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On Demand Shows Latest Digital Offerings

June 2003
By Bob Neubauer and Mike Llewellyn

NEW YORK—Approximately 27,200 attendees criss-crossed the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center recently to see the latest digital printing equipment at the 10th annual On Demand Digital Printing & Publishing Conference.

The exhibit hall seemed much larger this year, due in part to On Demand's co-location with the AIIM Conference & Exposition. As a result, there were 438 exhibitors, compared with 150+ at last year's show.

Two of the show's largest exhibitors, Xerox and Heidelberg, had adjoining booths, with the Xerox iGen3 sitting directly across the aisle from Heidelberg's NexPress 2100. Other large exhibit areas were hosted by Canon USA, HP Indigo, IBM, IKON Office Solutions, Océ Printing Systems USA and Ricoh, among others.

Despite all the hardware at the show, some of the biggest focuses were of the intangible variety.

Xerox unveiled a new digital workflow strategy, expanded its collaboration with Electronics For Imaging (EFI) and became a partner in a Creo initiative to create an integrated production workflow process.

Heidelberg talked as much about inventive ways it can help printers drive profitability as it did about its products, and launched its Professional Services Group to aid in this task.

Front ends got as much attention at On Demand as the printers they drove:

Heidelberg announced ImageSmart 2.2 software with a PDF-based workflow for its Digimaster products.

Creo's Spire color servers were printing to both the Xerox iGen3 and the DocuColor 6060 at Creo's booth.

Xeikon introduced version 3.6 of its IntelliStream digital front end.

On the hardware side, several printers were introduced or revamped to handle a greater variety of substrates, including very lightweight paper. There were also a few new entries into the category that show founder Charlie Pesko, of CAP Ventures, called the "universal copier/printer" in his keynote address: devices that output both color and monochrome pages at competitive costs with dedicated color and monochrome printers.

Become 'Super-efficient'

During the educational portion of On Demand, CAP Ventures set the tone at a sunrise breakfast meeting. To survive in today's printing industry, says Associate Consultant Terry Frazier, every printing business must focus on becoming a Super-efficient Organization (SEO).

Borrowing the term from other industries in the manufacturing sector, Frazier claims a tough market and Internet technology make it essential for printers to rethink the nature of their business and focus less on quality printing (which they already do well) and more on cutting costs, adding value and integrating all services.
 

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