Open Enrollment | Subscribe to Printing Impressions HERE
Connect
Follow us on
Advertisement
 

Seybold.com

March 2000
The sea of e-commerce companies is expanding; Seybold Boston was wired, so to speak, to the Internet. printCafe, a new Internet endeavor, captured the most attention at the Boston show last month, but so did new digital workflows, color management tools and Adobe's latest—a bridge for PDF.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


Walking into Seybold Boston last month it seemed almost unbelievable that the words Internet and startup are still synonymous. Everywhere you looked, it was dotcom this, dotcom that—if you stood still too long, you were at serious risk of finding a dotcom appearing after your last name on your Seybold badge.

Then again, that might not be such a horrible discovery. Dotcom companies have targeted commercial printing. They are investing millions upon millions to bring print procurement via the Internet to the printer/print buyer relationship, to attract commercial printers to the Internet for supply purchasing, and to push job tracking and other administrative tasks onto the World Wide Web. It might not be such a bad idea to be a part of an endeavor this energized.

Perhaps the biggest announcement at Seybold Boston, or for certain the announcement most promoted with banners and posters, was a new (you guessed it) e-commerce solution for the printing and publishing industry. But this one is coming from a familiar name in CTP—Creo—linking with familiar names in the computerized management system arena: AHP, Prograph, Programmed Solutions, Logic, Hagen and, to be announced in more detail, Banta Integrated Media. The creation is printCafe, an Internet-based, business-to-business communication solution tailored specifically for the graphic arts industry.

The new company will capitalize on the strong synergies that exist between Creo and Prograph, each of which brings significant technology and product developments to the table, according to company officials. printCafe's goal is to offer an end-to-end, Web-based, digital infrastructure for the entire publishing and printing cycle.

By capitalizing on e-commerce and software technologies, printCafe plans to serve up an integrated communication and job management system that brings highly automated efficiency to the entire supply chain. printCafe will be geared towards enhancing existing print relationships, improving communications and adding maximum value at all points in the production process. Advanced Web-based and software solutions will enable printers, trade shops and print buyers to specify virtually any type of print project, obtain estimates, manage business-to-business transactions, monitor ERP information, plan all stages of the production process, track the status of a project in real-time, manage invoicing and payments, and generate a broad range of performance reports.

An Emerging Force
As part of the arrangement, Marc Olin and William Guttman, current co-CEOs of Prograph Systems, will take on the new roles of co-CEOs of printCafe. Prograph Systems will consolidate and transfer its comp-any infrastructure, resources and customer base into printCafe, with worldwide distribution and support to be available through Creo.

Also during Seybold Boston, Banta Integrated Media, the Cambridge, MA-based provider of enterprise content management and e-business software and services, signed a letter of intent to form a marketing and technology alliance with printCafe. Like printCafe's agreements with AHP, Hagen, Programmed Solutions and Logic, the agreement with Banta Integrated Media involves both a technology swap and a product marketing relationship.

printCafe is a bold move for Creo, especially for the company to take the role of orchestrator—creating a new harmony for stark competitors in the computer management systems market, particularly Hagen, Logic and Programmed Solutions. Will printCafe help print buyers and printers improve communications, in addition to adding maximum value at all points during the production process, with printCafe's virtual army of printing management systems? Don't bet money against it. This is one hot ticket. Stay tuned to printCafe throughout 2000.

On the Internet. . .
Noosh and Vio Worldwide announced an agreement to develop and implement the seamless integration of the noosh.com service and Vio's global media production and distribution service for the graphic arts community. The goal of the integration is to allow joint users of the Vio service and noosh.com to send files using the Vio service without leaving the noosh.com interface. In addition, joint users will obtain the benefit of accessing portions of a file associated with a print job created within noosh.com without leaving the Vio interface, and keeping track of production files through both noosh.com and the Vio service.

In other Noosh news, Noosh and Digital Art Exchange (DAX) announced that the two companies have entered into an agreement to cooperate in marketing Noosh's print management solution and DAX's Internet and managed network services. The DAX solution includes hardware, software and Internet access.

Impresse announced support for Apple's ColorSync, enabling impresse.com users to achieve color consistency across media, regardless of digital devices used. This includes scanners, monitors, desktop proofing printers and presses.

Impresse also announced a new relationship with PaperExchange.com, a global e-business marketplace for the pulp and paper industry. The strategic agreement leverages the synergies between the two companies' e-services, allowing print buyers and printers using the impresse.com service easy access to e-commerce capabilities via PaperExchange.com's Trading Floor, providing them with a new source of paper specification and sourcing.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will also build a new common data definition between their two business-to-business e-commerce services and PaperExchange.com will provide tutorial content about commercial printing papers for the impresse.com service.

PrintNation.com had a strong presence at Seybold, reinforcing the company's position as a one-stop business-to-business e-commerce supersite for the commercial printing industry.

David Steinhardt, a 17-year veteran of printing associations, has just joined PrintNation.com as vice president of industry relations.

