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Print 05 & Converting 05 -- See the Unforeseen

August 2005
Sometimes, the beauty of acronyms is that they can be re-used. There may come a time, for example, when CTP stops meaning computer-to-plate or even computer-to-press and begins to mean "cerebral cortex-to-press."

At least, Cal Poly Professor Harvey Levenson believes it's possible. "Imagine thinking of an image and, through electrical signals naturally generated by the brain, the image is sent directly to a digital printing press where 50,000 copies of your thoughts are reproduced in perfect color," he says. You're laughing at Levenson? Remember, they also laughed at Fulton.

Laughing or not, tens of thousands of commercial, package printing and converting professionals will turn to next month's PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 exhibition for an early glimpse of things that will transform their business five, 10 or even more years down the road.

PRINT has a long track record for giving world-changing developments their first exposure. Remember color electronic prepress systems back in 1980? DI presses? Variable data digital imaging?

Every time a PRINT show approaches, industry executives, journalists, consultants and other would-be pundits put their minds to anticipating what surprises it will bring. Printing Impressions raised this question with a cross section of experienced industry observers: Moving beyond the anticipated, and beyond the incremental improvements of systems already well established, where might this year's "surprises" be coming from?

A few replied with some variant of "if we could foresee these developments, they wouldn't be unforeseen—now would they?" But others were willing to describe the view from out on the limb of their choice.

It's all opinion, of course. Nobody claims access to any privileged information or secret method of reading the industry's tea leaves.

By the Numbers

What's more, the show itself opens on September 9 at McCormick Place in Chicago, and visitors will have the chance to see for themselves. With roughly 750,000 square feet of exhibits staged by some 800 companies from all over the world, all of the latest and most important developments will be there.

And who knows? Perhaps the show's biggest headlines will turn out to be about something you saw here first.

"I'm struck by how seldom any more things really come out of left field," says veteran industry consultant Dennis Mason. "I think this represents a societal change, not a technological change. Companies, politicians, everyone has trouble keeping a secret today."

Information spreads through the industry faster and more widely than ever before, with the result that real surprises have become scarce, Mason feels. Nevertheless, he ventures a few projections.
 

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