May 17, 2013
Just because the camera phone – you know those handy cameras on feature phones and smartphones – has become the everyday camera for many people doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom for traditional cameras. In the most recent InfoTrends Digital Camera End User study we found that digital cameras are still being used to take more photos on average than a camera phone and used more often for special occasion photos. The survey also asked a “blue sky” question about interest levels in some current and possible digital camera offerings. Read more »
May 9, 2013
Today, EFI announced its acquisition of printLEADER, a print MIS solution geared towards print management for in-plant and commercial print service providers located in North America. Since the onset of the recession, the print MIS market has regained interest from print service providers looking for ways to optimize their production facilities by having a centralized tool connected to every software and hardware system throughout their workflow. This interest has also stemmed from the need to manage the increasing demand for online ordering, and the integration and automation required to cost effectively manage this print volume while remaining competitively priced. Read more »
May 3, 2013
Pitney Bowes held a Financial Analyst Day in New York City today. While technology analysts were not invited to be there in person, I followed the live stream online. I was surprised when I first scanned the presentation slides and saw no mention of Volly. This was a significant departure from recent years and reflects the entry of a new CEO. Marc Lautenbach appears as though he is not going to put Volly on the same pedestal that former CEO Murray Martin did.
That said, Lautenbach addressed Volly toward the end of his opening remarks.
“Volly is one of our important growth opportunities, but Read more »
Apr 30, 2013
Yesterday Kodak and the U.K. Based Kodak Pension Plan (KPP) made news. Resolving their financial issues was only one element but surprisingly KPP ended up owning key Kodak businesses. In its release Kodak stated the following: “Eastman Kodak Company announced a settlement agreement with the U.K. Kodak Pension Plan (KPP).” KPP is Kodak’s largest creditor with respect to its Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization. Under the agreement, which will be filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Kodak’s Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses will be spun off under new ownership to KPP.”
“The settlement agreement provides, among other things, for the spin-off of Kodak’s Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses to KPP for cash and non-cash consideration of $650 million. Certain proceeds will be used to support the emergence of Kodak from Chapter 11 and the growth of its Commercial Imaging business. The agreement also settles approximately $2.8 billion of claims by KPP against Kodak and certain of its affiliates.”
“The agreement will be implemented as part of Kodak’s Chapter 11 plan in the United States. At the consummation of the spin-off, Kodak and its worldwide affiliates will be released from their obligations to KPP. The UK Pensions Regulator (“the Regulator”) has been kept fully informed of this process and the Regulator has granted clearance in respect of the acquisition. The Regulator has decided that it will approve the release of Kodak Limited, the KPP’s sponsoring employer, from its liabilities to the KPP and the UK Pension Protection Fund has confirmed that it has no objection. Closing of the transaction is subject to the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, approval by the Regulator and the satisfaction or waiver of other conditions precedent.” Read more »
Apr 22, 2013
Last Thursday, I met a top Boston-area commercial printer, one with the vision and fortitude to take his business to the next level. The occasion was the company’s open house to highlight its adoption of 3D printing technology as the next step in its evolution as a print service provider. We saw that technology, and a lot more.
For the event, Jim Corliss, a founder and owner of Braintree Printing, hosted nearly 200 guests at his company’s 17,000 sq. ft. operations, located just inside Route 128, Boston’s technology ring-road. Jim and his partners, Jerry Hogan and Jose Tafur, are veterans of the printing industry, having opened their first Sir speedy in 1982 and Braintree Printing in 2001.
Corliss and teammates have thus been in the trenches for many years and have successfully transitioned Braintree Printing into a full service commercial print operation, one incorporating workflow tools, lots of digital printing, and offset printing and fulfillment services.
Braintree Printing has an especially strong digital printing component, with two Xerox iGen 4s leading the company’s equipment list. While printed documents in conventional formats are the core of what Braintree Printing does, though, the spark of innovation and the desire to outpace the competition is driving Braintree to adopt new technologies, such as 3D printing. These technologies will allow them to maximize sell new services to existing and new customers and to add adjacent applications as well.
