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Internet Service Providers--Speed of Light

October 2000

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." —a Western Union internal memo, circa 1876.

Sound vaguely familiar?

There are many in the graphic arts industry who have said the same thing about the promise of the Internet. But, in reality, the Internet is becoming intertwined in the commercial printing industry. One area that has seen the most change is the way printers communicate, not only with their customers, but with their employees. By integrating the Internet into their overall business strategies, printers will see a savings in time and money, as well as faster turnaround times and better customer service. This month, Printing Impressions takes a look at three Internet-based solutions that streamline communication.
The Graphic Arts Broadcast Network ( offers users the ability to hold live or taped interactive Webcasts for events such as internal meetings, sales calls and educational seminars. GABNet is the first streaming multimedia communication Application Service Provider (ASP) for the graphic arts industry, explains David Hawkins, president of

Printers can integrate GABNet into their overall Web strategy by offering their clients access to events such as live and recorded demonstrations, online customer meetings and customer educational events. Busy clients can log onto a printer's Website at their leisure and access a printer's seminar or product demonstration. GABNet also offers clients behind-the-scenes technical help, such as video encoding services, video transmission feeds, Website integration, video hosting and delivery, and videotaping and production services.

While GABNet can be a powerful customer service tool, it can also be used internally as a way to lower costs, says Hawkins. GABNet offers users the ability to host meetings over the Internet in real-time. Multiple participants can interact with each other from their workstations no matter where they are in the country. "One user told me that he saved between $12,000 and $15,000 in expenses by hosting his sales meeting on GabNet, Hawkins reveals.

The GABNet technology is also utilized at the Website. GraphicsResourceCenter, which owns GABNet, is an industry portal that offers news, job postings, virtual trade shows and a host of Webcast demonstrations, trade show seminars and news conferences. It also provides access to industry experts and a large online library of research, case studies and white papers, according to Hawkins.

One GABNet user is the Research & Engineering Council of the Graphic Arts Industry. The R&E Council has been using GABNet to increase its membership reach by recording its annual binding, finishing and distribution seminars. Now, members who cannot attend the workshop have the ability to access the seminar by logging onto the R&E Council's Website and downloading it to their computers, says Ron Mihills, R&E Council managing director. "Our membership response has been very positive," remarks Mihills. "In today's business environment, it's becoming more and more difficult to find the time to travel to seminars. Really, our biggest competitor is time. By putting these presentations on the Website, we increase our reach—because members can view them at their leisure."


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