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Recap of On Demand Digital Printing & Publishing Conference, New York City, April 22-25, 2002

MAY 1, 2002 — The 2002 On Demand Digital Printing & Publishing Conference (aka the "On Demand Expo") was held April 22-25, 2002 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. Citation Software personnel spent the week at On Demand. Here is our report on some of the information that was presented there and on some of the new and improved products that were being demonstrated.

First — the show appeared to be very well attended. We spoke with many of the exhibitors, and they all said that they were pleased with the traffic. Representatives from CAP Ventures, the company that produced the event, also stated that they were pleased with the turnout.

As expected, the topic of variable-data publishing received much attention. Two basic themes were stated repeatedly at various On Demand venues:
  1. Direct-marketing programs based on variable-data publishing can be very successful in terms of return on investment.

  2. Cross-media variable-data publishing is becoming increasingly important. In this context, the term "cross-media" denotes printing on paper and/or publishing to the Web and/or publishing to eBook devices and/or publishing to hand-held devices (e.g., Palm).
Although Citation Software personnel were very busy with scheduled meetings and with visits to exhibitor booths on the show floor, some of the Citation Software Inc. folks did find time to attend a few of the On Demand 2002 educational sessions and events. Here is a synopsis of some of the discussions that took place:
Xerox DataGlyphTM Technology

On Tuesday, April 23rd, at a session entitled "Crossing the Cross-Media Divide: Moving Your Expertise Beyond Paper," a very interesting presentation was given by Robert S. Bauer, Ph.D., Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Xerox Global Services. Dr. Bauer is based at the prestigious Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)).

Dr. Bauer covered several important topics in his talk, but in our opinion the most interesting topic was Xerox DataGlyphs. A Xerox DataGlyph is a printed format that can be used to print graphic elements that contain data that cannot be read by the human eye. A Xerox DataGlyph is a type of "two-dimensional symbology" (2-D symbology).

DataGlyph codes represent a new way for people, documents, and machines to communicate. They allow a document to carry thousands of bytes of digital information in unobtrusive gray patterns that can appear as backgrounds, shade patterns, or conventional graphic-design elements. These patterns can contain digitally encoded information that can be used for finishing instructions, authenticity verification, print verification, and many other applications.

For more information about this interesting technology, visit http://www.parc.com/solutions/dataglyphs.


Business Issues Attendant To Cross-Media Variable-Data Publishing

Another presenter at the April 23rd "Crossing the Cross-Media Divide..." session was Harvey Levinson, Ph.D. Dr.Levinson is Department Head of Graphic Communication at California Polytechnic State University. His presentation focused for the most part on the business aspects of cross-media publishing.

One of the topics that he discussed was "market cannibalization" and how to avoid it. Market cannibalization is defined by www.investopedia.com as "The negative impact a new product has on the sales performance of a company's existing, related products." (In other words, cannibalization means that "you are eating your own market.") Dr. Levinson stated that printing companies that venture into cross-media publishing can ameliorate the cannibalization effect by charging customers for generating electronic documents, thus compensating for money lost on print business.

He also presented insight regarding how to convince customers to use variable-data-publishing for their marketing campaigns. He gave this simple formula, which can be applied to almost any print-based direct-marketing campaign:
Divide the cost of an offset-printing project by the number of leads that it generates; then divide the cost of a variable-data-printing project by the number of leads it generates. The variable-data-printing project wins, virtually every time.
Another of Dr. Levinson's topics was "how to motivate sales people to sell variable-data printing & publishing." He said that it's simple: you motivate them with money. He gave examples of poorly structured compensation programs that did not reward salespeople well (or at all) for selling variable-data printing & publishing.

Dr. Levinson also explained how digital-watermarking technology is being used on printed packaging and promotional pieces. The technology works like this: a Web-site URL is embedded in a digital watermark that is printed on a package or on a promotional item. A prospective customer who has a digital camera attached to his computer need only hold the printed piece in front of the digital camera, and his browser will go automatically to the specified URL.


How To Create A Cross-Media Variable-Data-Publishing System

Cynthia L. Leslie, Citation Software's President, was also on the panel at the April 23rd "Crossing The Cross-Media Divide..." session. Her presentation was focused for the most part on variable-data-publishing systems that print documents on paper and also generate documents in HTML format or PDF format for Internet distribution.

Ms. Leslie made the point that you don't have to be a programmer to create variable-data documents, because today's state-of-the-art variable-data-publishing systems provide a point-and-click interface that allow a non-programmer to set up a system that produces variable-data documents. She also stated that the ideal cross-media variable-data-publishing system is one that is easy to use, is easy to maintain, works well with the equipment that you own or plan to buy, exploits your employees' current skill sets, meets future needs as well as current needs, and is not too expensive. She explained how these criteria can be met.

