2012 Preview: A Trade Show Redefined
He's not alone in that assessment. Bill Lamparter, president of PrintCom Consulting Group, believes the show is playing to its strengths. "GASC is rolling with the times and doing an intelligent thing in making Graph Expo a meeting and learning type event," he says. "If you take a close look at the seminar programs, you'll see they've shifted in emphasis. For a printer sitting in the weeds who says 'I'm not going because I'm not going to buy any equipment,' that's the wrong mindset. This is your chance to get information in certain topic areas where you need education."
Jim Hamilton, production group director for InfoTrends, feels there will be ample story lines to follow in Chicago from an exhibitor standpoint. Some dramas began to play themselves out before Germany and may impact what is seen next month: Eastman Kodak selling some of its intellectual property; Heidelberg in the post-Bernhard Schreier era; Benny Landa and the Nanographic printing process; and the fact that some technologies displayed in Germany won't be available for at least another year.
More specifically, Hamilton expects to see some exciting developments on the color inkjet end, B2-format digital and short-run packaging. But with Landa and other technologies still in process, he wonders what will satiate printers' desires for the near term.
"This begs the question: What currently available digital print, workflow and finishing options can my shop implement today to help automate processes, drive innovative applications and create new business opportunities?" Hamilton asks.
He offers one caveat: B2-format digital products can't get by on being offset clones. "To succeed, this next generation of products needs to incorporate these features: automatic duplex, the ability to draw from multiple paper sources and connectivity to in-line finishing," he says. "I don't believe that B2-format digital devices will succeed if they have conventional offset feed and delivery units."