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DIGITAL digest

August 2007
EFI Connects With Record Number of Users

LAS VEGAS—Reaffirming its status as one of the largest graphic arts users groups, the Eighth Annual EFI Connect Conference recently drew nearly 1,500 attendees to the Wynn Hotel & Resort. That made it the biggest turnout ever for the conference, and is still impressive even given that the total registration included 250 EFI employees, a number of sponsor partners and a smattering of journalists.

Connect is well-designed to deliver an effective mix of stimulating and informative keynotes, an extensive array of educational sessions and networking activities. Topics of the 160 sessions ran the gamut from EFI’s MIS systems and Web-to-print offerings, to Fiery, VUTEk superwide format and Jetrion ink-jet printing.

In his opening keynote, CEO Guy Gecht identified the “Big Five” trends he believes will shape the printing industry and define its future success.

• Consolidation—fewer players providing more services.

• The power of information and the Internet—companies need to have access to the right information at the right time to make the right business decisions; they need to automate; and they need to connect bidirectionally with customers. They can also take advantage of the Internet to expand geographic reach.

• Digital printing—allowing service providers to leverage demand for shorter runs, faster turn times and one-to-one communications.

• Industrial printing—taking digital printing to the next level to produce out-of-home advertising, packaging, labels and tags, and textiles.

• Going “green”—not an option anymore, but a necessity.

Zipping through more than 100 slides in an hour, Mark Olin, senior vice president and general manager, EFI Professional Printing Applications, provided a marathon product update. Olin reported that EFI’s development efforts are focused on delivering solutions and capabilities that streamline estimating/order entry, manage transaction volume, integrate management and content workflow, enhance user interfaces and infrastructure, and implement market-driven workflows.

The company continues to build common components that can be used across multiple products to optimize its development efforts and time to market. Many applications are being migrated to a browser-based interface, making them more portable and easier to use.

Specific developments highlighted by Olin include integration of both XMPie’s PersonalEffects and Printable’s FusionPro variable data technologies into many of EFI’s applications to offer users options for easily entering the lucrative one-to-one and cross-media markets. Also, significant upgrades to Digital Storefront make it easier for printers to implement e-commerce capabilities.

Connect provided a good perspective on the overall progress of EFI, which was also reflected in key performance numbers it shared during the conference—1.4 million Fiery installations, 10,000 MIS customers and 2,000 VUTEk printers installed.
 

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