Ms. Leslie also stressed that — in most cases — it's not a good idea to write your own software for creating variable-data documents, because you can buy off-the-shelf solutions that will do the job. In addition, she said that it's definitely not a good idea to create two different systems for generating variable-data documents (one for paper documents and one for Web documents).

A Microsoft PowerPoint file containing Ms. Leslie's presentation is available at the following location:

    www.CitationSoftware.com/vdp_x_media_cynthialeslie_OnDemand2002.ppt.


Presentation By Charlie Corr of CAP Ventures

CAP Ventures, the company that produced the On Demand 2002 conference, graciously hosted an Executive Breakfast on Wednesday, April 24th. Charlie Corr of CAP Ventures gave a briefing. Here are some of the highlights:
  • The following markets are in decline: analog copiers, data-center black & white printers, spot-color printers

  • The following markets are growing: variable-data printing, print-and-mail operations

  • He gave the following advice to print providers:

    • Drop the price of production color to 25 cents per page and your business will increase dramatically

    • Focus on open solutions as opposed to proprietary ones

    • Extend substrate support and provide Pantone color matching on digital color devices

    • Focus on process improvements

    • Look for customers whose companies are growing
He gave the following advice to solution providers:
  • Develop metrics to facilitate market knowledge

  • Adopt open standards

  • Clearly illustrate benefits and value proposition

Presentation By Holly Muscolino of CAP Ventures

Another presenter at the April 24th CAP Ventures Executive Breakfast was Holly Muscolino of CAP Ventures. In her talk, she identified the following key trends:
  • There is a growing focus on process innovation and workflow efficiency

  • There is wider acceptance and growth of outsourcing

  • There is continued growth in non-print services

  • There are changes in end-user requirements and processes

  • The role of the Internet and e-business is growing rapidly

  • Print-on-demand business continues to grow as new digital technology is offered


Presentation By Michael Maziarka of CAP Ventures

Michael Maziarka of CAP Ventures also delivered a presentation at the April 24th Executive Breakfast. His talk focused on content strategy. He gave the following reasons why organizations need a content strategy:
  • Information anytime, anywhere: Multi-channel delivery

  • Knowledge Management: Collaboration

  • Capturing Attention: Rich media

  • Customer Service: Personalization

  • Global Markets: Localization

  • Time-to-market: Productivity and efficiency

All of the presentations that were delivered at the April 24th Executive Breakfast are contained in a PDF file that can be found at the following location on the CAP Ventures Web site:

    www.capv.com/eprise/main/home/Presentations/ODB02.pdf.


Synopsis of Presentation by Elaine Wilde, Xerox

Those who attended the morning session of the On Demand 2002 "1:1 Marketing Forum" on Wednesday, April 24th, had to opportunity to hear a talk given by Elaine Wilde, General Manager of Worldwide Graphic Arts for Xerox (www.xerox.com). Ms. Wilde said that much of her time is devoted to visiting users of Xerox equipment and solutions, so she spends a lot of time at printing companies and in corporate in-house print departments, etc.

She stated that she has identified three distinct personalities in the printing industry:
  1. printers that are happy and excited about the new 1:1 opportunities

  2. printers that are somewhat worried and confused because of the current industry focus on 1:1 communications

  3. printers that are so discouraged about the focus on 1:1 communications that they're pretty much ready to get out of the printing business.

She believes that an industry shake-down is on the horizon — that is, some printing companies will not survive, but others will become stronger. The ones that embrace technology are the ones that will grow in strength.


Highlights of Keynote Address Given by David Sable, Wunderman

The keynote address for the On Demand 2002 April 24th "1:1 Marketing Forum" was delivered by David Sable, President of Wunderman (www.wunderman.com. The Wunderman company is a recognized leader in direct marketing.

In his talk, Mr. Sable focused on the idea that it is very important to build relationships with your customers. He also explained that in some industries and under some circumstances it is difficult or nearly impossible to do that. For example, he said that it's hard for companies in the consumer-electronics industry to build relationships with their customers.

Mr. Sable pointed out that Dell Computer Corporation is really good at building customer relationships. Dell depends on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology to build and maintain customer relationships.

He also stated that print-based marketing programs and the U.S. Postal Service are very important today, in spite of the fact that much attention is devoted to Web-based marketing programs. According to Mr. Sable, only 40% of U.S. households are on line — so you really can't depend solely on Web-based marketing campaigns to reach potential customers (unless you know for sure that most of the prospects that you're targeting are on line).


