Hamilton--Glimpses of the Future
DRUPA is an event where R&D meets the real world and printing suppliers can validate their hunches as to what will be their next generation of successful new products.
So why should anyone get all excited about seeing canned demos of technologies that, at best, won't be available for a few years?
Because it's the only venue where you can begin to map out a long-term strategy for technology investments. To be sure, the map will provide incomplete and occasionally erroneous directions, but it's better than going on hunches alone. And since everyone is pretending to see the future, the collective wisdom—and folly—actually provides its own measure of reason from which to judge what you see on the show floor.
Not only that, but DRUPA is the only trade show where all the vendors pull out all the stops. PRINT is big. IPEX is big, IGAS is big. But none of these "global" print exhibitions is even close when it comes to capturing the attention—and pocketbook—of the vendor community. While elaborate booths and great parties are nice touches, they are just the frosting. The cake is on the floor itself in the numerous configurations that will be running live for more than two weeks.
The bottom line is that there is no other single venue where a printer or prepress specialist could ever hope to see and compare so many different systems. Actually, the problem for most printers is that they just don't have enough time, energy or mental capacity to take in as much information as the vendor community wants to provide. After five or six days, the feet are worn out and the mental storage disks filled to capacity. Videocassettes provide some off-line storage, but not nearly enough.
Whereas computer-to-plate imaging was the highlight of DRUPA 95, it is likely that direct-to-press will command considerable attention at DRUPA 2000. Not only will a variety of on-press imaging systems be demonstrated by the major vendors, it's also likely that there will be some interesting demonstrations by nontraditional press suppliers such as Indigo, Xeikon and Xerox.