Commentary & Analysis
FREE The Softer Side of On Demand: A Peek at Software and Workflow News Part 1
By Cary Sherburne
Published: May 26, 2005
Last week’s On Demand show in Philadelphia exhibited a high level of energy in its first time in this new venue. We will be watching for the statistics from Advanstar to see what the actual turnout was and how that compares to previous years. This year, the division between AIIM and On Demand, while still there from a logistical perspective, was less definitive—AIIM on the left, On Demand on the right as you entered the show floor, occupying a single large show floor space. But as with many things in our industry, the lines are blurring, and perhaps in the future we will see these two shows merge even more. My focus was primarily on the On Demand side, although there were certainly applications being shown there that would have fit right into the AIIM world.
This article, and the second half of it tomorrow (Friday 5/27) will highlight a few of the software and workflow tools being shown at On Demand this year. It is not meant to be exhaustive, by any means. My apologies in advance to any of the exhibitors I wasn’t able to cover here or in my previous articles about the show.
I stopped by the Canon booth to see what was new in the workflow arena and spent some time with Scott Duffy, Ribstone Systems, and a Canon alliance partner. Ribstone was showing its MEAP-enabled Scan to Print Solution, which offers high-volume scanning and printing specifically geared to the legal market. The company sells both to law firms who wish to bring this activity in-house and providers of litigation support services. At the show, Ribstone was introducing its first MEAP-enabled application for scan to print, including a robust Bates numbering capability. The solution is enabled to work on Canon’s 70 series MFPs. The next MEAP-enabled application we can expect to see from Ribstone is its Image Printer for high speed printing of TIFF and PDF files that come out of litigation databases, expected to be available in the third quarter. Another application, Scan Express, will be available in the fourth quarter. Applications that take advantage of Canon’s MEAP architecture are able to operate directly from the MFP controller without needing a separate workstation or user interface.
Rich Sosa, Canon’s imageWARE Publishing Manager, demonstrated the latest version of imageWARE Publishing Manager. imageWARE uses a Microsoft Sequel database engine and its Publishing Manager allows users to eliminate manual operations and associated errors for activities like scanning cleanup, tab insertion, file export. imageWARE Publishing Manager comes in two versions, Standard, which lists at $960, and Pro which lists at $2,700. Pro includes enhanced hot folder, Bates stamping and image editor capabilities. With Pro, users can create up to 100 hot folders, each with its own set of rules, for a high level of office automation.
Longtime Canon partner eCopy, the company’s first MEAP partner, touted its enhanced MEAP-enabled eCopy ScanStation at the show and the over 35 Connector partners it currently has. With eCopy Connectors, native integration within the application allows seamless workflow between front office and back office applications, managing the capture of information and its porting to databases such as SAP and others. eCopy indicates it plans to double the number of Connectors available by the end of the year. Once only available with Canon devices, eCopy has also recently opened up its architecture to include other print engine manufacturers, including Ricoh and HP.
In the run-up to the completion of its acquisition by Kodak, Creo is turning up the heat on solutions that deliver a unified offset/digital workflow. Creo’s Media Relations Manager, Rochelle van Halm, said, “In the past we called it hybrid workflow, but now we are talking in terms unified workflow, which we believe is a better description. A unified workflow allows customers who have Prinergy and Brisque prepress systems to send job files without changes to Spire for digital printing.”
Creo was showing Prinergy 3.0, shipping this month, which van Halm indicates has lots of new integration for digital printing and is now able to send job files to any JDF-enabled digital press. In a technology demonstration, Creo was showing Prinergy and Brisque in the Kodak booth feeding jobs files through the NexPress 2100’s NexStation front end. Prinergy can also send directly to the Xerox Freeflow Print Manager. Creo also announced two new NGP partners, Pace Technologies and Printable.
Creo also announced that it is providing front-end technology for IKON and Konica Minolta in its quest to be more open and address a wider swath of the industry. According to Gershon Alon, Creo’s Director of Marketing, “Konica Minolta and IKON both were looking for market differentiation and asked if Creo could develop unique DFEs for them. We implemented these DFEs with Creo technology designed in modular way so that we could take the elements they wanted and redress them in a way that would benefit their customers.” These DFEs carry the respective partner brand names with completely customized GUI’s. The “Powered by Creo” label is the only indicator of the manufacturing source. Alon added, “Our whole booth is focused on bringing workflow into the mainstream, including Darwin for InDesign for variable data workflow, released in the beginning of May.” Creo also launched a Microsoft Word plug-in called Optimized Mail Merge that allows Word users to more efficiently create mail merges by emitting Creo’s VDS (variable data specification) from Word. This significantly reduces file sizes sent to the printer and simplifies the overall workflow. According to Gershon, in a large mail merge job that could result in a 200 megabyte file, Mail Merge Optimizer produces a file that is less than 2 megabytes. Available from Creo, it sells for $250.
While EFI didn’t have its own booth at On Demand, it was widely visible in a number of partner booths. I visited the Ricoh booth to see how EFI had implemented its SendMe Enterprise Solution in partnership with Ricoh. SendMe, a portal to digital document distribution and management for paper intensive businesses, integrates with Ricoh and other MFPs and with EFI’s Digital Storefront, converting paper documents to digital files using a touch screen mounted next to the device. API scripting allows users to establish specific distribution paths to automate workflow and reduce routing errors. Integration with Digital Storefront allows easy implementation of a secure document repository and e-commerce capabilities.
EFI also announced availability of Fiery System 6e software for the Ricoh Aficio Color 5560 and the multifunction Aficio 3260C, new additions to the Ricoh color family that deliver 55 ppm and 45 ppm color output speeds respectively. The EFI print controller optimizes the Aficio systems to offer high functionality, user convenience and enhanced color capability, and come standard with copying, scanning, and printing capabilities.
EFI and Konica Minolta announced the availability of the EFI MicroPress ProSeries 7.0 Production Print Workflow Solution for the bizhub PRO C500 color production printing system. With its raster-based workflow, MicroPress ProSeries 7.0 is designed to increase productivity in digital production environments. MicroPress ProSeries 7.0 brings advancements in speed, make-ready capabilities, easily accessed color management tools, ease-of-use for front-end print management and print workflow applications, as well as three new workflow server options.
And EFI was also present in the Xerox booth, where it showed the Fiery EXP8000 color server for Xerox Corporation's DocuColor 7000 Digital Press, also launched at the show. The new press, coupled with the EXP8000, is designed for mission-critical, high-end production printing environments.
Part 2: Extreme, Meadows Publishing Solutions, Objective Advantage, Techno Design, and XMPie