Dec 21, 2011
The last couple of months have seen a slew of new placements for Xerox and On Demand Book’s Espresso Book Machine (EBM). Installations have been growing rapidly, with four installs (Darien Library in Connecticut, Tattered Cover Book Store in Colorado, Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington D.C., andÂ Sacramento Public Library in California) occurring throughout October and November. The new installations have brought the total EBM install base to Read more »
Dec 20, 2011
On December 6, HP announced its acquisition of Aachen, Germany-based Hiflex Software, a provider of print Management Information System (MIS) and Web-to-print software. Unlike EFI, which scooped up German MIS provider Alphagraph on exactly the same day for the purpose of expanding its customer base and sales capabilities internationally, HP’s prime motivation was to acquire technology to power its enterprise cloud-based printing initiatives.
Since the printing industry is in decline and printed pages are under pressure from electronic communications, growth in digital page volume for digital print manufacturers needs to come either from offset migration or by switching over pages produced on competing devices. For HP, developing cloud-based technology that capitalizes on its IT strength with the intent to capture enterprise print directly is a practical (albeit risky) strategy to route more volume to its Indigo customers. Read more »
Dec 16, 2011
The close of the year end is always a good time to look up from day-to-day business and review the important news that happened during the year.
Overall 2011 proved to be a pretty decent year for digital production printing. Installations of digital production printing equipment were on the rise again, after recovering from a drop in 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis. 2010 installations were already on the rise driven by gains in high end colour placements (see blog). 2011 was set to improve on that, however this time it was not financial markets that were the problem. Instead, nature struck in the early months of the year. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan raised some doubts about whether Japanese suppliers would be able to meet demand. In fact, we did see a decline in installations in device segments with large shares of Japanese manufacturers in the second quarter. However installations in the third quarter were almost up to normal again and we expect that by the fourth quarter almost all of the supply chain disruptions will have been ironed out. Overall the impact on the POD market in 2011 was limited, some product introductions could have been delayed and total sales in 2011 will be somewhat lower. Read more »
Dec 14, 2011
In anticipation of drupa 2012, the landmark graphic arts trade show that will take place next May, Océ is closing out this year with a couple of product announcements in the high-speed inkjet category. The JetStream 2300 mono, 3300 mono, and 4300 mono represent Océ’s first dedicated monochrome inkjet printers.
With a 3-up (30 inch) web width, these printers fall into Océ’s Wide series and feature printing speeds of 100, 150, and 200 m/minute respectively (328, 492, and 656 fpm respectively). At the highest speed, this translates to 4,040 A4 or 4,296 letter-sized images per minute. With a 600 dpi by 600 dpi resolution, 2-bit imaging, and pigmented black ink, these printers are primarily targeted at the book market. Océ’s newest JetStream printers are very compact with a total length of 7.9 metres from unwind to rewind, and they feature a dedicated two-tower design with very narrow monochrome towers.
On Demand book printing has become a hot market, and we have seen quite a few continuous feed devices heading into book sites lately. Nevertheless, the majority of installations were monochrome because the majority of books are printed in this format. Océ does offer single-colour versions of its range of JetStream and ColorStream inkjet printers, but even when equipped with only a monochrome printing head, they carried the load of devices that were designed for full-colour printing. While the ability to upgrade to full colour is a nice feature, not every book printer will need to do so and pricing in this market is competitive. Océ reckons that the purchase price of a pure monochrome printer is 30% less than a monochrome version of a comparable 4-C inkjet printer. Read more »
It would have been extremely unwise for EU leaders to leave last week’s Eurozone make-or-break summit without a new announcement.Â The latest attempt at a solution sawÂ EU leadersÂ focus on a set ofÂ financial rules for the medium-term and not on the immediate issues of unsustainable sovereign debts, rising costs of servicing those debts and lacklustre growth.Â Future rules will only be relevant if they ever get to that future.
Ultimately though itÂ was the British veto thatÂ stole theÂ headlines.Â Â Everyone involvedÂ seems only too willing toÂ continue discussing this sideshow.Â The resultant media smokescreenÂ has not been enough to divert attention; people have noticed that another EU meeting has passed without any sign of a credible plan.
