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Sir Speedy to Offer Photo, Document CD Service : Technology: The Laguna Hills-based quick-print chain will join with Kodak to offer businesses an alternative to slides or videocassettes.

January 05, 1994|CHRIS WOODYARD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LAGUNA HILLS — Eastman Kodak Co. plans to announce today that Sir Speedy Inc. will be among the first quick-print chains to launch a service that puts images and documents on compact disks for business presentations.

Kodak and Sir Speedy are betting that the Photo CD Portfolio system will find a ready market among companies that want an affordable alternative to slides or videocassette tapes.

The CD system works this way:

Pictures and documents are scanned by computer, then arranged on disks. The data can then be organized in a number of ways for different audiences, with graphics as well as audio tracks of narrative and music added as desired. Each disk can hold the equivalent of 100 color photographs, 500 floppy disks or 250,000 pieces of paper, Kodak and Sir Speedy said.

Sir Speedy officials said they have not yet set prices for the CD service.

Kodak spokesman Paul McAfee said companies that now provide slide trays to their sales representatives could save money by switching to CDs, which he said are cheaper to reproduce. And the CD format can be customized, he said, so that the full version could be presented to a purchasing manager and a condensed version to a chief executive.

Another advantage of CDs over regular videocassettes is that quality does not erode with age and usage, McAfee said.

The CD system is "a very inexpensive way to put together a custom presentation, with custom text and a variety of choices on how to play it back," McAfee said.

Sir Speedy, based in Laguna Hills, plans to make the Kodak CD technology available at 321 Sir Speedy and Copies Now shops nationwide, including nine in Orange County. Other chains will offer the CD system at about 30 locations combined.

The official announcement of the agreement between Kodak and Sir Speedy is to be made today at the MacWorld Expo '94 computer conference in San Francisco.

Kodak, in conjunction with photo finishers, has had a system available for more than a year that allows consumers to put their photos on disk so they then can be viewed on TV screens by using a special player or on personal computers equipped with CD-ROM drive. Sir Speedy will take marketing of the technology a step further, setting up centers within its existing outlets to cater to a business clientele.

The Sir Speedy locations offering the CD system in Orange County are in Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Tustin and two outlets in Santa Ana. Copies Now locations are in Costa Mesa and Irvine.

"For a long time, Sir Speedy has been on the leading edge of business-printing technology," said Don Lowe, president of the chain. "We see the CD as a communications tool for the turn of the century."

Sir Speedy has 880 printing and copy centers in 12 nations around the world. Its revenue was $377 million for 1992 and is projected at $425 million for 1993. Sir Speedy said it is not sure how much the new CD service will add to revenue for the coming year.

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