPA appreciates the accommodation by the U.S. Trade Representative to our comments and request.

LIPA Bolsters Membership/Recruitment with Appointment of new Committee Chair

Aim is to Communicate and Improve Membership Benefits and Recruit new Members

At the last LIPA Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Board voted to create a new Committee designed to oversee membership issues and drive recruitment of new members. As part of that move, the Board voted to appoint Richard Miller, of Epson, as the new Committee Chair.

Miller’s role will be to improve the visibility of LIPA and its value proposition to existing and potential new members. To that end, he will utilize various tools and relationships, including:

  • Working with the LIPA Communications Working group to enhance LIPA’s messaging and create support documents that clearly and succinctly convey those messages
  • Again, working with the Communications team, utilize its outreach tools (including web presence, social media, newsletters, press materials, trade events) to promote LIPA to new members
  • Ensure that current and potential new members understand the value membership brings to manufacturers across the spectrum of LIP technologies

A key element of Miller’s role will be recruitment of new members.

“I have some targets and a good idea of some of the companies I think would definitely benefit from joining the LIPA ranks,” said Miller. “With the help of the Board, we’re going to reach out to a target list of LIP manufacturer companies, as well as component suppliers and system integrators,” he added.

Miller feels that using those various communications tools described earlier is vital, but he also believes, importantly, in the power of direct personal contact with target firms.

“From our own industry contacts, and through identifying potential members who we now see joining the industry and attending important industry trade events, we believe we can really build on the LIPA community,” he said.

Benefits of belonging: A number of LIPA members have gone on record to communicate their belief in the organization and to explain why they joined:

Susie Beiersdorf, VP of Sales, Cinema – Americas at Christie Digital: “As a long standing member of LIPA, Christie has seen the benefits of collaborating with our competitors for a common goal over the years.  Whether it is working together to decide on best practices, measurement protocol or variance requirements, the knowledge shared is invaluable.  LIPA interacts with regulatory agencies to aid in creating necessary lasers guidelines.   Christie has seen firsthand how being a member of LIPA has helped in educating regulatory agencies in updating outdated regulations while trying to make it less burdensome for the industry.  LIPA ensures that Christie, as well as all LIPA members, contribute to the education of laser products to our regulatory and customer base.”

Goran Stojmenovik from Barco”Barco has been a strong supporter of LIPA and its mission from day one. We firmly believe that as a true representative of most of the key LIP manufacturers in the market, LIPA fulfils a vital role in a number of areas, not the least of which is advocacy – working with standards bodies around the world to simplify regulatory frameworks. But LIPA’s role as a promoter of this industry is equally important to help support and advance the industry in general, and to help in its continuing growth.”

Richard McPherson, Senior Product Manager, Projectors at NEC: “Laser projection has proven to be a superior technology when used safely and in the right applications. That’s why it’s important that LIPA is spearheading industry efforts to work with the FDA to create safety guidelines and best practices that will benefit the industry as a whole. NEC Display is a proud participant of LIPA and supports their efforts to market these regulations and best practices to improve the business and regulatory environment for all.”

And finally, Richard Miller himself, speaking from his role as Vice President, Commercial Marketing, Epson America, Inc. said“The milestone shift to laser-illuminated projectors is an important opportunity for the projector industry. Epson joined LIPA because we share common objectives in expanding the awareness and adoption of laser-illuminated projectors globally.  Epson sees strong value in having a single industry voice related to rationalizing laser safety regulations as well as consistently and effectively educating our common constituents. Epson supports the market-opening activities in which LIPA specializes.” 

LIPA Inks Liaison Agreement with International Union of Cinemas

As part of its ongoing drive to create relevant industry partnerships, the Laser Illuminated Projector Association (LIPA) has now signed a liaison agreement with the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), based in Brussels, Belgium.

The two industry bodies see the agreement as a means to formally facilitate communications and jointly promote a common understanding of each organization’s activity, as it relates to the understanding and promotion of the laser projector industry. This agreement comes at a time when the LIP industry is growing rapidly and LIPA believes it will benefit the industry in general to cooperate with like-minded organizations.

Chairman of the Board of LIPA, Goran Stojmenovik, will manage and report to LIPA on activity and communication with UNIC, while his counterpart, Guillaume Branders will fill that role at UNIC. Each has the responsibility to manage the collection and distribution, via their respective organizations, of materials and the management of joint communications.

LIPA and the European Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF) have agreed on a partnership and promotion of each other’s work and information.

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