Exploring the Digital World

  • Realize that customers will pay a higher price for digital printing if they believe firmly in its benefits.

    Other speakers urged attendees to think in new ways. In “Making a Big Impression: Large Format, Short Run Digital Printing,” Barry R. Lathan, president of Xerox ColorgrafX, said this niche promises high growth, with the market expected to reach $19 billion by the year 2000.

    Lathan added that since digital printing provides low-cost short runs, it is well-suited for applications such as billboards, which can now be updated on a weekly basis, giving advertisers more value for their money.

    One of the products Lathan touted as most promising was electrostatic labels up to 54˝, used for applications such as one-way graphics on windows and buses, kiosk advertising and trade show graphics.

    During “Where On-demand and Variable Printing Fit in a Commercial Business,” Brian P. Lawler, a graphic arts industry consultant, discussed ways to bring variable printing into an existing print business.

    He noted that most printers don’t want “to be seen as being in the copy business, but Kinko’s is getting into the printing business.” Lawler added that many corporations that didn’t buy commercial printing because of the cost are now using digital on-demand printing.

    In his session, “Internet Enabled Printing,” Dr. Ted Prince, chairman and CEO of INSCI, noted that the Internet and printing are converging, resulting in a number of hybrid products with value-added services.

    Prince quoted an Xplor survey that showed online commerce was the top future investment of 58 percent of responding companies. The same survey showed that approximately half of respondents were integrating printing and document management, and 25 percent are using e-mail as an alternative to high-volume printing. He stressed that successful companies of the future will need to redefine their markets, products and competitors.

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