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Commentary & Analysis

FREE: CIP4 - Just One Big Happy Family!

Finally it comes clear.

By Gail Nickel-Kailing
Published: May 27, 2004

Finally it comes clear. After many months of confusion, it is now obvious that the International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress (CIP4) is the world-wide operating standards body overseeing the development of computer-based integration of processes in the industry. In particular, the specification of standards such as Job Definition Format (JDF) and the Interoperability Conformance Specification (ICS).

PrintCity, an alliance of more than 40 best-in-class companies, and NGP Partners, with 43 members, are focused on marketing the solutions that are interconnected using the JDF standard. Many PrintCity members, and the PrintCity alliance itself, are members of CIP4, as are all the NGP Partners. CIP4 announced membership of more than 250 companies as of May 10.

In drupa's Hall 6, Print City exhibited 5 specialized printing factories controlled by a JDF-networked Integration Center, producing live print jobs. JDF was used at every stage of the production process, including job tracking and statistical analysis.

The NGP Partners Pavilion highlighted more than 80 pairs of products  those that can send and receive information from each other  in Hall 4. These pairs represented more than 43 NGP Partners. A matrix showing the status of the partner pairs is available online  in English and German  at http://www.ngppartners.org/open_standards.htm.

NGP Partners Are Partnering

Representatives of the NGP Partners initiative were able to clarify the complimentary thrusts of CIP4 and NGP Partners. While CIP4 is responsible for writing the JDF specification and Interoperability Conformance Specifications (ICS), the NGP Partners organization is testing and implementing JDF solutions as quickly as the partners are developing them. Bringing the implementation results back to CIP4 has created a feedback loop that will enhance the technical efforts of the CIP4 technology work groups.

Customer Advisory Board
To collect feedback from customers on the development and implementation of the NGP solutions, NGP Partners has created a Customer Advisory Board. Dialog with printers will provide information as to the return on investment from JDF integrations.

NGP Partners' Vision
NGP Partners future efforts will be to continue to provide integration feedback to CIP4 for inclusion in future versions of the JDF specification by documenting:

  • Implementation issues
  • On-site testing procedures
  • Issue escalation procedures

And on the marketing side of the fence, NGP Partners will create implementation best practices,' document cross-supplier project management practices, and quantify the value of implementations at printers' sites.

PrintCity Announcing

Print-media MBA
At drupa, PrintCity announced the first distance learning Print-media MBA, in cooperation with the Manchester Business School and HdM Stuttgart, Europe's leading print-media university. The new program offers a three-stage structure of certificate, diploma, and MBA levels, through a combination of distance learning, face-to-face residential sessions and complete IT support. The course will be launched in July 2004.

New digital book production techniques
A business partnership grew out of PrintCity's Digital Activity Group that has developed software and links using UP³I (Universal Printer, Pre- and Postprocessing Interface) to connect products from digital printing company Océ, digital postpress manufacturer Stralfors, folder manufacturer MBO and binding company Wohlenberg into a new book production system. The system will be marketed through PrintCity's commercial and sales channels, as well as by PrintCity member companies.

PrintCity's long term vision
Slightly tongue-in-cheek, John Dangelmaier, PrintCity's President did share the organizations very long term vision, We have a vision that is literally "out of this world!" In 2035, we predict that PrintCity will launch its first JDF installation on Mars! That will be just in time for drupa 2036! Make your reservations now!



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