Drupa 08, From Ink Jet to Green
Most have dubbed drupa 2008 the “ink-jet drupa,” and while many would agree that most new product releases and announcements have focused on ink jet applications, there are others. The pace of product introductions has slowed at drupa, and at other shows—but not because there is less innovation in our industry—because modern marketing won’t permit releases of new technology every four years, or even annually for that matter. Conversely, markets today require access to new products and innovations much quicker than in the past, so the days of “waiting” for drupa, PRINT, IPEX or IGAS are over. When a product is ready for market it goes to market. So despite the perception of many that the pace of innovation is slower, it’s as strong as ever—only the pace of the announcements has changed.
Yes, although ink jet was big at drupa 2008, others in our industry would do a far more credible job of explaining those and other technological developments. As a first time visitor to drupa my observations about the show focus on the business side of our industry. What I saw and learned at drupa revolved around five specific areas:
1. The Demise of Print is Premature. This drupa represents the largest exhibition our industry has ever seen, and the second largest gathering of graphic communications professionals—certainly not an indicator of an industry on a precipitous decline! While there are competitive threats to our industry, adaptation has always been the recipe for success. Consistent with show management’s reports, my visits to member booths confirmed that serious and committed buyers were buying equipment at the show.
2. Globalization Continues Unabated. It was easy to see the large (and serious) contingencies from India, China, Russia and Brazil at this year’s drupa. Delegations and exhibitors from some of those countries were nearly double the participation in 2004. But the real surprise was the newest groups of developing countries—the Middle East and Africa (MEA). Just like the BRIC countries mentioned earlier, this next group of global players are stepping up. In fact, member company Screen expected to sell more than 50 platesetters to MEA customers during the show!