Andy Tribute interviews Dr. Francis Lamy about their new breakthrough product, PantoneLIVE.
Andy Tribute: I’d like to open this discussion - this is Francis Lamy, who is the Chief Technical Officer of X-Rite and who’d previously discovered the launch of PantoneLIVE, which is the new color database for, initially, the packaging industry, which we’ve covered in the publication. But I’d just like to ask Francis some key questions for the future.
Francis, the database you’ve built with PantoneLIVE at the moment is aimed at packaging, but the whole structure is such that, when you add more to it in terms of appearance, models and things it will go in a much wider space. Where is the real future for PantoneLIVE?
Francis Lamy: Actually, what we have built was PantoneLIVE. It’s a cloud-based DM and infrastructure. Basically, it’s a set of tools and a database depository that enables to connect very easily and unobtrusively to a packaging workflow today. But in general, it’s aimed at ambitions is larger than packaging because actually address a great variety of connected supply chains where color matters.
So we have spent a great deal by working with partners, but also by working on the infrastructure, too, that enables this coexistence of - not coexistence but the circulation of value along the supply chain from designer to producers and make sure that the various actors along the supply chain can actually compare measurements amongst them.
Andy Tribute: Okay, now what we’ve seen in the first implementation is packaging. However, if you look at today where more and more things are bought over the Internet and we’re looking at how we buy on the Internet, how we trust the Internet, and we then look at the potential problems we have with products such as the usual mobile phone, such as this, yeah, and color management in these is not there at this sort of stage and we can't trust the color we see on them.
Once someone like Apple and Google with Android and Microsoft add much better color management into their devices, color is going to become far more valuable in terms of appearance. Where is that -
Francis Lamy: Yeah, actually, color . Actually, the effort that we have made with PantoneLIVE actually consists of, first of all, finding a language to digitize color. And by defining this language i.e. IXF we actually have sort of enabled color to be communicated along a supply chain. We are doing a very similar effort to try to encompass in a single and similar way other attributes than just color, i.e. texture, gloss and subsurface. These four or three attributes of appearance really will enable us to not only measure but also encapsulate in a digital way and communicate and visualize remotely appearance characteristics, and therefore also, we no longer are limiting the PantoneLIVE infrastructure and DRM to the graphic arts supply chain. But, basically, we are addressing a far bigger and far more interesting market where appearance matters and we believe that appearance is a driver for every design decision or every purchase decision where a person feels smart.
Andy Tribute: So on the basis of that, in future I will be able to go, or anyone will be able to go on their phone, on their pad or whatever and buy something over the Internet, looking at it to assess the texture, they can assess the color and buy with a guarantee that, when the product’s delivered to them, it’s what they expect, in the same way as in the shop.
Francis Lamy: I think this is also a very important and interesting point that we haven't talked about yet. But I think PantoneLIVE is a really post-PC infrastructure. What we mean post-PC is that we are no longer addressing the consuming experience when you're sitting at a computer or on a desktop environment or on a laptop.
What we are really addressing with PantoneLIVE is the connectivity to the mobile environment, because actually mobile, environment mobile displays, sensor enriched mobile displays, actually enables color and appearance to be consumed where actually customers need it. For instance, if you buy a carpet, if you buy a tile, if you buy laminates, if you buy a countertop for your kitchen, it really is important that you can assess the varieties of substrates, the varieties of stones, of granite or whatever at the place you actually want to use it.
So a mobile platform through the enriched sensors and cameras and gyroscopes today that they feature it actually enables to simulate materials by the way materials actually reflect back light, by the texture and by looking at the materials from different angles using the gyroscopes. You actually can compute the rendering of materials on a tablet in real time.
Andy Tribute: On the base of that, my assessment from that is that, potentially, you have what could become the most valuable cloud-based database in terms of if your database owns all the information in terms of presentation, color, viewability, et cetera, that's incredibly valuable and it must make X-Rite a very, very key player in the cloud future.
Francis Lamy: I think about the technical vision, certainly. I mean, what we are trying to address is really to try to substitute by current means the exchange of physical samples and this addresses, as you said, a very vast variety supply chain and not only graphic arts supply chain but and easily applied in every decision where tastes matter, be it in a buying decision for the consumer or an industrial design situation for a car manufacturer or for form design in appliance design.
Andy Tribute: Francis, thank you very much indeed. I think the vision of that is phenomenal. I’ve been privileged to work with you for years and years in terms of seeing your thoughts on this. And I think this is brilliant and I’m just looking forward to seeing just where it goes in the future. Thank you very much.
Francis Lamy: Thank you very much.
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