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The Future of Automated e-Commerce--Harry Waldman

November 2000
I had to laugh when one seminar attendee said I was a windbag so full of hot air that he felt he was going into a melt down, because my wife has said the same thing to me before. But, so far, she hasn't gone into a melt down, at least not from the drone of my chatter.

However, many were enthusiastic and said I gave them much to think about. It was amazing just how diverse the comments on my talk at the Seybold Conference in San Francisco were. My impact appeared to range from "wow" to "get lost."

But, I think I sparked some controversy, some positive and some negative thinking, and hopefully kept most that attended the session awake. And now, like it or not, (it's my column) I have the key concepts here for you to read. So whether you agree or disagree, read it and let me know what you think, because I think this is going to become a reality sooner than we realize.

Got that?

In all likelihood my Seybold talk was to the wrong audience. It was supposed to be a seminar on preflighting, and most attendees were production-oriented types trying to learn more about how to tackle today's preflight concerns—and here I am talking about the explosion of totally automated, e-commerce short-run color printing in the near future.

What's the connection? Simple: totally automated, e-commerce short-run color printing will not work without totally automated, e-commerce preflight. If preflight ever had a manifest destiny, this is it.

Let me describe to you what I mean by totally automated, e-commerce short-run color printing. I can best do that by giving you one scenario that will reoccur countless times from a non-traditional source of business. This is good news for those geared to capitalize on what I believe to be a new market that will grow rapidly.

A real estate agent has just taken a digital picture of that great house she wants to sell. She loads the picture into her computer and, using Microsoft Publisher, creates a four-color flyer she wants printed and mailed immediately. Note that I said Microsoft Publisher and not the familiar QuarkXPress or the new Adobe InDesign. We in the graphic arts community immediately think of these two desktop publishing programs as the giants of the industry.

In reality, they are almost insignificant when compared to the number of copies of Publisher that are out there. And once what I'm describing becomes a reality they're going to get used. Let's proceed and see how.
 

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