Looking Ahead to the 2021 Wide-Format Summit
The Wide-Format Summit was supposed to launch last year in Austin, Texas. However, as we all know by now, that was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and like all in-person events in 2020, it was transitioned to a virtual experience, becoming the Wide-Format Summit Series, a comprehensive online event. For 2021, with the vaccines rolling out and restrictions starting to retreat, the official launch of the Wide-Format Summit will take place July 28-30, at the Hyatt Lost Pines in Texas.
First and foremost, know that the team has a robust plan in place to keep the entire event clean and safe. Everything from social distancing, to cleaning and sanitizing is being carefully reviewed and planned for with the event operations team and the event property. And while the exact plans will continue to change up until the live event, you can have confidence that it will adhere to the latest state and local regulations and guidelines — whatever they look like in July. For many, this smaller, more intimate, hosted event will be a great way to ease back into travel and industry events once more, and will be a chance to see faces that you’ve only talked to on screens for a year or more, with a forward-thinking program that touches on the most critical business issues PSPs face today as the industry rebounds.
The unique format of the summit is designed to serve “both sides of the aisle,” so to speak. While technology users are looking for information and guidance, suppliers are looking for ways to identify and develop relationships with qualified potential buyers. The Wide-Format Summit is designed to meet both of these needs. This is accomplished through an effective mix of educational sessions, smaller group case studies, 1:1 meetings, and an event setting that lends itself to networking and relationship-building.
“The print executives that I’ve been speaking to over the past few months cannot wait to get back to in-person networking events,” says Steve Duccilli, conference co-chair and VP, Wide-Format and Industrial Printing, NAPCO Media. “Virtually everyone I talk to is busy and shares an optimism about how strong the recovery will be. Of course, we’ll be taking all of the recommended safety precautions onsite. For any hosted attendees who aren’t able or permitted to travel come late July, we will have a virtual option that still allows them to participate.”
A Sneak Peek
So what is on the agenda for those who do attend? The 2021 lineup is designed to help you not only recover from the unprecedented challenges of the last year, but move forward into the second half of 2021 and beyond confident in your business and where it is headed.
A sneak peek at the agenda includes sessions such as:
- The Wide-Format Landscape and Preparing for the Surge Ahead, in which Marco Boer of I.T. Strategies will take a closer look at how wide-format printers can recover from the pandemic stronger than before.
- Four Topics the Wide-Format Industry Cannot Ignore will be a panel session led by Wide-Format Impressions Editor-in-Chief and Impressions Group Editorial Director Denise M. Gustavson that takes a closer look at some of the top trends impacting the wide-format market right now.
- Meeting the Needs of Tomorrow’s Buyers, featuring Nathan Safran, VP of NAPCO Research, will examine the changing demands from print buyers coming out of the pandemic based on a new, exclusive study, and how shops can not only stay on top of them, but get ahead of the game.
- Why People Are Your Biggest Challenge and Greatest Opportunity, presented by Brian Adam, president of Olympus Group and co-author of “Rules Of Engagement: A Guide To Better Communication And Better Relationships With Everyone Who Is Important To Your Business,” which will look at the unique workforce-related challenges facing print and all other industries today, and why those who create winning cultures stand to reap exponential awards.
- Color Measurement Metrics that Matter, presented by Ray Weiss, director of Digital Programs for the PRINTING United Alliance, which will probe into what CPG brand managers are really looking for in color repeatability from their PSPs as well as a quick overview of the standards that brands are tracking and certifications/training that can make a difference in your organization.
- The Art of Contingency Planning is a panel discussion that will include Elaine Scrima, VP of operations for GSP Retail; and Ben Ritacco, VP, Specialty Print & Fulfillment for CCG Marketing Solutions. If the past year has taught us nothing else, it’s that the unexpected can and will happen. This session will discuss how these shops rose above the challenges, with tips and tricks for how others can be prepared for the next big unexpected event, be it localized or industry-wide.
“At all of our Summits, we take a forward-thinking view about the key issues printers are facing and the proactive strategies they can implement, as well as the investments they should make in their businesses,” Duccilli says. “Those themes have taken on entirely new significance coming out of the pandemic. Each of these sessions will frame these important topics within the context of the recovery, but we will be looking ahead to the future – and we believe it will be bright.”
And that is just a small portion of the in-depth content planned. There will be additional keynote and general sessions, as well as boardroom-style case study presentations, where attendees with common interests will learn about solutions their peers have implemented to solve specific challenges, or attack new market opportunities.
Sponsors for the event this year include some of the biggest names in wide-format, including Agfa, Mimaki, Xeikon, HP, Fujifilm, Matik, swissQprint, Durst, EFI, Roland, Ricoh, Summa, Fisher Textiles, Advantage Innovations, Tilia Labs, and OneVision, with more signing on every week. They will each be available to attendees to have deep conversations about their technologies and where they fit into a successful shop, helping everyone who participates truly understand what makes each solution different, and which ones are right for them.
“This will be the first time in the long history of wide-format printing that an event like this has taken place,” Duccilli notes. “The agenda is jam-packed with content, and our format gives attendees the unique ability to learn not only in the educational sessions, but also from the top technology providers in the business — and from one another.”
The Wide-Format Summit is an all-inclusive, invitation-only experience for qualified attendees, with NAPCO picking up the costs for everything from the flight, to the hotel, to the food for the duration of the event.