Jul 2, 2015
The 14th Edition of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival (XRIJF) wrapped up on Saturday, June 27 after nine days of 320+ shows, including 90+ free concerts at 19 venues with 1,500+ artists. In addition to listening to some great music, the in-plant executives in attendance had the opportunity to attend a Xerox educational session where they could learn how to “Amp Up their In-Plant.”
The session opened with a keynote speech from Barb Pellow, Group Director at InfoTrends. She shared her perspective on what it will take to reinvent in-plant operations in today’s environment. Pellow stated, “Nearly every industry is undergoing a major transformation that is being driven by new and emerging technologies. None has been more heavily impacted than the printing industry, and this is only exacerbating the challenges that in-plant managers face today. The key is to disrupt the status quo long before there is a need to do so.” According to Pellow, successful in-plants must build a vision, retool their services, reinvent their customer bases, expand their sphere of influence, properly position their new offerings, invest in operational excellence, and instill a culture of innovation. Read more »
Jul 1, 2015
Last week Canon Solutions America held a special inkjet event at one of its best customers, IWCO Direct in Chanhassen, Minnesota. IWCO Direct produces millions of letters a month as part of direct mail campaigns for many major brands. The variable component of these campaigns is printed and finished on a range of equipment including Canon Océ monochrome toner and color inkjet offerings. IWCO Direct is also active in Canon’s customer advisory councils and so they were a logical choice as the first site in the United States to have two of the latest inkjet products to come out of Canon: the cut-sheet Océ VarioPrint i300 and the continuous-feed Océ ImageStream 3500.
Both of these new products have strong potential, and Read more »
Jun 23, 2015
Mint Bills has a new business model for billers who want to offer customers mobile bill pay.
We have been following Mint Bills since it was a fast-growing startup named Pageonce, when it rebranded to Check, and when Intuit acquired the company and later rebranded it to Mint Bills. We recently caught up with Steve Schultz, General Manager of the Biller Network for Mint Bills, to discuss how the company is doing with its new identity and expanded support structure, as well as to discuss its new business model for billers.
First off, tell us how things have been going since the acquisition and rebranding last year?
Check was already growing fast ahead of the acquisition by Intuit and rebranding to Mint Bills. It’s been about a year now and our metrics have doubled in most categories, including payment volume, payments, payers, and accounts. This is only partially from biller growth. We also have Read more »
Jun 11, 2015
I spoke recently at a user group meeting composed largely of commercial printers when the topic of the ‘Cloud’ came up. I was a bit surprised to hear a very high level of suspicion. I asked the audience: “Who is excited about the opportunities presented by the Cloud.” Two hands went up. “Who’s not?” About half the audience raised their hands. Multiple questions were put forward about data security, possible integration issues, and overall viability. The bad vibes were much stronger than I anticipated.
It continued. The ‘Cloud’ was dismissed as a marketing buzzword. “It’s just a question of where the server resides,” said one attendee. Others were very skeptical about turning over their production data or any client data to a third party. Some said that their agreements with clients would not allow it. Another attendee told a horror story of a cloud service that became unavailable for two days because of a snowstorm and power outage on the East Coast. There was also concern that integrations that their companies had built on top of workflow software could stop working if software revisions were made to the cloud offering. Loss of control, concerns about expense, and cloud-based licensing issues were also key themes. One attendee described the cloud today as a “royal cluster of inconsistent services.” Wow.
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May 21, 2015
On May 7th and 8th over 650 professionals descended on the Hilton Midtown in New York City for Henry Stewart’s 12th annual DAM NY Conference to see and learn about all things related to digital asset management (DAM). This year’s theme centered on ‘The Art & Practice of Managing Digital Media – all from the user’s perspective’ and was a common viewpoint amongst many of the speakers. HP, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Media Beacon were the marquee sponsors. However, a bevy of other vendors and consulting organizations sponsored and/or spoke at the show.
DAM NY Panel
Many of the topics centered on the current state of the market as well as where people see DAM going in the near future. There were plenty of well-known brands such as Comedy Central, 3M, and the NHL represented on the panels to share their insights. Although there were endless puns at the show, we will spare you from any more by simply sharing our observations from the show:
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May 13, 2015
Interprint one of the world’s most prominent manufacturers of décor paper for the laminate industry has gone digital. In a press release dated May 5th 2015, the company stated their strategy to use digital printing technology to address the growing demand for shorter runs of décor paper used in the manufacturing process of decorative laminates used for furniture, cabinetry, kitchen counters, doors, and other woodworking applications. Interprint is using the marketing slogan “Hello World!” to introduce its clients to this investment in digital innovation, a KBA RotaJET with a print width of 1.68 meters capable of speed up to 150 meters per minute. This CMYK device is capable of producing over 3.7 million square meters per month (based on a speed of 150 meters per minute, a 1.68 meter width, 2 shifts a day, and 22 days a month operating at 70% productivity).
Interprint is using the slogan “Hello world!” to promote its new capabilities (Source: Interprint)
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May 12, 2015
The importance of workflow and the matching software ecosystem has been frequently publicised and although not every user might have realised it yet, all production printing hardware vendors are strengthening their offerings in workflow and solutions nowadays. The importance of workflow is however in stark contrast with the lack of approaches in making the benefits of workflow visible in an exhibition or open house environment. Software remains intangible and while the benefit of some features can be calculated in time and money, for other features like customer satisfaction, error reduction, new services offerings and overall process efficiency calculating the exact value for a single business case is much harder.
Canon-Océ already organised several Commercial Printing Business Days, but for the event that took place in April 2015 the software portfolio was targeted to take centre stage. Presentations, workshops and customer testimonials focussed on workflow solutions. Canon-Océ invited users and prospects with interest in workflow solutions and had a total attendance of 550 visitors from around the globe at the three days of the event.
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Christine Dunne and Ron Gilboa
May 4, 2015
Last week, it was announced that seven leading companies in the global 3D printing sector have launched a new consortium—the 3MF Consortium—focused on interoperability, functionality, and standards within the 3D printing industry.
The 3MF Consortium’s Logo
As a first step, the consortium is releasing a new specification—the 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF) specification—that enables design applications to send “full-fidelity” 3D models to other applications, platforms, services, and printers. The first version of the specification is free, and available for download on the consortium’s website.
According to the press release announcing the news, current 3D design file formats—such as STL files—often have limitations around accuracy, ease of use, and functionality. They aren’t necessarily capable of fully describing models and all their characteristics. Read more »
Apr 29, 2015
InfoTrends just published the 2014 production placement numbers for the U.S. and Western Europe. In both geographies we had some growth in placements. In general Europe showed a much better growth driven by a stabilizing economy in 2014, while growth in the U.S. was marginal, based on the fears of a slowing economy. Of course growth rates differ not only by geography, but also by product segment. One of the fastest growing segments in 2014 were mid-volume color devices, the type of devices typically used at high-end print rooms or quick printers and small to mid-size commercial printers. Installations grew by 29% in the U.S. and 33% in Europe in 2014. This is no mean feat in print market under pressure.
2008 to 2014 Mid-production Placements
For a meaningful tracking of growth or decline in a market, as well as market share overviews, we try to define market segments containing products that compete against each other with similar features, price points and user profiles. Segmenting products can be a tough task however.
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