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Interview

EFI Connect 2007 Shaping Up to be Biggest Ever

EFI Connect,

By Cary Sherburne
Published: May 30, 2007

EFI Connect, one of the largest user groups in the industry, is fast approaching, and WhatTheyThink will be there, along with media colleagues from around the world, to report on this exciting event.  Two years ago, EFI’s CEO Guy Gecht indicated he was aiming toward building a conference with 1,500 attendees, and it appears that the conference will be close to achieving that level this year.  Being held at the nearly-new Wynn on the Las Vegas strip from June 10th through 13th, Connectis running with the theme “Discover. Innovate. Integrate.”  Over the four day event, participants will have the opportunity to attend more than 160 educational sessions, test drive the latest EFI products, discuss industry trends, and network with peers.

Two years ago, EFI’s CEO Guy Gecht indicated he was aiming toward building a conference with 1,500 attendees, and it appears that the conference will be close to achieving that level this year. 

At Connect this year there will be more classes than ever to help attendees get more out their MIS systems.  This includes Hagen, Logic, PSI and PrintSmith as well as add-on products like PrintFlow, Auto-Count, Prograph, XMPie and the PrinterSite suite of applications. There will also be meetings of the Hagen, Logic, PSI and PrintSmith user groups, where users have an opportunity to let EFI know about new features they would like to see in the applications and to interact with product managers for each product.  These sessions are invaluable for both EFI and its customers, with attendees gaining knowledge about the direction of each of the products, and EFI gaining feedback on emerging user needs to guide future development efforts. The conference sessions will also cover business management and digital workflow topics ranging from JDF to variable data printing and include Fiery, proofing, web-to-print and other solutions.

As inkjet offerings have become a bigger opportunity for commercial print providers, EFI has expanded the scope of inkjet-related content at Connect as well.

“For many of our commercial print customers, EFI solutions have been the key to business and production integration,” said Fred Rosenzweig, EFI’s President. “We continue to educate our corporate and commercial print customers on the importance of workflow and business process integration, and now we are poised to bring those same values to the inkjet and superwide format markets, where innovative, end-to-end integrated solutions have been lacking.”

As inkjet offerings have become a bigger opportunity for commercial print providers, EFI has expanded the scope of inkjet-related content at Connect as well.

This is the second year that EFI’s VUTEk superwide format printers will be on the exhibit floor at Connect. This year, two innovative products will be featured, the QS 2000 and the QS3200. These devices print on both rigid and flexible substrates up to 2 meters and 3.2 meters wide, respectively, and up to two inches (5.08 cm) thick, with a record-breaking changeover from flexible to rigid substrates in less than a minute.

Superwide format will be well-represented in the conference sessions, including a customer panel.  This is an exciting business expansion area for commercial printers, and I am constantly amazed at the unique and innovative products superwide format users are producing, especially in the area of fine art, fashion and textiles.

Jetrion will also be represented for the first time at Connect, with its 3025 and 4000 inkjet systems in the hands-on lab. The 3025 prints high volumes of bar codes, sequential numbers, expiration dates, variable logos, addresses and other variable data, while the 4000 Series of UV inkjet printers offers narrow Web converters an affordable, full-color alternative to toner-based printers.  There is also a Jetrion-oriented conference session on the schedule.

In addition to VUTEk and Jetrion equipment in the lab, all of the MIS and add-on products will be on display. Attendees can also see how the different integrated products work together, including how the PrinterSite and MIS systems interact directly with Fiery-driven output devices. The lab gives attendees a "hands on" look at the newest releases of each product, including some that are still under development. At past Connect events, the labs have been one of the most popular elements, and it is good to see that EFI continues to expand that hands-on opportunity for its users.

I always look forward to the keynotes at Connect, and this year is really special.  As a high-tech history buff and a Silicon Valley junkie (in a good sense, of course!), I am especially looking forward to hearing Guy Kawasaki speak about the Art of Innovation.

I always look forward to the keynotes at Connect, and this year is really special.  As a high-tech history buff and a Silicon Valley junkie (in a good sense, of course!), I am especially looking forward to hearing Guy Kawasaki speak about the Art of Innovation. Kawasaki is a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, and a columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine. Previously, he was an Apple Fellow at Apple Inc. where he was one of the individuals responsible for the success of the Macintosh computer. Kawasaki is the author of eight books including The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way.

Symantec CEO John Thompson will also be featured in a conversation with Guy Gecht, talking about leadership and the importance of data and Internet security, a hot topic as the web becomes an increasingly pervasive business tool in the printing industry. Under his leadership, Symantec has grown from a small consumer software publisher to a global leader in infrastructure software. With global operations in 40 countries and more than 17,500 employees, Symantec helps customers protect their infrastructure, information, and interactions by delivering software and services that address risks to security, availability, compliance, and performance.

EFI is also expanding its customer panels.  Last year, there was one customer panel as a general session on variable data printing.  This year, that is expanded to include variable data, superwide format and JDF.  Networking with their peers is always a highlight of Connect for user attendees, and these panels help stimulate great discussions.

EFI is also joining forces with XMPie to hold a complete day of hands-on training on the XMPie personalization technology. “XMPie VDP and Personalization” day will take place on Sunday, June 10th as part of Connect's pre-conference program.

I hope to see you at Connect.  If you are attending, please look me up. I will be including direct attendee feedback on the conference in my post-event coverage, and I would like to include your thoughts!

Cary Sherburne is a well-known author, journalist and marketing consultant whose practice is focused on marketing communications strategies for the printing and publishing industries.

Cary Sherburne is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us.

Please offer your feedback to Cary. She can be reached at cary@whattheythink.com.

 

 

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