Collabria released PrintCommerce eTracker, a collaborative, online system for managing the print production process from job initiation through fulfillment. eTracker is the latest addition to Collabria's suite of e-business solutions for the creation, ordering and management of print projects. An online project management system, eTracker allows all members of a print project team to work together via a secure Internet Website.

Imation had some Internet-related news of its own with its release of Verifi, an Internet color technology that will enable online shoppers to more confidently purchase products, such as cosmetics, apparel, home furnishings—anywhere color accuracy is integral to the purchasing decision. Based on Imation's proven color management technology, the Imation Verifi color system was publicly demonstrated for the first time at Seybold.

Off the 'Net
Believe it or not, there was news at Seybold Boston that didn't involve the Internet. Major announcements came from Adobe, which launched Adobe Acrobat InProduction, a bridge from document creation to reliable PDF output. InProduction is based on Adobe Acrobat 4.0.5 and features a tightly integrated toolset for improved productivity, increased reliability and enhanced control over PDF preflight, color separation and conversion, trim/bleed settings and Adobe in-RIP trapping parameters.

Built for the print production professional, InProduction enables PDF files to be processed easily and reliably through a color printing workflow. Look for a more in-depth analysis of InProduction in the April issue of Printing Impressions. InProduction also earned a Seybold "Hot Pick" at the show.

In other news, Adobe, Agfa, Heidelberg and MAN Roland announced the creation of a new Web-compatible publishing and graphic arts job ticket standard: the Job Definition Format (JDF). This is a new electronic job ticket specification designed to bring significant new levels of process automation, collaborative workflow and asset management to both print and cross-media publishing markets.

JDF is being positioned as an open, scalable, Web-compatible job ticket standard that is built on the success of market-proven standards like the CIP3 PPF (Print Production Format) and upward compatible to de facto standards like Adobe's PDF and PJTF (Portable Job Ticket Format).

What sets this JDF apart? Modern graphic arts professionals are faced with production systems from a myriad of vendors, each with their own unique messaging, file management, job tracking and workflow formats.

Few if any of these systems sufficiently link the content authoring, editorial or project review process with the backend production and output systems required to create film, plates or directly printed output. Reportedly, none of the systems available today are able to cover the complete workflow from content creation and prepress through the print shop up to the post-processing area of media production, including possibilities to exchange all the relevant job description data between the planning and business support systems.

JDF has been designed to fill this gap, and is being launched as an open, object-oriented, XML framework for passing information or metadata about a job and its unique characteristics from one set of processes or systems to another. The JDF specification will be published by the four companies and made widely available to all interested OEMs, third parties and end users via its Website: www.job-definition-format.org.

Other Than Adobe
Harlequin and Harris Publishing Systems announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership to develop and distribute a new generation of digital workflow solutions based on Harris' MAXWorkFlow digital output management solution and Harlequin's RIP technologies. By blending Harlequin's technologies and extensive global OEM sales and distribution resources with the multi-featured capabilities of Harris' MAXWorkFlow tool, this joint initiative will result in a series of products designed to enable plug-and-play digital workflow solutions.

printCafe was not the only new name to come on the scene at the show. A new entry into the graphic arts and printing industry, Aurelon USA made its official company and product debut at the show, earning a Seybold "Hot Pick" for its new software technology, the nColor Engine, which controls color values between multiple devices and device types by automatically converting output to match a desired color target. Aurelon launched its initial product offerings based on the unique nColor Engine: DeskCheck Studio, DeskCheck Calibrator and ScreenCheck—products that automatically generate high-quality proofs for less than $5, in five minutes, on the desktop.

Quark showed eStage, a new media-independent publishing system, which also earned a coveted "Hot Pick" at the show. eStage is a database-driven publishing system that addresses the production needs of the direct marketing, retail and catalog industries. The eStage software lets content builders, such as merchandizers, access and stage content from multiple databases.

eStage also leverages XML in exchanging content with third-party applications. By keeping content separate from design, eStage allows publishing in both print and Web formats.

Imation showed its new Matchprint ink-jet system for use with the HP DesignJet ColorPro GA printer. By using Matchprint color RIP software, Imation Matchprint ink-jet papers, an HP DesignJet ColorPro GA printer and HP inks, Imation officials contend that creative professionals can now create concept proofs which simulate Imation Matchprint contract proofs.

Heidelberg and Creo developed jointly a new plug-in for Adobe Acrobat Distiller that enhances and streamlines PDF. The new plug-in is user-installable and available for download free of charge at www.prinergy.com. The new Distiller plug-in optimizes the benefits of digital workflow systems based on PDF version 1.3.

Markzware debuted new features within FlightCheck version 3.0 for Windows. This upgrade adds preflight support for native CorelDRAW and continued support for QuarkXPress, PageMaker, Photoshop, Multi-Ad Creator and PDF, plus improved handling of Illustrator and Freehand files. It also sports a new optimized user interface, and built-in support for automatic job element collection into compressed ZIP files.

Screen (USA) announced its new Web browser-operated PDF workflow solution, Trueflow. Developed in cooperation with Adobe, Trueflow uses the latest PostScript 3 interpreter handling Adobe PDF 1.3, as well as a preflight module.

