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October 2002
SSF 2002 'Hot Picks' Reflect Shift in Focus


SAN FRANCISCO—Seybold Seminars built a reputation, in large part, by being the forum for introductions of the latest and greatest innovations in print communications. How far it has evolved away from its roots is evidenced by the "Hot Picks" report compiled by the Seybold Publications editors for the recent Seybold San Francisco 2002. Bad luck and timing impacted attendance at last year's event, but light representation from the print community was expected again this year because of this shift in focus.

More than 100 submissions reportedly were received for consideration as "must-see" products on the show flow. The "Hot Picks" roundup published by the editors of Seybold Reports broke the 16 selected products down into seven categories:

While acknowledging a shift in attention to online publishing applications, the editors note that "putting ink (or toner) on paper remains a core activity in publishing, one increasingly influenced by digital devices." Canon was picked as having a must-see product in the "Digital Printing" category even though the details were embargoed until its introduction at the show. However, the company did say the announcement from its Imaging Systems Group was targeted to the professional graphic arts and print-for-pay industries and "will raise the standard for performance, productivity and ease-of-use in the color printing marketplace."

Integration Recognized

Also picked in this category was the JDF Development Platform from Objective Advantage. It is a tool kit that reportedly enables developers to more easily integrate JDF, JMF and PrintTalk support into their Web, client/server and embedded applications.

PDF support is the common denominator in "Prepress Workflow" developments, according to Seybold Reports. All jokes aside, the editors were impressed with PuzzleFlow from Poland-based AC&C HSH Group. The PDF-based, client/server workflow system is said to process files in native format.

Artwork Systems has developed an entirely new workflow system, code-named Odyssey, for small- to mid-sized operations. The modular, hot folder-driven system is based on Mac OS X and utilizes PDF 1.4 as its internal file format. Its release is scheduled for late 2002 or early 2003.

StudioWorkhorse from the Workhorse Group is unique because it is specifically designed for dealing with images, the editors say. The system is based on the Cold Fusion MX Server and Microsoft SQL Server, running under Windows 2000.

According to the Hot Picks report, Xinet has upgraded its OPI server product—FullPress—with an array of features for optimizing PostScript and PDF workflows. The company was expected to preview functionality for the incorporation of the PDF/X-1a format, with automatic conversion of linked or referenced images into CMYK using designated ICC profiles.

The editors see "Content Management" being taken in new directions at SSF 2002. Documentum was recognized for the new client software interface (Digital Asset Manager or DAM) to its enterprise content management (ECM) system. FileNet's Process Analyzer is said to be a business analytics processing tool for the company's suite of content and document management technologies.

According to the report, "Enterprise Content Integration" solutions integrate existing content repositories and media-handling systems rather than replacing them with one master system. Agari Mediaware's Media Star 2.2 system is described as middleware that creates a "Media Bus" interface, which makes the functions of specific systems open to the enterprise. Context Media offers Interchange Platform, which is said to act akin to a control center for content with a centralized catalog as its foundation.

Creating New Tasks

Increasingly, creative professionals are undertaking tasks that were formerly the domain of production personnel, the Seybold editors note. That trend was reflected by their picks in the "Tools for Creatives" category. Adobe InCopy 2.0 was selected for helping to "drive a market transition from dependence on Quark to reliance on Adobe In-Design for pagination." Likewise, Markzware's HawkEye technology puts preflighting capabilities directly in the hand of creatives via a plug-in for popular desktop content-creation applications.

"Specialty Tools" are products that serve niche or specialized markets and do not readily fit into any general category. One example cited was MathPlayer 1.0, a math viewer for Microsoft Internet Explorer developed by Design Science. The free player is said to enable the Windows versions of Explorer to properly display Math Markup Language-encoded text in a Web page.

It may say "Made in China" on the bottom, but the editors also liked FounderFIT from Founder Electronics. The comprehensive publishing system is designed for high-volume, data-driven applications, such as retail advertising, newspapers and other publications. XML data from Oracle and other databases can be automatically imported into, or exported from, a layout.

The trend in "Displays" is toward development of accurate, stable monitors for soft proofing and color-critical judgments. New offerings from Formac and Sony Electronics caught their collective eye.

More complete descriptions of the "Hot Pick" products can be found at www.seyboldreports.com.
 

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