How Automated is your Workflow Automation?

Pat McGrew
Jan 13, 2017

There are still a few more items in the Workflow Quiz to work through before we can say that every stone has been turned over in the quest for optimization and documentation. In this segment it’s time to look at what processes you have that might qualify as islands of automation that should be linked together.

Most print shops have some automation in place. Tools are purchased to meet a specific need, and sometimes suites are brought in to automate specific sets of processes. What tools and suites have you brought in over the years to automate? Web-to-print solutions? Order entry and management solutions? Job tracking? Are your production processes linked to your accounting processes?

Workflow Automation orchestrates the handoffs between processes to eliminate human intervention and create seamless activity from the start of a job to delivery. It may include automation of resource allocation, flow control, and consumables ordering, but always includes reporting as each step is completed.

Over the years I’ve visited shops with some amazing automation. Some was bought, some was assembled from a variety of software sources, and still other solutions were written in-house. In most cases the teams working in the shop started their automation out of a need to streamline multiple job onboarding processes or tie multiple touchpoints into a single process. The goal is always to move jobs through faster. Read more »

Nolo VR adds Room-Scale to Mobile HMDs

Colin McMahon
Jan 6, 2017

Beijing-based technology company, LYRobotix is bringing a new system to mobile virtual reality (VR) called Nolo VR. Nolo VR utilizes position-based tracking to monitor a user’s movement, much in the same way as Lighthouse does for the HTC Vive (or Guardian for Oculus Rift). Nolo VR plans to add motion control to the mobile VR experience, through its two palm-fitting wand-shaped controllers (typical system configuration shown in Figure below). In addition to improving mobile VR, LYRobotix is partnering with Riftcat’s VRidge software to enable remote play of Steam (Valve’s PC software vendor) VR’s library on a mobile headset.

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The Messy Business of Job Onboarding

Pat McGrew
Dec 20, 2016

The fifth item in the Workflow Quiz is where the business of making money begins. Up to now we’ve looked at processes and tracking, but now it’s time to take a critical look at what happens when a customer wants to place an order and you want to accept that order. In a sense we’re coming back to the beginning now that you’ve named all of the steps in the workflow and have a good idea of the paths that jobs take through your shop.


Onboarding is the set of processes the start when a customer places an order and ends when the job is in the production workflow. It includes acquisition of the final job specifications, print files, associated data and resource files, job ticketing, logging the job into the accounting system, establishing proofing requirements, defining delivery requirements, and defining the payment methods.


How many ways can a customer place an order with you? Are customers required to have a sales person, or is it possible for anyone to place an order over the phone, via fax or email, or using a web-to-print or web-to-order process? How the orders are received and verified drives many of the next steps.

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Takeaways From the SPS Analyst Summit in Vietnam

David Stabel
Dec 15, 2016

Swiss Post Solutions (SPS) recently invited the analyst community to its Industry Analyst Symposium held in Vietnam on November 23-26. During this multi-day symposium, SPS’ senior management briefed analysts on the SPS business, its latest technology innovations, as well as on its Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) strategy. Analysts were also invited for site visits to both of its Vietnam offshore facilities in Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho City. This blog post covers our takeaways from the event.

SPS

SPS Industry Analyst Symposium in Vietnam, Nov 23-26, 2016

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Komori Highlights the Impremia IS29 at an Open House in Tsukuba, Japan

Jim Hamilton
Dec 12, 2016

We were in Japan last month and as luck would have it we were there at the same time that Komori held an open house to showcase its newest digital print solutions. This international event took place at Komori’s facility in Tsukuba, Japan and drew hundreds of attendees from all over the Asia Pacific region. It provided the opportunity to showcase Komori’s Impremia IS29, a B2-format, sheet-fed, UV inkjet printer capable of speeds up to 3,000 simplex sheets per hour. Also on display were a six-unit, 18,000 sheet per hour, B1-format Komori Lithrone GX40RP H-UV offset press running UV inks and a Komori Apressia DC105 die cutter. Komori’s recently announced sales partnership with Highcon was clear to see through the demonstration of the Euclid II+ during the open house. Horizon, also a Komori partner, showed a saddle stitcher.

Komori facility entrance - 700

The theme running across all of the products shown was a demonstration of a hybrid workflow for test marketing a national campaign for a cosmetic product. Read more »

FOVE to Bring Eye Tracking to Consumer VR

Colin McMahon
Dec 8, 2016

Silicon Valley-based virtual reality (VR) company FOVE, Inc. is set to brings its first headset to the developer market in January 2017. Simply called FOVE (or FOVE 0 for the developer kit), this will be the first computer VR head mounted display (HMD) to feature eye tracking software.

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2016 Camera Wrap-Up

Carrie Sylvester
Dec 6, 2016

IlovecamerasFor the last several years we have done a year-end round up of the cameras that were introduced. It’s always an interesting exercise to take a look back on what features and technologies vendors have chosen to feature in their products.

57 models were introduced between January and December of 2016. Although 57 models is a respectable number, it is a marked drop compared to the 72 models introduced in 2015 and significantly fewer than 2014 when 98 models hit the U.S. market. (Source: InfoTrends U.S. Camera Model Tracker**). Although there were fewer models released this year, there is no shortage of cameras for those looking to buy or upgrade.

We have broken out the introductions by popular features and functions, including Wi-Fi connectivity and mirrorless. Read more »

LeEco Introduces Le Pro3 & Le S3 Smartphones to America

Carrie Sylvester
Nov 30, 2016

LeEcoLeEco is already established in China, but is bringing its products to North America for the first time, with what it hopes to be market disruptive pricing. In November, a pair of new smartphones (Ecophones) were introduced by LeEco, the Le Pro3 and Le S3.  Read more »

Lexmark Completes Sale, Announces New Strategies

Brendan Morse

The News and Facts
The leadership at Lexmark began a process to explore “strategic alternatives” for the future of the business back in October of 2015. In April 2016, the company announced it would be sold to a consortium of Chinese investors led by Apex Technology and PAG Asia Capital. Now, on November 29th 2016, Lexmark announced its sale has been completed and decisions have been made regarding the strategic decisions of the company.

While Lexmark’s corporate headquarters will remain in Kentucky, long time President Paul Rooke will no longer be leading the company. Instead David Reeder, former Lexmark VP and CFO, will be the company’s new President and CEO. Lexmark also announced two of their key initiatives going forward. The Enterprise Software group, now undergoing rebranding as Kofax, will be split off and subsequently sold. The Imaging Solutions and Services (hardware) division will now focus on “growing the imaging business, particularly in China and the Asia-Pacific region.”

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Compart Enters the Document Composition Market with DocBridge Impress

David Stabel
Nov 28, 2016

During the twelfth annual Comparting conference—held on Novemeber 17-18 in Böblingen, Germany—Compart introduced its newest product within its DocBridge suite of solutions called: DocBridge Impress. While some customers already have access to DocBridge Impress, version 1.0 will be released in April 2017. The first update version (1.1) is planned for late 2017.

Impress Logo

The Comparting conference is a two-day international forum for multi-channel document management. With more than 400 people from 15 different countries having attended this event–up from 375 attendees last year–the Comparting conference is growing in popularity. In fact, it is one of few events for customer communications in Europe. This year’s agenda included keynotes, customer presentations, and educational tracks focused on business and technology.

Read more »

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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