Can CD-R Software Still Play A Role?
Spokespersons for two vendors argue that, despite the threat of a relentless onslaught of DVD products, CD-R is holding its own.
For nearly two years, advocates of DVD (digital videodisc) technology have been predicting that DVDs are the wave of the future. Some advocates insist that future is here and that CD-R (CD-Recordable) technology has peaked.
More thoughtful advocates, on the other hand, agree that DVDs will certainly play a major role in the future. They argue, however, that CD-R technology will still have a role to play for many years to come.
Why DVD Won't Supplant CD-R In The Immediate Future
The single biggest advantage which DVD enjoys over CD-R is storage capacity - at least six times greater. However, according to Chris Farey, DVD technology is much more expensive and the ability to read DVD is rather limited. Farey is CEO and senior engineer of K-Par Systems, Ltd., based in Bristol, England. The company employs 20 people worldwide and had gross sales of $2 million last year. Farey believes that CD-R technology has gone about as far as it will go. He states that, with DVD on the horizon, there's little incentive for research and development into CD-R. On the other hand, Farey argues that, because of its low cost, for the mass market, CD-R will be the technology of choice for some time.
Jeff Patterson, of ALOS Micrographics Corporation, also believes that CD-R will continue to be a viable technology. ALOS, based in Montgomery, NY, employs 40 people. Patterson believes that users have become comfortable with CDs as a storage device, partly because many information technology consultants recommend it. He remarked that during the second quarter of 1998, ALOS Micrographics sold more of its DocuWare CD mastering software than in any previous quarter.
How VARs Should Be Selling CD-R
Both vendor representatives believe that knowledgeable VARs will be able to sell CD-R solutions quite easily. Prices are way down and potential users are usually already familiar with the technology. Also, CD-R is transportable and can be read on most CD-ROM drives, whereas the ability to read DVD is still fairly limited. CD-R technology is also backward-compatible. This means that DVD-ROM drives can read CD-R disks. With backwards compatibility, CDs remain a viable media.
Because of these advantages, VARs probably ought to concentrate on selling CD-R to smaller firms or departments. Large firms, enterprises, and institutions which have huge storage needs - such as law firms and hospitals - will be among the first attracted to DVD.
Patterson and Neal Aronson, who is director of sales for the Americas for K-Par, concur. Both believe VARs should concentrate on applications, not technologies. They need to talk at length to potential customers and only then should VARs recommend which technology would be more appropriate.