Apr 25, 2017
In another series of workflow blogs we have been walking through the path of auditing the current workflow in your environment and identifying ways to optimize through automation. It’s a long story that has been unfolding over many months. Along the way many have asked specific questions about some of the fine points of automation and what tools would be on the “must review” list.
The characteristics of the products you should review begin with the user interface. If you are going to add a tool to automate as much of the workflow as possible, the user interface – what you see when you are sitting at the computer screen – becomes a critical deciding factor. Does the layout of the screen make sense to you and the team? Does it provide access to the key pieces of information about each job coming through the production process?
How much automation does the tool allow? Automation that requires constant manual intervention is not really automation, but there is a delicate balance. Any automation scheme that allows for too much manipulation by the team on the shop floor eliminates the benefits that automation should bring.
Also consider the changing needs that will surround your workflow. We know from our research, including the most recent North American and European Software Investment surveys, that dealing with a high number of small jobs is the single largest headache in many shops. Looks for tools that make this easy.
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Apr 20, 2017
A number of Keypoint Intelligence analysts are covering ITEX 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada this week. Here’s a mid-event account from Steve Pearl, Associate Director, Solutions & Services:
The pioneers traveled westward to find their future; the same is true for many dealers attending ITEX 2017 in Las Vegas. Dealers here can connect with leaders in the industry on the topic of managed IT services, cloud solutions, managed print, supplies management, service automation, financing, data analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), and much more.
Nearly 300 people attended the keynote session, and dealers visiting the exhibits are eager to learn how to expand their businesses. Unlike the original pioneers, though, dealers don’t have to take arrows in the process of securing their future. They can simply take advantage of all the expertise around them. More to come…
The interest is palpable. Attendees were eager to learn during Jeff Hayes’ keynote.
Revenue growth is on everyone’s mind.
Jeff covering top dealer challenges
HP is very prominent at this show.
Apr 6, 2017
Gone are the days where people had only one choice to shoot videos – the camcorder. Today there is no shortage of video options available to people. Many people have a video camera right in their pocket – thanks to our always on-hand mobile phones (even dumb phones can shoot an OK video in a pinch). Will these non-traditional video capable devices keep putting the squeeze on traditional camcorders? According to recent survey results, it would appear to be so. Read more »
Mar 10, 2017
Director, Production Workflow
The HP Digital Solutions Cooperative (Dscoop) has been a mainstay of event calendars for Indigo users for more than a decade. Over the past few years HP has moved to include users of their other print technologies, including Scitex, DesignJet and PageWide Web Press. While in past years the HP PageWide Web Press team held their Jetcomm event in advance of Dscoop, this year the Jetcomm sessions were integrated into the main Dscoop agenda alongside tracks dedicated to Business & Leadership, Operations, Sales & Marketing, and Technology & Innovation.
Dscoop is part tradeshow and part education event, with an agenda that included A-List keynotes and mentalist Lior Suchard as emcee. The sessions were the expected array of customer success stories, successful selling solutions and product reviews, but there were also a variety of sessions covering finishing, packaging and 3D printing, all of which rank highly in KeyPoint Intelligence / InfoTrends surveys as target expansion opportunities for print service providers (PSP). Read more »
Feb 28, 2017
Landa Group announced on February 21 that Germany-based ALTANA AG has acquired its metallography technology, which Landa first showed at drupa 2016. Landa, the Israeli developer of the trademarked Nanography jetting technology, demonstrated at drupa its metallography system, which is in effect a digital foiling based on jetting. ALTANA, a German chemical company, has four divisions, two of which are major suppliers of metallic print and print enhancement, namely Eckart (metallic printing inks) and Actega (coatings for packaging). The deal thus links Landa with a company well positioned to commercialize Landa’s digital foiling concept.
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Jan 25, 2017
Ricoh announced on January 18th that they had taken their strategic investment into Avanti Computer Systems to the next step by acquiring the company. The acquisition is not a surprise for those that have been watching the workflow story develop at Ricoh. The company acquired MarcomCentral (formerly known as PTI Marketing Technologies Inc.) in 2014 and expanded its software partnerships in recent years.
Avanti is best known as the provider of the Avanti Slingshot print management information system (MIS) targeted to exactly the types of print shops where Ricoh finds success for their Pro C product lines. With Slingshot, Ricoh now has a JDF-certified Print MIS that can be on premise or cloud-based. Its modular, open platform lays the groundwork for integration with other Ricoh software solutions. The platform also provides the ability to distribute business intelligence, plan production and integrate into fulfillment and logistics. For Avanti, they now have the resources of Ricoh to support expansion into Europe and then worldwide.
From the workflow perspective, this acquisition gives Ricoh a tested, mature print MIS. Coupled with the MarcomCentral acquisition and their growing professional services offerings, Ricoh is better positioned to grow their commercial customer base and become more deeply entrenched with the mix of customers they support today. This graphic from the Avanti web page illustrates the modular nature of Avanti’s solution and, as important, the partners that connect into it.
Both companies have stated that the acquisition does not change any existing partnerships, but does this acquisition open the door to some other partnerships for Ricoh? Avanti has a slate of automation partners, including Ricoh competitors Xerox, HP, Esko, EFI, CREO, Aleyant, Konica Minolta, Agfa, Fujifilm and Kodak. Aleyant gives them a path to large format automation with a refined set of prepress tools. Esko opens doors into packaging.
The big question is if this is the slow continuation of an acquisition spree for Ricoh. Avanti makes Ricoh one of the few digital printer vendors who can claim a viable commercial print MIS product in their software tool kit. That gives them a strong foundation to move deeper into the general commercial print market with both their color toner and color inkjet products.
While it will take some time for Ricoh to fully integrate the power of the Avanti solutions into their workflow talk track, it is hard to believe that this is the last stop on the acquisition path Ricoh has been following.
Dec 6, 2016
For 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 »
Nov 30, 2016
LeEco 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 »
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.”
Read more »
Nov 7, 2016
Today, the Mopria Alliance announced that its mobile print technology is now integrated with Samsung Galaxy devices—either through pre-installation or automatic update.
The Mopria-powered “Samsung Print Service” will enable Galaxy users to “easily and intuitively” print content (e.g., photos, documents, web pages) from their mobile device to more than 88 million printers, regardless of printer brand.
Steps for Printing with the New Samsung Print Service (Android Nougat)
Source: Mopria Alliance Read more »