What If People Actually Showed Up? A Report from ON DEMAND 2009

Jim Hamilton
Apr 3, 2009

ON DEMAND 2009 opened among concerns about the economy and how that would impact the turnout. Some predicted truly anemic attendance. Though no attendance figures are available yet to verify this, my observation is that attendance on the ON DEMAND show floor and at the conference was quite good. In speaking with many exhibitors over the past three days, the general reaction is that booth traffic was better than they had expected and that the show was providing good leads. Some of this can be attributed to this year’s move to Philadelphia from Boston, which makes it easier for attendees from Washington and New York to attend.

Still, it’s clear that the view from the show floor was very different than in years past. A number of familiar exhibitors were missing from the exhibits and the size of the exhibits reflected the struggling economy. In 2006 when the show was last in Philadelphia, AIIM/ON DEMAND occupied two levels of the Pennsylvania Convention center. In 2009 only one level was required and it’s obvious that many exhibitors had scaled back on the size of their booths and the amount of equipment that they brought to the show. ON DEMAND, which once boasted a wide range of high-speed continuous feed products had only one such device on the floor (a single-engine Screen TruePress 520). InfoPrint Solutions, Oce, and Xerox were talking about continuous feed, but through video or other demonstrations rather than with actual roll-fed equipment on their stands. These vendors, all of which have impressive demonstration facilities at their headquarters, have made the choice to focus on cut-sheet products at the show. We can presume that their high-volume continuous feed prospects will be invited to come to the demo facilities if they want to see the big iron.

Other vendors have pulled out of the show entirely, and this can’t be attributed solely to the economy. Kodak, whose only hardware in the booth last year was a race car, was notably missing from the show floor though its presence was felt by the show badge lanyards that many were wearing. HP was on the AIIM side of the exhibit floor with a visible presence by its Exstream group, but with no Indigo equipment (very likely the first time there has been an ON DEMAND without an Indigo). Others who chose to stay away this year include Adobe (a constant presence at AIIM/ON DEMAND for many years), Ricoh, Sharp, and Xeikon.

One group of exhibitors chose to bring lots of hardware: the finishing vendors. C.P. Bourg, Duplo, and Standard Finishing Systems all had sizeable and well equipped booths. And there were quite a few exhibitors with new equipment to show off. Canon’s new monochrome imagePRESS 1135 was front and center on the show floor with a lengthy configuration comprising just about every imaginable feeding and finishing option. InfoPrint Solutions showed its new 90-ppm color Pro C900. Konica Minolta was highlighting the expanded gamut capabilities of the new bizhub PRO C65hc (not to mention the new monochrome 95-ppm bizhub PRO 950). Océ showed a two-engine, 130-ppm version of its new color CS Tandem family. Presstek brought not one, but two of its 52DI direct-to-press units, including one with the new UV drying capability. Xerox added a 200-ipm member to its Nuvera EA Perfecting Production System family. The products didn’t necessarily have to be big to draw a crowd. RISO’s HC5500 was on the show floor in two places, most notably the Pitney Bowes booth where it showcased the new distribution relationship between the two companies. The envelope printing system printing system for Xante’s Ilumina was also popular, drawing crowds to its corner of the show floor. For more on all of the show news (not just this print hardware snapshot), please see the InfoTrends’s publication “What’s New at ON DEMAND” which is available on the public side of the InfoTrends web site at:

http://www.infotrends.com/content/ODS_DOCS/Analysis/2009/03/WNAOD2009.pdf

No visit to Philadelphia can be complete without a chance to catch up with Ben Franklin, who has been around, believe it or not, for longer than Frank Romano. I asked Mr. Franklin if he knew Frank, and he replied, “Yes, in fact we traveled to Paris together. He is quite a lady’s man. Frank, can we hear your side of the story?

Jim Hamilton with Ben Franklin at ON DEMAND 2009

Jim Hamilton with Ben Franklin at ON DEMAND 2009

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