Apr 13, 2012
This week, EFI hosted its 13th-annual Connect users’ conference. About 850 end-users, 250 EFI staff, and a small group of journalists & analysts gathered at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas to hear the latest on EFI’s strategy and software products. The event was also attended by a number of key business partners, including Ricoh, Canon, Kodak, xpedx, and some smaller software vendors such as workflow integration and management provider Hybrid Software and imposition provider Metrix.
On Tuesday, EFI CEO Guy Gecht opened the day with a keynote on the necessity of business transformation, alluding to the concept of “the window of opportunity” and how emerging technology can radically change the way companies do business. By highlighting dramatic changes and missed windows of opportunities in the music, Internet, and mobile phone industries, Gecht contended that there is enough growth potential in the printing industry as long as companies are willing to adapt. Gecht also said that the next window of opportunity for EFI is in inkjet printing (including wide format, labels, and industrial applications) and achieving business transformation through the use of software and integration.
At the event, EFI made a number of new announcements as a precursor to what we expect to see at drupa this year:
Metrics Sistemas MIS acquisition
On Wednesday, EFI announced its acquisition of Metrics Sistemas, a leading MIS provider comprising 80 employees in the Latin American market with offices in Brazil and dealerships in Mexico and Argentina. The Latin American market is booming for workflow automation and software; not so much from a labor reduction perspective, but for the purposes of removing human error in repetitive tasks and obtaining more consistent, higher-quality results.
While EFI’s most recent acquisitions took place in Europe, EFI is now expanding its presence in the South American market. EFI plans to continue offering Metrics’ solution, Printware, as it is specifically tailored for the intricacies of the Latin American market. Over the course of time, EFI will integrate key capabilities of Printware into its existing software portfolio, utilizing the company’s knowledge of the market to attune its current software portfolio for the region. Additionally, EFI plans to expand its overall presence in Latin America, including marketing and sales of its hardware portfolio, and the Metrics acquisition is key to its global expansion strategy. Expect more acquisitions of this nature in the next 12 to 18 months.
Launch of EFI Fiery Dashboard: Cloud-based Production Intelligence
Previewed last year at Graph Expo, EFI formally launched its cloud-based Fiery Dashboard product at Connect 2012. Fiery Dashboard captures and aggregates a wide array of performance data from one or multiple Fiery-connected digital print devices, giving users a single view into digital print productivity, including utilization rates, uptime, error rates, and more.
Users can dynamically generate reports based on date ranges and other factors, as well as set production goals and track progress. All of this information is available via Web-based interfaces and can also be accessed via mobile devices. Additionally, features can be rapidly added and deployed to all users, and users can scale up to support multiple devices as their needs change.
Fiery Dashboard is available starting at $150/month ($1,800/year), which includes support for up to three Fiery-connected devices and the ability to add more as needed. A 30-day free trial is also available for those looking to test it out. EFI plans to work with its various Fiery OEM channel partners to drive adoption and sales of Dashboard.
Integration with Kodak Prinergy
Speaking of Fiery, EFI’s Fiery controllers can now integrate directly and bi-directionally with Kodak Prinergy, whichwas demoed at the event. While this integration had been announced in the past, it had been in alpha and beta testing modes, and is now available for purchase. Additionally, Kodak developed and was promoting a turn-key integration package to connect Prinergy with EFI Pace or Monarch.
Overall, EFI Connect continues to be a good forum for EFI users, especially those that use its print eCommerce and MIS/ERP solutions, to learn how to use their software more effectively and exchange ideas with their peers. Connect also continues to be a platform for EFI to announce acquisitions, as highlighted by the Metrics Sistemas purchase and similar announcements in recent years past. While EFI will surely have more new announcements at drupa in a few weeks, Connect gives North American customers (and the rest of the industry) a sneak-peek at the company’s latest developments.
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