As part of our continuing coverage of the rapidly growing print management market, InfoTrends is conducting a series of interviews with leading industry professionals in 2016. These innovators and the providers they represent are helping the market evolve from basic print procurement to a more comprehensive marketing supply chain management solution. We chose to focus our first blog post in this series on a lesser known company in the North American market. Though it manages more than $100 million of print for its clients in North America alone, Arvato may not be familiar to many outside Europe. Arvato is a white label provider of call center support, financial and IT solutions, as well as print and supply chain management. As part of an initiative to broaden its print management presence in North America, the German firm recently re-located Stephan Hackert, Vice President of Business Development in North America, to San Francisco.
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.
Benny Landa was at EFI’s Connect event in Las Vegas this week and as part of a fireside chat with Guy Gecht and a separate meeting with the trade press and industry analysts he provided a status update.
Market progress — Landa reported that his company had signed 430 letters of intent (LOI), a significant portion of them coming with deposits. These LOIs were from all over the world, including quite a number from Asia Pacific. He noted that the company was on track with product development and expected to have its first product in beta testing at the end of 2013. This will be the Landa S10 cut-sheet, B1-format device, which Landa said was the most popular configuration. Landa also said that the platform’s print resolution has been increased from 600 to 1,200 dots per inch. Read more »
Analysts predicting the developments at drupa 2012 have fixated on Landa Corporation of Israel, the technology developer headed by Benny Landa, the founder of Indigo. Landa publicized its planned drupa booth back in January, but did not reveal much, except to say the company would have a really new technology on display, ostensibly a jetting method that would rely on specialized inks and be a highly economic and productive method for use in commercial, packaging, and publishing markets. On April 2 the company revealed a bit more, by making the following points: Read more »
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 »
Last week I traveled to Rapid City, South Dakota to visit Fenske Media, a data-driven solutions provider that installed a Kodak Prosper 5000XL last December. Fenske Media is using the Prosper 5000XL for a range of full color mail applications on glossy paper. Glossy paper is the key to expanding high-speed inkjet printing into new applications at offset quality levels. As Dave Fenske, Partner at Fenske Media, concisely puts it “Printing is entertainment, and entertainment equals shine.”
You’ll see an interesting announcement today from Xerox about a new toner set for the iGen4 EXP. They’re calling it “Matte Dry Ink” and to show its impact Xerox sent samples to industry analysts in advance of the announcement. Today’s video blog (see below) will give you a good look at the three samples but if you prefer to read the text account that follows, it covers the same ground. The samples are:
An unfolded sheet of the Wild Africa brochure that Xerox used at Graph Expo to highlight the 26” print length capability of the new iGen4 EXP