Two versions of Trueflow will be available, both running Windows NT on Intel Pentium platforms. Trueflow's standard features include automatic job processing using a Job Ticket workflow and direct interpretation and RIPing of PDF 1.3. Other features include preflight checking, automatic trapping, imposition and RIPed PDF file output.

X-Rite demonstrated its new Colortron, an all-in-one measurement, communication and color control device. The Colortron IIc now features a new measurement foot allowing easier targeting of source colors, increased measurement reliability and repeatability, improved power supply architecture with the elimination of on-board batteries and up to 30 percent faster measurement speed.

Imation and GretagMacbeth announced an agreement that will enable Imation to integrate GretagMacbeth's color profiling tools with its wide range of color management, color proofing, training and service solutions to help graphic arts professionals secure accurate, consistent color from concept to output. Under the agreement, Imation will make GretagMacbeth's ProfileMaker software available throughout North America and select countries in Europe and Latin America.

In other Imation news, Imation showcased a comprehensive portfolio of solutions, including live demonstrations of Matchprint laser proof, Matchprint ink-jet and Matchprint color laser systems.

IPTech exhibited TurboRIP 2.1, a multi-platform, high-performance RIP that features Adobe PostScript 3 with in-RIP trapping technology.

A new name—Xaar, a UK-based manufacturer new to the U.S. digital prepress market, demonstrated the RasterGraphics PiezoPrint 5000tx large-format ink-jet printer that uses Xaar dye sublimation inks to deliver high quality output on textiles. The PiezoPrint 5000tx incorporates 18 of Xaar's XJ128 printheads in a 309-dpi implementation. Three heads are used for each of the six colors in the machine's Super CMYK process that adds light cyan and light magenta to widen the color gamut.

Dynagram Software launched DynaStrip 3.0 digital stripping software, redesigned for the Macintosh. Featuring a simplified interface with the same flexibility, this version can accept composite or separated PostScript files from any application or platform, and easily adapts to mainstream workflows.

LizardTech, a developer of imaging technologies, announced that MrSID will be integrated into Lantana Research Software's two PDF-based software products for Adobe Acrobat. MrSID is a wavelet-based technology that is said to make images extremely portable for fast transmission and easily repurposed for cross media applications without compromising quality. Lantana's Crackerjack 3.1, which began shipping in February, enables color production workflows with PDF documents. With the integration of MrSID, Crackerjack can automatically output high-quality separations of MrSID image source data for process color printing. Lantana's PDF Image Works will permit image editing and manipulation of PDF images while they appear in the PDF document.

OneVision unveiled its newest plug-in module—PlugSPOTin—for use with OneVision's Asura and Solvero software systems. PlugSPOTin replaces user-selected colors with user-defined spot colors from any color space, including CMYK, RGB, Lab or grayscale. Using customer-defined rules for tolerance and tone, users select the color to change and target spot color. PlugSPOTin reproduces the selected file with corresponding tonal values of the target spot color.

In other news from OneVision, the company announced the rollout of the imposition editor Secare. Developed for the high-end prepress industry, Secare imposition editing software is input and output device independent.

Pageflex announced it is shipping Version 2.0 of Mpower, its marketing-on-demand solution. Mpower's new Librarian module allows users to publish documents from existing content stored in files and folders. A new XML content source interface means that it can now be integrated easily with any existing digital asset manager, including systems from Canto and Banta Integrated Media.

Canto released Cumulus Browser, the third new option available as part of the Cumulus 5 product line. Targeting creative, printing and corporate communications professionals, the Cumulus Browser allows Cumulus users to make in-house catalogs of assets accessible via royalty free application on portable media. Features of the new Cumulus Browser include browser editing, customizing and e-commerce options.

SGI showcased the SGI Internet Server, designed for ISPs, ASPs and collocation facilities. The Linux OS-based server is a completely integrated serving solution designed to provide quick deployment for high-growth environments.

Features of the SGI Internet Server include Web-based tools to streamline installation, troubleshooting and networking, as well as security lockdown and intrusion detection software.

Agfa, Creo and Heidelberg announced open system connectivity that will enable the Agfa Apogee and Heidelberg/Creo Prinergy workflow management solutions to support Agfa, Creo and Heidelberg/Creo engines. This announcement underscores the companies' commitment to open PDF-based digital workflows for the printing industry.

Prinergy currently supports a connection to the Agfa Avantra imagesetters, using raster-screened DCS2 files via the Apogee PDF RIP. This new level of connectivity will enable Prinergy to support Agfa proofers, imagesetters and platesetters through an interface with the Apogee PrintDrive module. Similarly, the Agfa Apogee workflow solution will be able to support output to Creo and Heidelberg/Creo imaging devices through the Creo Recorder Interface (CRI). The Apogee system will send 1-bit TIFF files with Agfa Balanced Screens to the CRI—the same interface used by Prinergy and other third-party front ends—which will image the files on Creo or Heidelberg/Creo output devices.
 

COMMENTS

Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments: