Jun 14, 2016
After digesting a week of meetings at drupa 2016 (May 31st to June 10th, Düsseldorf, Germany) along with plenty of good German food and beer, the InfoTrends analyst team believes the show can be characterized by five major themes:
- Inkjet 3.0 –After important advances in production inkjet printing at drupa 2008 and 2012, this drupa can be considered “inkjet drupa 3.0” because of new and improved print heads, higher quality levels, wide printhead arrays, improved performance on a range of substrates, and expansion across a range of document, packaging, and decorative applications. These developments have brought digital printing into the mainstream. All of the leading offset press manufacturers are now committed to a digital print strategy, and though for some there is an important component that is based on electrophotography, it is the high productivity levels of inkjet that have convinced them that there is a place for digital print in production environments.
- Digital printing of packaging – Though digital printing of packaging is certainly being influenced by inkjet, the major theme in this area is process automation. Digital printing, digital embellishment, and digital die-cutting were seen integrated across many production lines for labels, folding cartons, corrugated packaging, and even some direct-to-shape applications. Despite its commercial print heritage, drupa is morphing into a show with a significant package printing component. Meeting the needs of different segments of the packaging market is a challenge that requires effective software, workflow, and finishing if the true advantages of digital print for the entire supply chain are to be gained. It’s not clear today that digital printing system vendors have fully grasped the magnitude of this.
- B1 digital – Many commercial printers have an almost emotional attachment to the B1-format press platform that has served them so well for offset printing. The new generation of B1-format digital printing devices appeals to them because they can see how they would fit easily into their production lines with minimal disruption (despite the fact that smaller digital devices might be just as efficient and/or cost effective). drupa 2016 saw the arrival of larger format digital cut-sheet color printing systems as well as off-line systems for special effects such as spot gloss, dimensional effects, and metallic foils. The progress in B1 sheet-fed design is facilitated by wider inkjet arrays that benefit from the latest advances in inkjet head technology. The challenge for any of these larger format digital printing devices is to meet the production requirements for quality, consistency, substrate support, and color registration while performing at high speed. Also important is integration of finishing technologies that leverage the benefits of digital print. Therefore laser cutting and creasing, particularly for folding carton applications, is also advancing, and for some of these devices the focus is on a B1 sheet size. For the off-line digital devices used for special effects, the B1 sheet size opens up sizeable opportunities because these systems are capable of supporting conventional presses as well as digital printers.
- Special effects – Offset print processes have typically excelled at special effects beyond process color such as spot gloss, flood coats, foils, and corporate color matching. This kind of embellishment is now accelerating for digital print. Electrophotographic devices are using effects like printed metallic, dimensional, clear gloss, spot colors, fluorescent, security and other embellishments to differentiate the printed products and provide added value. Inkjet, particularly with ultraviolet (UV) curing inks, is extending this with some eye-popping results that leverage dimensional clear and metallic foil. The use of hybrid configurations, including those that leverage electrophotography and inkjet together, will have compelling applications in commercial and packaging markets. Many of the off-line special effect solutions, as noted above, are able to support larger format conventional sheet sizes, which opens their market impact significantly.
- Industry 4.0 – For many years, system providers have talked about how production data can be used to drive operational excellence and even facilitate predictive service calls. Cloud-enabled production data tracking is now making this type of data-driven production a reality, not only for commercial and packaging applications, but for decorative and industrial ones as well. Today these tend to focus on a single vendor platform (rather than a true heterogeneous ecosystem). Despite these limitations there are still many benefits, such as performance benchmarking across peers with similar equipment. This also elevates the importance of automated workflows that make it easy for production managers to assess and react to their production site(s) based on real-time data. Taking this even further, InfoTrends expects to see semi-autonomous print production and robotic automation culminate in what has been described as “Industry 4.0,” in other words the foundation of a fourth industrial revolution that is based upon automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, similar as what has happened in the car industry.
