Pictured Above: Dave Johannes participates in the keynote printer panel at the 2014 Inkjet Summit.
Photo courtesy of Printing Impressions
Last year’s inaugural Inkjet Summit went above and beyond to deliver a fantastic experience. Not only was it the first conference of its kind to focus exclusively on inkjet printing, it also brought the perfect mix of industry experts and suppliers for dynamic idea sharing and networking.
But the Inkjet Summit took a big step forward in its second year. Held once again in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, attendance was much stronger, the content behind the keynote and general sessions was more dynamic and there was a wider range of speakers.
New Paper Stocks, Printers and Finishing Devices
Paper mills had a stronger presence at this year’s summit—and they showed a variety of new sheets. Many of the new stocks are specifically designed for pigment ink sets, something IWCO Direct has invested in with the Premium Pigment ink solution we use along with our new Océ ColorStream® 3900 from Canon Solutions America. The increased availability of new paper stocks should result in more competitive paper prices while improving quality. Also, there were more manufacturers with new machines and finishing devices coming to market. The immediate future is an exciting one for printers.
Best Western Case Study & General Session Panel
Another highlight of the 2014 Inkjet Summit was presenting our Best Western case study during two direct mail track sessions. It focused on how Best Western used customer data and 1-to-1 marketing with digital print to drive an increased response to their loyalty program.
I also participated in a keynote printer panel called “Understanding the Inkjet Implementation Process.” This was a free-flowing Q&A session moderated by Mark Michelson, editor-in-chief of Printing Impressions, who referred to me as “the elder statesman of digital technology.” Somehow the nickname stuck, and it turned into a running joke throughout the entire conference. Either I’m getting older or inkjet professionals are getting younger! Regardless, it’s nice to know IWCO Direct is viewed as a leader and pacesetter for color digital printing adoption.
Adoption Rate for Color Digital Printing
Color digital demand is accelerating at high speed. The rate of adoption has reached a level of velocity that outpaces previous predictions—both the number of service providers and the overall quality are rapidly improving. What does this mean for printers? Color digital printing will continue to impact direct mail in two key ways: it will give customers the opportunity to combine versions and control postage costs, and it will allow them to use customer data to create relevant dynamic messaging to increase response.
While color digital print has so much to offer now, there are still challenges to overcome. The two biggest challenges facing digital print providers today are developing workflow solutions/enhancements and finding better paper options with shorter lead times. The time saved in production with color digital printing is often needed beforehand for data prep and processing, so it’s important to save cycle time in other ways.
It’s hard to imagine the Inkjet Summit getting much better, but with the direction it’s headed, we’re already looking forward to next year. Until then, shoot me an email if you have any questions about color digital printing —and don’t forget to read our recap from last year to compare the state of inkjet printing then to where it is now.
Subscribe to SpeakingDIRECT to have new articles delivered to your inbox as they post. We promise to keep it fresh and interesting.