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InterlinkONE CEO John Foley shares his first drupa experience

Published on May 29, 2012

John Foley, CEO of InterlinkONE, talks to Cary Sherburne about his first experience with drupa. John came to Germany to see what other solutions were out there other than printing for service providers. John and Cary also get into the changing nature of communications and what drupa might look like in 20 years.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I'm Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink and I'm here with John Foley, who's CEO of InterlinkONE.  Welcome.

John Foley:  Thank you.  Hi, Cary.

Cary Sherburne:  Good to see you.

John Foley:  Thanks for having me.

Cary Sherburne:  Thanks for being here.

John Foley:  Again.

Cary Sherburne:  It's always great to talk to you, and you know we're here at Drupa, which is what 1.8 million square feet of mostly big iron.

John Foley:  Yes.

Cary Sherburne:  In 19 buildings, something like that, and you're a software guy.  So walking around here, what do you think?

John Foley:  Well I posted some stuff on social yesterday.  First of all, it's kind of amazing to me.  I've never been to Drupa.  So to see all the halls and how big they are, some of the size of the booths are kind of --

Cary Sherburne:  Overwhelming.

John Foley:  They're overwhelming.  It's interesting, right.  And I actually went backwards yesterday.  I started from 17 and worked down, and it was all in the big iron things.  So it's not just that I'm a software guy; yes, I do.  But I'm really -- I came here on a mission and that's really to see what solutions beyond just printing, believe it or not, would actually help these service providers and after I got through the first four or five halls I was just thinking to myself, wow, you know, this equipment that they have today, you know, based on how I see people using our phones and how my own children connect.  My 26-year-old came to with.  I just -- the future is I don't think we'll come back and see 19 halls full of this big equipment.  You might come back and have all kinds of new alternative services; that's what I -- whether it's marketing services, some kind of solutions but it's amazing.

Cary Sherburne:  Ten years from now.

John Foley:  Ten years I actually said, 20 years from now if there's two halls here I'll be shocked, you know.  And I know that's not what everybody wants to hear in the print industry.  Maybe they'll be 17 if we've got halls full of printing equipment and 15 halls full of marketing services that they'll selling; I think that might be a possibility.

Cary Sherburne:  And data, big data.

John Foley:  Yeah.  Big data, anything like that would be -- something that augments their business today, but it's just the way we communicate has changed and we talked a little bit earlier about geographical.  It's true.  So some countries will tend to use more digital -- I mean, you know...

Cary Sherburne:  More print.

John Foley:  Right?  More print and less on the phone, but then...

Cary Sherburne:  It's going to leap frog.

John Foley:  Exactly.  That's my two cents on it.

Cary Sherburne:  And what does your son think about all this.

John Foley:  So I have three boys, right.  It's just the way they communicate.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah.

John Foley:  I mean, I was speaking the other day on business transformation and I actually asked the question, you know, how many people have teenagers and, I don't know, maybe ten out of 200 people raised their hand.  Not that many.  Maybe 20.  Anyways, the question was how many of those teenagers go to the mailbox and get the mail.  Well nobody raised their hand because they don't; they communicate in a totally different way than we ever did.

Cary Sherburne:  How many of those will ever even answer their phone?  You have to text them.

John Foley:  Right.  You got to text them.  There was just a report out the other day that they're talking about -- actually, it was a few months ago -- by 2004, there'll be more Internet transactions...

Cary Sherburne:  2014?

John Foley:  2014.  Yeah, I was going backwards, right.  2014 will have more Internet transactions on mobile devices than we will on our PCs and our desktops.  That's amazing.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah.

John Foley:  And it's growing fast, and I think one of the main reasons, I think, especially with adoption of mobile phones is because they're getting cheaper.  Once the new one comes out, the other one's affordable and you can get started.  I think the fastest growing market on the mobile device is now too I think is in the 40 to 55 range.  So they're all getting on board.

Cary Sherburne:  And now near field communications is the next big thing.

John Foley:  Yeah, I love that.  You know, I've been talking about that for a long period of time; we're restricted by the hardware, but I think that that'll all come along and then we'll have, again, for the print industry, once they learn how to take the chips and imbed them in paper and underneath the coatings and the substrates, it'll be a way for them to -- and I think they should embrace that now.

Cary Sherburne:  So I don't know about you but I'm going to come back to Drupa 2032 and find out whether your predictions are right.

John Foley:  All right.  Good.

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