GRAPH EXPO & CONVERTING EXPO 2003--Prepress and Digital Printin
What generated the biggest buzz was the joint announcement made by the then 27 current member companies (see below) of the Networked Graphic Production (NGP) partners strategic initiative. The group says it is committed to achieving real-world, JDF-based integration of the entire printing workflow. DRUPA 2004, naturally, has been set as a target date.
Irrespective of whether or not one buys into the concept, NGP is worth considering in some detail because it provides a microcosm of the potential issues involved in the industry's implementation of JDF.
Despite having taken its name from a solutions strategy trademarked by Creo Inc., the partners insist this is an industry-wide initiative open to all vendors. The notable absence of some major players called into question just how truly "open" the program is by intent or in effect.
All partners have an equal standing and the initiative isn't owned by anyone, asserts Amos Michelson, Creo's CEO. The only requirement for membership is a commitment to the goals of the group and a willingness to do the work, he adds.
Questions also were raised about why such an initiative was needed from a technical standpoint, given that JDF is by definition an interface specification and CIP4 is doing its own interoperability testing (and, possibly, certification). The inferences, and sometimes overt charges, made by skeptics were that the initiative was simply a marketing ploy and/or an attempt to gain competitive advantage through exclusion.
The group press release offers what could pass for a mission statement: "Increased efficiencies through automation, integration and cross-vendor interoperability is the main goal of Networked Graphic Production. This is made possible through the definition of a standardized set of NGP interfaces, based on the JDF standard. By adopting this JDF interface, each of the NGP partner solutions are able to communicate with one another, thereby creating an NGP family of plug-and-play solutions that can be combined together to provide a seamless flow of job and production data across the entire production process."
- Adobe Systems
- Agfa Graphics
- CGS Publishing Technologies
- DALiM Software
- DiMS! organizing print
- DuPont Imaging Technologies
- Eastman Kodak
- Enfocus Software
- Epson America
- FUJIFILM Graphic Systems Div.
- KBA North America
- manroland Inc.
- Muller Martini
- Presstek Inc.
- PRIMAC Systems, Vercom Software
- Radius Solutions
- Streamline Solutions
- Xerox Corp.