Highlights of Presentation by Ann Maria Boggio of Spiral Binding Company and Colin Doyle of WellConnected

Also at the morning session of the April 24th "1:1 Marketing Forum," Anna Maria Boggio, Director of Marketing & National Accounts for Spiral Binding Company, teamed up with Colin Doyle, Vice President of WellConnected, to give a presentation that focused on a direct-marketing program that's in use currently at Spiral Binding. Here are two of the key points that were made by Ms. Boggio and Mr. Doyle:
  • Spiral Binding uses Business Reply Cards extensively in their direct-marketing program

  • They also used incentive gifts extensively. According to Mr. Doyle, the following incentive gifts are often very effective: engraved writing instruments, personalized books & planners, executive items.


Highlights of Presentation Given by Jim Lewis of Relationship Marketing

Jim Lewis, President of Relationship Marketing, also gave a talk during the morning session of the On Demand 2002 "1:1 Marketing Forum." Here are two of his key points:
  • A customer relationship that is built on convenience is very valuable

  • If you're trying to convince a customer or prospect to buy into a direct-marketing program that is based on personalized communications, don't let the customer or prospect try to convince you to obtain empirical data for similar programs. He says that good data is hard to find, because many companies that are succeeding with direct-marketing programs based on personalized communications are not willing to share information about their technologies or their returns on investment.
There were many other interesting and informative sessions and events at On Demand 2002, but we've only reported on the sessions and events mentioned above because those are the sessions and events that we attended. Note, however, that additional information about some of the On Demand 2002 sessions and events is available on the CAP Ventures Web site (www.capv.com).


As mentioned above, Citation Software personnel spent considerable time on the exhibit floor at On Demand 2002. Here is our rundown on some of the new software products that were demonstrated, along with some information about other not-so-new but great products that were shown there:
New Versions Of PrintShop Mail Demonstrated By Atlas Software

Atlas Software (www.printshopmail.com) demonstrated new Windows and Macintosh versions of their "PrintShop Mail" variable-data-publishing products at On Demand 2002. These two products, which were launched at IPEX 2002 in Europe earlier this month, contain quite a few enhancements that will be welcomed by current PrintShop Mail users and should be of interest to anyone who is considering using PrintShop Mail for variable-data printing & publishing.

Compared to the previous "PrintShop Mail 98" version, the new PrintShop Mail Windows version, " PrintShop Mail 4.0 Windows Edition (WE)," runs variable-data print jobs faster and has an improved graphical user interface. It includes many new features and improvements related to design/layout, text objects, images, databases, variables and printing technologies. This new version also features support for Unicode and dual-byte characters, and it includes an "AutoPrint" feature that allows users to automate production of variable-data documents.

The new PrintShop Mail Macintosh 4.3 version is an update from the Macintosh 4.2 version. Most notably, this new Macintosh version has support for PDF image files, features the new PPML technology, and includes a "Hot Folder" function which enables users to automate production of variable-data print jobs.

NOTE: Registered users of PrintShop Mail can download the new versions free of charge from www.printshopmail.com.

To get more information about PrintShop Mail and to obtain a free demo version of the PrintShop Mail software, visit www.citationsoftware.com/SolutionFinder_VarDataPandP.htm#ATLS_PrintShopMail (scroll down to "Variable-data-publishing software from Atlas Software BV").


Three New Products Announced By GMC Technology

At On Demand 2002 (and also at IPEX 2002), GMC Technology (www.gmc.net) announced three new products:
  1. PrintNet Transactional, which is a revolutionary new product for the transactional, billing, and financial markets that has been under development at GMC for the past 2½ years. This product, which is also known as "PrintNet T," is one of the most advanced transactional-document solutions available.

  2. PrintNet Output Server is a highly flexible and configurable printing framework enabling centralized, enterprise-wide output and task management. Also known as "PrintNet OS," this product is custom-configured to fit into the customer?s production environment, so local and remote tasks can be automated and run from the central PrintNet OS server, then monitored locally via Windows or java-enabled browser. This allows both task management and job management to be integrated into a single workflow environment.