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Dec 13, 2011
I had a chance to visit Fenske Media again last week as part of an analyst briefingÂ sponsored by Kodak. This was my second visit to Fenske Media this year (see my blog on my previous visit) but even so there were plenty of new things to see. They run a fantastic operation and it was fascinating to see it again to explore what had changed since my last visit.
Fenske Media is a major Kodak customer, with color products from three Kodak platforms: NexPress, Versamark VL, and Prosper. Their color Prosper 5000XL is the newest arrival of the three, though it has already been there a year so they have had plenty of experience using it.
The Fenske brothers next to their Kodak Prosper 5000XL
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Dec 12, 2011
I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact that smartphone photo apps such as Instagram, will have on the photo merchandise marketing in 2012. In August 2011, the New York Times published an article that discussed “Instawalk,” an ad hoc gathering of iPhone photography enthusiasts who are led on guided walking tours. Participants snap pictures on their iPhones and gather at the end of the walks to share ideas, pictures, and creative advice. While Instagram currently has a leading market share, it isn’t alone in this space; there are hundreds of photo apps currently on the market.
Increasingly, developers are launching apps that allow users to print directly from their smartphone. For instance, The Sincerely Ship Library for the iOS allows app developers to add printing and postcard functionality to their apps. In addition, we’re seeing online photo merchandise retailers embracing and supporting mobile imaging behavior. Recently, CanvasPop launched a service that allows customers to create canvas wall prints from their Instagram photo creations.
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Dec 8, 2011
InfoTrends announced publication of a studyÂ entitled The Emergence of Digital Mailbox ServicesÂ this week, which looks at a new secure digital delivery channel that we expect will become an important channel for paperless delivery of transactional mail.Â This does not bode well for the USPS in its current form, unless it finds a way to participate in this market. Based on an extensive analysis of surveys with over 1,500 consumers; 300 businesses across 8 vertical markets; and in-depth interviews with more than 25 leading service bureaus, billers, financial institutions, and digital mailbox service providers, InfoTrends estimates that digital mailbox services will deliver 2 billion paperless transactional documents to U.S. consumers in 2015–representing 7% of all transaction documents, 19% of all paperless delivery, and $323 million in transaction document delivery fees alone.
The scary truth from our research is that consumers and businesses expect the importance of the U.S. Postal Service to decline dramatically over the next 10 years… andÂ this data was collected before recent news about slower delivery. We asked consumers, “relative to your lifestyle, how would you rate the value of the USPS today, in 5 years, and in 10 years?” As shown in the Figure below,Â only 42% of consumers expectÂ the USPS toÂ be important or vital to them in 10 years.
Business response was similar, with 23% expecting the USPS to be vital, 48% expecting it to be useful, and 29% anticipatingÂ that it will not be necessary in 10 years. Read more »
Dec 5, 2011
Kodak recently gave another reminder to the market that it is a big company in packaging world, albeit so far not as a supplier of digital printers for packaging. That said, the company has great potential to someday be a major supplier of inkjet printing for packaging.
At the PLMA Private Label Trade Show in Chicago in November, Kodak showed its prepress solutions for packaging, including two 2011 developments.Â Read more »
Over the past few years, the videography market has seen numerous shifts and technological developments. Apart from traditional camcorders, most of today’s digital cameras, smartphones, camera phones, and even tablets now offer the ability to capture video clips. In October 2011, InfoTrends conducted a Web-based questionnaire in the United States to foster a better understanding of today’s videography market. This year’s 2011 Videography End-User Study followed up on earlier research conducted in 2008 and 2010.
Although camcorders are the traditional video capture devices, 2011 marked the first year that the greatest percentage of survey participants described their primary videography device as a mobile phone. During our 2010 study, respondents most commonly cited a digital camera or camcorder as their primary videography device. In 2011, however, camera phones and smartphones moved from last place to first place. This year, nearly 40% of respondents reported that their mobile phone was their primary video capture device. Meanwhile, digital camcorders experienced the sharpest year-over-year decline.
Figure 1: What type of device do you use MOST OFTEN to shoot videos? (2010 vs. 2011)
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