Adding new capabilities to Braintree Printing - Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D
The pièce de résistance at the company today is the newly acquired Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D Printer. Here Jim and his fellow owners take a step towards future solutions that will allow them to offer a slew of new applications starting with this entry level model aimed at ABS plastic production, and likely in the future more advanced units for complex 3D production. Read more »
Apr 15, 2013
A science article in the New York Times by John Markoff last week detailed an innovation from Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) that could revolutionize the world of chip manufacturing. In a new manufacturing process from Xerox PARC, slivers of silicone called “chiplets” are immersed in a carrier liquid and are then “printed” onto a solid carrier material, much as toner particles are managed today in laser printing via Fluidic Self Assembly (FSA). Following Xerox’s rich heritage of innovation from the 1970s such as laser printing, Ethernet, the modern personal computer, graphical user interface (GUI), object-oriented programming, ubiquitous computing, amorphous silicon (a-Si) applications, and advancing very-large-scale-integration (VLSI) for semiconductors, printed chiplets could possibly surpass these. Chiplet technology has the potential to revolutionize conventional manufacturing of chips and other microelectronic components, a change that will give benefits in flexibility, timeliness, and efficiency for companies that make such products.
The image below provides an enlarged view of the chiplets, each no larger than a grain of sand. Using systems that are essentially laser printer, Xerox’s PARC may one day be able to create desktop manufacturing plants that use chiplets to “print” the circuitry for a wide array of electronic devices.
Source: Amy Sullivan/PARC
An enlarged view of small slivers of silicon, each no larger than a grain of sand, called chiplets. Using laser printers, Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center may one day be able to create desktop manufacturing plants that use chiplets to “print” the circuitry for a wide array of electronic devices.
Efi Arazi, print industry pioneer, luminary, and philanthropist who set the digital revolution in motion in the Graphic Communications filed died this past weekend at the age of 76.
Efi Arazi 1937-2013
Efi was born in Jerusalem in 1937 and already at the young age of just over 16 won a reward for technology innovation in Israel. He earned an engineering degree in the 1960s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; while there he helped develop the TV camera that was used in the Apollo 11 mission. At the age of 23 he became a fellow at Harvard University.
Efi returned to Israel in 1967 and the following year he founded and headed Scitex Corporation an Israel-based multi-national company that specialized in developing and manufacturing hardware and software for the graphics design, printing, and publishing markets. Efi stepped down as CEO and president of Scitex on June 1, 1988, but continued to serve as chairman of the board of directors of the company until 1989. Read more »
Mar 28, 2013
At the end of Q1 each year we review the performance of the main players in the document imaging industry. Unfortunately not all vendors provide clear and transparent financial information for their document business so a few companies are always excluded. The table below shows the operating profits of 10 vendors’ imaging and printing divisions over the last three years. All information has been extracted from publicly available sources and converted to a calendar year view to provide a like-for-like comparison. Therefore, the figures may not correspond exactly with vendor quoted numbers for their own financial years.*
Operating profits down, no mention of MPS
The 2010 to 2012 operating profit trend is clearly down, across the board. The explanations that accompany publication of performance data have not yet started to recognise the impact of managed print services (MPS).
Imaging and Printing Operating Profits, 2010 to 2012*
Read more »
Mar 12, 2013
After attending HubSpot’s European launch event in Dublin, Ireland last week, it became very evident to me that print service providers and their workflow software vendors need to participate in marketing automation and inbound marketing services or risk a steady erosion of business.
HubSpot is a leading marketing automation software provider based in Cambridge, MA that has experienced tremendous growth over the last five years. At their European headquarters in Dublin, HubSpot already has hired thirty local staff and temporarily relocated about ten people from its U.S. office. The company chose Dublin because of its favourable investment climate, vicinity to other international tech companies such as Google and Facebook, and the skills and quality of the local Dublin labour market. HubSpot aims to grow its European organization to a sizeable 150 staff in under three years, including R&D functions to localize its products for the European market. HubSpot has been well funded by venture capital – including investments by Google Ventures and Salesforce.com – and we anticipate the company will likely follow Eloqua (now owned by Oracle) and Marketo by becoming public in the not-too-distant future.
Read more »
Jan 31, 2013
Although epost has been available to Canadians since 2000, there are recent signs that Canada Post is invigorating this digital mailbox initiative. The service has grown from 100,000 registered users in 2001 to more than 8 million having registered today. To put this in perspective, that’s around 30% of Canadians over the age of 18.
I had a chance to learn more about 2012 progress and future plans when I visited with Kerry Munro, President of the Digital Delivery Network, last week in Toronto.
Munro joined Canada Post in Read more »