Looking for trends at drupa 2008
drupa, the quadrennial celebration of print, is upon us once again. The 2008 show will be a great opportunity to see everything and gather critical information for one’s business plan.
Compared with 2004, this show will have a high number of products with JDF 1.3 capabilities, and will mark the debut of JDF 1.4. The systems to note at drupa 2008 will be those that apply similar principles to more complex challenges, enlisting the customer and its IT system as an active participant in the print workflow process.
With the increase in JDF/JMF automation potential, as well as a plethora of print-specific database technologies, the need for sophisticated quality management controls is greater than ever. Printers at drupa 2008 should pay particular attention to management information system (MIS) offerings, which will play an increasingly important role in integrating high-quality marketing services, data management, and other innovative services to the business of print.
An emerging trend is the social and environmental impact of print. At drupa 2008, many suppliers will offer partial solutions, such as paper from FSC-certified sources. However, there are currently few comprehensive technology solutions to these issues.
At drupa, be prepared to view a wide variety of Quark- and Adobe-compatible technologies—not simply plug-ins for desktop users, but a new generation of server-based products built upon the two companies’ rendering engines and cross-media authoring environments.
Arguably, for printers willing to intelligently take on new technologies and new business models, the future has never been brighter. However, the fact that a small percentage of printers are earning the lion’s share of the profits indicates that there are still far too many printers focused on price, volume, and a commodity mentality, making their survival problematic. The true print innovators will triumph, whether they call themselves printers or not.
Innovation has always been the hallmark of successful print communication, although printers themselves are all too often conservative and over-cautious. drupa 2008 will contain its share of both innovation and stagnant technologies. For the printer with vision, however, Düsseldorf will be a golden opportunity.