LAS VEGAS—Approximately 1,300 attendees converged here from Jan. 19-22 to attend what has become one of the printing industry’s largest and longest-running user group events. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of EFI Connect being held at the Wynn, Las Vegas, gamblers and non-gamblers alike left the 2016 users’ conference armed with a deeper understanding of EFI’s MIS/ERP and Web-to-print software, its wide range of inkjet digital printers, as well as new production automation, workflow efficiency and business-building ideas.
That was all made possible thanks to more than 200 technical, sales and business management-oriented sessions—including hands-on labs, interactive customer feedback sessions, user meetings for EFI Productivity Suite and MIS/ERP core platforms, and a business development track hosted by InfoTrends analysts—coupled with ample networking and information sharing opportunities among attendees who represented many of the leading printing companies.
The sold-out conference led off with a welcome address by affable EFI CEO Guy Gecht, who has served in that role for the past 16 years. His opening keynote, titled “Guy’s Six Guidelines for Becoming a Jedi in the Business of Printing,” used analogies from the popular “Star Wars” movies franchise to emphasize changing industry, technology and societal dynamics.
“Bet on changes in market forces to accelerate,” he said, adding that continued business success for printing companies will require calculated risk taking, automated workflows and moving forward when opportunity knocks. “Doing nothing is a guarantee that you will be unsuccessful.”
Advising printers to look beyond paper in search of new product offerings and emerging markets like digital textile printing of soft signage, clothing, home décor and furnishings, Gecht also unveiled an online customer applications gallery (www.ImagingofThings.com), which will enable EFI customers to post images and videos of their work to an online forum targeted to print buyers and ad agencies seeking unique application ideas.
Gecht was followed by Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, who delivered a special keynote presentation at Connect in honor of the conference’s 10th anniversary at Wynn, Las Vegas. The hospitality industry and Las Vegas business legend provided a business lesson on his success, which he said ultimately depends on creating a culture where employees gain a sense of pride and enhanced self-esteem through their work.
Wynn described a “storytelling program” that encourages Wynn’s 12,000 employees to recount their good deeds and exemplary customer interactions with their managers during daily pre-shift meetings. Company-wide spotlight programs then highlight the most outstanding self-nominated workers to reinforce positive behavior. “I know I need these employees more than they need me,” Wynn stressed.
Building on the EFI Productivity Suites workflow platform announced at Connect last year—which was created to improve users’ productivity and efficiency through certified end-to-end workflows for specific segments—EFI promoted its Enterprise and Midmarket Commercial and Packaging suites. Three certified suites targeting the quick printing, publication printing and corrugated packaging segments debuted at Connect.
Connect 2016 also showcased EFI Fiery digital front end and software technologies for cutsheet digital printing, including previews of Fiery Command WorkStation 5.8 and the latest Fiery JobFlow digital print workflow automation software. Available this quarter, JobFlow is designed to deliver more efficient multi-job submission, extended third-party job processing, workflow sharing and enhanced usability.
In addition to highlighting workflow technologies, Connect’s solutions center featured top technologies in the EFI industrial inkjet portfolio, including high-end hybrid LED printers with variable-drop grayscale imaging and white ink. The exhibit floor also featured roll-to-roll LED printing technology from EFI’s recently acquired Matan product line.
Attendees saw a broader range of print application possibilities with the “Imaging of Things” theme by showcasing jobs produced on EFI’s Cretaprint ceramic tile printers, Jetrion narrow-web label printers and on the company’s recently acquired line of Reggiani textile printers.
Connect 2016 also featured exhibits from partner companies, including platinum sponsors Canon U.S.A. and Xerox; gold sponsor Duplo; and bronze sponsors 3M Commercial Graphics, AccuZIP, BCC Software, BondCote/Heytex Corp., Esko, Honle UV America, Kodak, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Lintec Corp., the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation, Progress Software and Ricoh Production Print. PI