  3. AFP Transformer is a new software solution from GMC that takes in AFP code and can output documents in many different formats.
For more details, visit www.gmc.net


DesignMerge for Variable-Data Publishing and AutoPrice for Catalog Publishing, Etc. Offered By Banta

In its booth at On Demand 2002, Banta Integrated Media demonstrated its DesignMergeTM variable-data-publishing system. Available for both Windows & Macintosh, DesignMerge is a QuarkXPress® XTensionTM that provides sophisticated variable-data-publishing capabilities. In addition to the features that you'd expect to find in a mature variable-data-publishing solution, this easy-to-use software (formerly known as "Meadows DataMerge") provides advanced text-handling features that are not found in some competing products. There is a "find longest line" feature that helps the user with the task of specifying the ideal size and shape for a text box that will contain variable text to be rendered at a particular size, using particular tracking and line-spacing parameters. And there is also a "copy-fitting" feature that allows the user to define font-size, tracking, and line-spacing parameters that the software will use to fit text blocks of varying lengths into an allocated area. Note that Banta recently released new output drivers that allow DesignMerge to generate variable-data documents in formats that allows particular types of printers to print faster than they could with earlier versions of DesignMerge.

Banta also offers an interesting product called AutoPriceTM, which is also a QuarkXPress XTension. An ideal tool for publishing catalogs, AutoPrice provides sophisticated linking of QuarkXPress documents to any external database. As the name implies, AutoPrice is great for performing pricing updates on catalogs, retail flyers and similar publications; but it is also perfect for updating phone lists, timetables, or any other type of information that can be referenced by a "key value," such as a product number (SKU).

For more information about these solutions, visit www.meadowsinfo.com.


PlanetPress Suite Demonstrated By Objectif Lune

Objectif Lune (www.objectiflune.com demonstrated its PlanetPress Suite of software applications at On Demand 2002. The PlanetPress software enables laser printers to be used in variable-data printing applications with data from almost any host.

The PlanetPress variable-data-printing solution is different from most other commercial variable-data-printing solution in that the data-merge process is managed in the printer. (Most variable-data-printing applications manage the data-merge process outside of the printer — i.e., on a server or on a host computer.) For this reason, PlanetPress is an ideal variable-data-printing solution for environments where security is of utmost importance. For example, if you need to print checks, or if you need to print patient records for a medical institution, PlanetPress might be right for your organization.

With PlanetPress, as with most other state-of-the-art variable-data-publishing solutions, you design variable-data-documents by using a graphical user interface (GUI). The PlanetPress GUI software runs on the Windows platform.

PlanetPress can generate many kins of documents — from simple black-and-white forms populated with data to full-color personalized documents containing data-driven charts & graphs.

Several available optional PlanetPress modules allow PlanetPress-generated documents to be utilized for different purposes after they are created. For example, the PlanetPress Watch module enables output management — including distributed printing and electronic document delivery.

To learn more about Objectif Lune's PlanetPress products, contact Citation Software Inc. at 888-260-7316, or visit www.objectiflune.cm.


DocuRight Offered By FirstLogic

FirstLogic (www.firstlogic.com) demonstrated its DocuRight variable-data-publishing solution at On Demand 2002. The DocuRight solution consists of 1) Microsoft Office add-on software that lets you use the Windows version of Microsoft Word as a tool to design templates for variable-data documents, and 2) a stand-alone Windows application or Unix application that merges a database with a template to produce variable-data documents in PostScript, PCL, PDF, VIPP, Metacode, AFP, or IPDS format.

DocuRight's powerful page-layout capabilities are suited for producing virtually any kind of variable-data document — from basic personalized letters to transactional statements of varying lengths to graphics-intensive documents in which graphics & text are positioned and formatted dynamically.

You can store variable text in Rich Text Format (RTF); you can split and send print jobs to multiple printers for efficient load balancing and printer utilization; and you can generate data-driven graphics such as bar charts & pie charts.

To get more details about DocuRight, contact Citation Software Inc. at 888-260-7316.


DL Formatter Demonstrated By Datalogics

Datalogics (www.datalogics.com) demonstrated its DL Formatter variable-data-publishing solution at On Demand 2002. DL Formatter is a document-design and composition solution for producing personalized documents. DL Formatter runs on Windows computers and Macintosh computers. It functions as a plug-in or XTension to Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, or QuarkXPress.

The latest version of DL Formatter, Version 4.1, brings enriched support to meet the requirements of a wider range of digital presses. Version 4.1 generates output in Creo VPS format, Indigo PPML format, and PPML/VDX format. Support for these output formats is important for Creo, Indigo, and NexPress customers, as it provides them with the ability to easily generate variable output in the formats required to feed their digital printers.

To learn more about DL Formatter, contact Citation Software Inc. at 888-260-7316, or visit www.citationsoftware.com/SolutionFinder_VarDataPandP.htm#Datalogics_DL_Formatter.


 




    
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