Commentary & Analysis
Happy 2nd Anniversary, Canon Solutions America!
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne joined a group of 40 journalists and analysts to help Canon Solutions America celebrate its 2nd anniversary and to learn what is new from the organization and where it is going in the future
By Cary Sherburne
Published: March 4, 2015
Canon Solutions America shared a lot of news with the 40 journalists and analysts that journeyed to sunny Florida for the company’s second anniversary celebration. A great deal was covered and space precludes us from reporting everything. But a few of the highlights of the event included:
- The company shared positive financial results for 2014 across the board, including a sharp uptick in revenues for professional services – in fact, 120% growth according to James Sharp, executive vice president, Professional Services, who said, “Customers are willing to pay for these services if we can demonstrate we have the capabilities to meet their needs.” Sharp also talked about Canon’s mobile enablement of its professional and technical services work force as a driver of increased efficiency and better customer service. Sharp also shared Canon’s plans to build a standardized test facility for testing the ability of third party software to integrate with Canon solutions, including its PRISMA workflow. Sharp said, “Customers have told us that they don’t want us to choose partners for them. To meet that requirement, this facility will be open to any third parties who wish to integrate with us or whose customers want that integration.”
- Progress in development of the Varioprint i300 (formerly known as code-name Niagara), a press the company describes as a game-changing sheetfed inkjet press. Direct mailer IWCO will be an early install site for this press, and Canon is planning a visit for journalists to this customer site in June. Canon Solutions America plans to have four of these presses installed in 2015, with installs to ramp up significantly in 2016. Stay tuned!
- Canon reported it is on target with its Océ ImageStream 3500 production inkjet press, and since the event announced another member of this family, the ImageStream 2400, with similar capabilities but specifically designed to meet customer demand for a 20” workflow. WhatTheyThink’s David Zwang provided a detailed review of the ImageStream 3500 in an article last year. Its high quality, compact footprint and ability to print on offset stocks make it an attractive offering in the inkjet market.
- Announcement of Canon Solutions America’s new user group, thINK, which will leverage the power of the company’s extensive worldwide installed base of production inkjet presses. InfoTrends’ Jim Hamilton discussed details of this group in WhatTheyThink’s Digital Nirvana blog.
- An update on the InfiniStream program, Canon’s liquid toner entry into the folding carton market. The press is expected to be available in late 2016 in the U.S., and Canon will be staffing up with outside talent knowledgeable about the packaging industry as the company prepares itself for launch into this new market segment.
- A visit to Canon’s expanded Media Lab in Boca Raton, which had been open for just one week when we toured. John Crumbaugh, Media and Ink Marketing Executive with Canon Solutions America, reports that he has doubled the staff in the lab, with many having scientific backgrounds in chemical engineering and coming from the mill environment. The lab sports all of the necessary equipment to thoroughly test media from more than 30 different mills. The outcome is a library of evaluated media; Crumbaugh states that the Lab is not in the certification business since media can change over time. Rather, he says, “We want our customers to have lots of choices and we always recommend that customers do a full test themselves in their own environment, including the effect of finishing.”
- An overview of the Future Authors’ Program, a collaborative effort with the Palm Beach County School District. This program is in its 10th year and typically accommodates 40 students in an 8-week summer workshop, which has grown from 16 students in the first year. Director Diana Fedderman reports that the first year saw 16 applicants, all of whom were accepted into the program. Most recently, the program had 200 applicants, 40 of which were accepted, the maximum capacity of the program. Students create a book each year as they work through the process of writing, editing and digital publication of books. All copies of the printed book are signed by all 40 participants. Students benefit from expert speakers that include journalists, authors and occasionally technical writers. More than 400 students have participated in the program to date, and the group would like to see it replicated in other parts of the country. The first replication is a program being put in place by Bridgeport National Bindery in Massachusetts. If our readers are interested in participating, I would be happy to put them in touch with Ms. Fedderman.
There was much more covered at the event, including a terrific presentation from Kent Long of Thomas Printworks. The company was founded in 1956 as a blueprint shop and has reinvented itself several times over the years, most recently with a rebranding to Thomas Printworks. The company has partnered with Canon/Océ for the past 22 years and is a 100% Canon shop.
In a one-on-one discussion with Canon Solutions America executive vice president, Large Format Solutions and Production Print Solutions, Mal Baboyian, he said, “We are just two years old as an organization, and I couldn’t be more pleased with our progress and the respect Canon has shown us. I am also amazingly optimistic about the future of PPS and LFS, moreso than I have been in a decade. The future is bright for this organization.”
As we moved through the event, Baboyian’s enthusiasm was reflected in everyone we met. We’ll be continuing to monitor developments as Canon Solutions America moves toward its third anniversary.