Wacom eyes continued growth of product lines

Martin FlynnWe all hear stories about IT disasters that paralyzed a business, whether trouble arrived in the form of a server or hard drive crash, a power failure, a natural disaster, flooding from a broken pipe or even human error. Some data shows that as many as 70 percent of businesses that lose critical equipment and data in a disaster will never fully recover and instead shut their doors for good.

“A Wacom stylus is an alternative input device to a mouse, which provides greater creative control, comfort, and allows you to be more artistic,” said Little.

Wacom’s products range from the Intuos Pen starting at $79, to the Cintiq 24HD Touch Creative Pen Display for $2,999. Animators at Disney, Pixar and Portland-based Laika are using Wacom products, as are designers at Adidas and Nike, engineers at automobile companies, artists at video game companies – even hospitals use them.

Wacom Vancouver

Founded in Tokyo in 1983, Wacom has 155 employees in Vancouver and more than 1,200 employees worldwide. The company’s Vancouver facility, which was established in 1991 and expanded about five years ago, covers both North and South America and is responsible for sales, marketing, engineering and software development for both continents. Little commented that the driver software that runs each Wacom tablet is developed by software engineers in Vancouver.

Wacom chose Vancouver, Little said, because of its proximity to Japan, as well as the climate and community.

Wacom-5“It’s a good place to be,” he said, noting that access to a large international airport and maritime shipping lanes were also contributing factors.

The company is also a partner with the city of Vancouver’s IPZ (Innovation Partnership Zone) initiative, to help spur economic growth through the digital technology sector.

Innovative technology

As he gave a tour of the facilities at Wacom Vancouver, Little mentioned that very few of the company’s employees use mice anymore.

“Maybe in the accounting department they still do, but most everyone else has switched to Wacom tablets,” he said. Little then gave a demonstration with a Cintiq tablet, and commented that whenever he was required to use a mouse, it felt awkward to him.

Using the tablet and pen, Little wrote a short message as quickly as someone would with a pen and paper. As he erased the message, his hand involuntarily brushed against the surface of the tablet screen, like he was brushing away eraser dust.

“That’s really not uncommon,” he said, laughing. “We get people doing that a lot.”
According to Little, the switch to a pen-and-tablet interface from a mouse is uneasy at first, but becomes more natural the more you use it.

Darren Higgins, a commercial photographer at Wacom’s Vancouver facility, said he has not used a mouse in 19 years.

“It seems almost archaic, like going back in time,” he said.

Looking to the future, Wacom sees continued growth for the company and all of its product lines.

“We will continue to build products for a creative world,” noted Little. “From new styluses, like our Bamboo series for tablet users, to our Cintiq interactive pen displays for professional creators of digital content. Wacom Americas (Vancouver, WA) is hiring for a variety of positions to support our global efforts.”

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