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Mar 11, 2016
Yesterday, March 10th, Xerox announced advancements to its Xerox ConnectKey technology to expand what multifunction printers (MFPs) can do in the workplace. The Xerox ConnectKey-enabled i-Series MFPs are equipped with ready-to-use apps, speed up paper-dependent business processes and make it easier for users to collaborate and work more effectively. The technology also gives Xerox and its partners opportunities to better understand customer business needs and uncover new recurring revenue streams. Read more »
Feb 16, 2016
On February 12, Google announced that it would be retiring Picasa, its photo management software program, and
Picasa Web Album, its online sharing service, to put more focus on Google Photos. From my perspective, this is a bit of sad news. I have been a user and fan of Picasa since before it was officially launched almost 14 years ago. Read more »
Jan 29, 2016
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the millions of smart devices that are connecting with each other, and we see it impacting and infiltrating the document solutions industry. Last year, Google launched Brillo and Weave, the key parts of their new IoT platform, to enable easier device setup, phone-to-device-to-cloud communication, and user interaction from mobile devices and the web. Google is presenting Weave as “a solution for everyone:” OEMs, app developers, and end-users. With Weave, OEMs can build interoperable communications into their devices, build on Brillo, or add the Weave capability library to their existing OS. App developers can use Weave to extend the reach of their iOS and Android apps by building one app to control multiple devices at home or work, and leveraging Google services such as voice actions. Read more »
Oct 13, 2015
In April 2015, Adobe launched Adobe Document Cloud, their newest cloud offering, giving users the ability to manage documents at home, and in the office across devices. With this launch several upgrades were made to Acrobat DC, new Mobile Link and mobile apps were made available, and eSign Services (formerly Adobe EchoSign) were released packaged with every subscription of Acrobat DC.
Additional Features to Adobe Document Cloud 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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Apr 28, 2015
Xerox, a leader in document technology and services, today announced several new solutions and services that will add to their history of innovation. Xerox’s Large Enterprise Operations (LEO) is aligning its services offering by key vertical market to connect MPS & BPO. Read more »
Jan 29, 2015
So much has been written about the Cloud in recent years that it has begun to take on different meanings that are dependent upon the audience. To some, it’s an irreplaceable tool that makes life easier; to others, it’s a modern but somewhat mysterious form of technology; to still others, it’s simply confusing. Read more »
Sep 29, 2014
This week HP introduced the new model Officejet 8040 e-All-in-One Printer. A complete system designed to make the home/small office more productive, efficient and highly organized. HP and NEAT have entered into a new partnership that would provide the NEAT cloud based filing service with an all-in-one printer as a full package. This product is designed to center on the home office, a large and growing area for HP with this device being a focal point to provide additional tools to enhance the work experience and even augment some personal home printing as well. The addition of NEAT, according to HP, will greatly improve the typical home office user experience and address some key pain points. As business grows more paper is produced and received and can create a disorganized and messy work environment that is hard to manage.
As part of this combined offering, at $399 the HP Officejet 8040 printerÂ will include a 3-year NEAT cloud service subscription for free. The connection to NEAT is provided to customers through an installation process, activation of the included hard drive, and mobile app deployment. The setup process is designed to ensure the customer is prepared to begin using the device and the NEAT service account. The account provides access to the NEAT cloud, mobile access and features such as unlimited scanned documents using the control panel from the Officejet 8040.
Other ways to bring documents into NEAT are the mobile app, this allows you to use the camera function on your smartphone and taking a picture of a document, or by using the NEAT application on your PC or MAC. All the documents will use the NEAT smart organization system which includes the (in document identification) ID2 software, reads the documents making it key word searchable and will also extract vital data from items such as business cards and receipts. These systems can aid in finding and searching for content and documents within the NEAT cloud system.
To differentiate the filing solution, according to HP, is the inclusion of a 1tb hard drive. For customers that may feel reluctant to scan certain documents to the cloud, the hard drive gives the opportunity to also store files locally. The hard drive is portable and can be removed from the Officejet 8040 when needed.
HP and NEAT have come together to offer customers a printing solutions that is meant to be simple and easy to use providing greater organization to home offices. Productivity, efficiency and time savings are all being promoted with the solution along with the FREE cloud access that would otherwise be $5.99 a month from NEAT.
InfoTrends feels that this new solution from HP and NEAT is well suited to the targeted audience given that both companies share brand awareness to the home office and small business sector. By delivering a total printer based cloud solution, each company can look to develop further into the expansive space of home and small business fileÂ organization. Home and small businesses each have needs and requirements to be organized, productive and responsive to customers, this new solution and partnership can now deliver distinct advantages at an attractive pricepoint.
Jun 4, 2014
: a strong light that can be seen from far away and that is used to help guide ships, airplanes, etc.
: someone or something (such as a country) that guides or gives hope to others.
This term is fitting for Pharos’s next generation of Mindful Print Solutions (its new definition of MPS). InfoTrends recently spoke with Pharos President Keith Nickoloff, CEO Kevin Pickhardt, and CTO Fred Schempp to discuss the release of this new offering. Pharos sees this product as “the next evolution” of its user-driven strategy. Mr. Nickoloff continued to emphasize that “devices don’t print, people do.” Looking at printing from that perspective, it starts to make sense how an analytics-based solution like Beacon can help organizations make smarter and more cost-effective printing decisions. Like a beacon, the solution can help guide users on a new path.
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