Hamilton--How Far Away Is Remote Proofing?
These technologies need careful handling, but are definitely viable and can generate very accurate results; that is, they can serve as a close indicator of the final printed sheet. DuPont was first to see the potential with this type of device and created commercial and publication stocks. Now Minolta is partnering with Imation to offer a complete system called the Color Laser System that will use its toner-based engines to do the same thing.
Further, while the widespread notion that color management is a drag-and-drop technology is patently false, the fact of the matter is that there are a number of inexpensive and good tools that can be used to measure targets and make profiles. But the accuracy of such systems is proportional to the diligence exercised in maintaining them. Unfortunately, this is not something that fits in well with either the creative environment or its tendency to work right up to the deadline.
Although printers and prepress companies can take responsibility for setting up the initial profiles and providing targets for specific paper/ink/press conditions, these types are not the most stable systems and, therefore, require constant calibration.
The final issue is the actual means of delivery—the pipes. In the major metropolitan areas, T-1 lines are now relatively inexpensive, running somewhere around $700 a month, which is not all that many messenger trips or FedEx shipments. For those not located in the big cities, as well as smaller shops that can't afford T-1 lines, DSL is starting to make its way into the market and, partly in response to this, cable television providers have started offering modems in some markets. And of course, there are the private networks or telecom service providers, including DAX, DGNOnline, Vio and WAM!NET. All of them are incorporating tools to add value to their services.