Hunkeler Innovationdays: An Outlook from a CCM Perspective

David Stabel
Feb 11, 2019

In a few week’s time, on February 25-28, Hunkeler is opening its doors again for the high-volume printing and paper processing industry at the 13th Hunkeler Innovationdays in Lucerne, Switzerland. This year shows an increase in number of exhibitors from around 90 in 2017. This year about 100 exhibitors are staging demonstrations of 40 practical solutions over two halls at the Lucerne Trade Fairgrounds.

Hunkeler Innovationdays

Being a print and finishing hardware show for mainly transactional printers, direct mailers, book manufacturers, and commercial printers, pure software solutions, such as composition, workflow, and automation traditionally have not been at the forefront of most exhibitor’s talk tracks. But, this is changing fast. Last show (2017), we not only saw software solutions mentioned in most vendor talk tracks, we also found vendors showing what amounted to live demonstrations of their workflows connected to their print and/or finishing hardware.

With this year’s slogan: ”Success With Automation“, we expect software solutions to become even more predominant in vendor’s talk tracks and demonstrations. Here is what we are expecting to see from this year’s exhibitors when looking specifically through the lens of Customer Communications Management (CCM) related solutions for transactional printers.

Digital Equipment Manufacturers

Software developments at digital printing manufacturers traditionally follow hardware developments. Ever faster throughput of digital printing equipment is requiring innovation in data formats and operational cost pressure is pushing for more automation through digitalization of workflows and more integration capabilities with existing IT systems. But, software today is also crucial for business model innovation in digital printing.

Looking at customer communications, we are hoping to see the latest solutions in customer communications management from these types of exhibitors. For example, Canon Europe announced last October the launch of a new managed cloud service for CCM: CCM Online. Ricoh recently announced that its Ricoh Communications Manager software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform is now available to European customers. HP is also on top of our list. Although it left the CCM solution market with the sale of all its Exstream assets to OpenText in 2016, print workflow automation with PrintOS and SmartStream is still pivot in their software portfolio.

Finishing Equipment Manufacturers

While one part of the CCM solutions market is shifting focus to the digitalization of enterprise customer communications and customer experiences, another significant part is shifting to truly automated document factories (ADF). Leaders in this category are typically finishing equipment manufacturers, such as Böwe Systec, Hunkeler, Kern, and Mueller Martini. All have end-to-end tracking solutions with integrated workflows and high automation capabilities as the core of their software portfolios. It will be thrilling to see the latest innovation in this area and to understand how these types of companies are embracing the Internet-of-Things in order to reach new levels of ADF.

Software Vendors

Lastly, there is a big market of software vendors targeting this exciting solutions market. Many of them partner with digital print and finishing equipment manufacturers, but some are also independent. Here are a few exhibitors at the show that we will make sure to check out.

BlueCrest will have its debut at the Hunkeler Innovation days this year. Last year, Pitney Bowes split off its Document Messaging Technologies (DMT) division to become an independent company fully dedicated to the print and mail industry. Together with this split also went Pitney Bowes’ DMT software suite. We are looking forward to understanding the future roadmap of these suite of software products within the newly created company BlueCrest.

At its recent Comparting 2018 conference, Compart announced a new workflow engine: DocBridge Gear, which helps customers to automate and digitize document workflow processes. At the same event it also introduced DocBridge Auditrack to the general public; a tool for monitoring, evaluating, and tracking of physical and digital communications. We will make sure to see more on these products at the show.

Although Quadient is technically a Neopost business, both companies are listed as separate exhibitors at the show. In our opinion, this makes sense giving the different market focus each company is taking. Quadient has been working hard in recent years to gain more ground in the FinTech industry while staying loyal to its traditional high-production print customers. Whereas Neopost’s software solutions are focus on helping small and medium-sized businesses in optimizing their print and mailing activities. It will be interesting to see the latest developments in these areas from both companies.

With a focus on accessibility, output management, and document storage and delivery, Crawford Technologies covers an important area of the CCM solutions market. Although recently in the news for their innovative enterprise solutions, they still are a key technology supplier for many businesses in the print industry. We are looking forward to seeing the latest state of this part of their portfolio at the show.

Solimar Systems is well-known for its Chemistry CCM platform covering all major aspects of ADF. It recently released the fifth generation (version 4.3) of Rubika, its post-composition engine for optimizing documents for print workflows and web presentment. Leveraging their partnership with RealityBLU they will also be talking about VDP-driven Augmented Reality solutions for transaction mailers. We will make sure to visit them at the SCREEN and Xerox booths to get a live view of their solutions.

InfoTrends’ Opinion

There will be lots of existing, new, and innovative software solutions at stage during the Hunkeler Innovationdays 2019 in a couple of weeks. This blog describes some of the topics we will be watching out for. Let us know what you will be watching out for. Looking forward to seeing you in Lucerne!



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