Benny is not Retired
Bill McGlynn, VP and GM of HP Digital Publishing Solutions, and Benny Landa, Founder of Indigo, announced yesterday that Benny is not retired but still active in HP Indigo Division business. And, by the way, a high performance RIP and production management system called HP Production Flow was being demonstrated with the HP Indigo Press w3200.

This web-fed, 7-color press, called by McGlynn "the world’s highest productivity digital offset color press," runs at 8,000 8.5"x11" full-color images per hour for a wide range of publishing applications. Monthly volume can be up to 3 million 8.5"x11" full-color images when running 24 hours a day. The HP Indigo Press w3200 allows full perfecting on a wide range of substrates, including the lightest-weight papers used in the direct mail industry. The device will print 95% of Pantone colors and claims "virtually perfect registration." According to Rick Mangold, GM HP Indigo North America, "The end-to-end workflow has been designed for minimal operator intervention from the HP Production Flow front-end to its fully integrated in-line finishing options, so a single-step operation can deliver a complete finished piece - folded, sealed and ready to go."

Rastar Digital Marketing Inc., a Utah-based database-marketing specialist, will be one of the first beta sites.

A Free Z3 (or Z4) Roadster Would Also Be Nice
HP also announced that the HP Indigo Press 3000, a high-speed 7-color device, is the printer of choice for a new personalized direct marketing campaign for BMW of North America.

BMW wanted to launch its new Z4 roadster by reaching targeted prospects on a one-to-one basis. Redi-Mail, a direct marketing company with database, lettershop and fulfillment capabilities, joined with Global Soft Digital Solutions, Inc., a "new age printer" that specializes in one-to-one CRM (Customer Relationship Management) marketing. You will know if you have been targeted because a mailing will ask you a series of questions and, based on your responses, you will receive a 32-page Z4 brochure with text and images that are personal to you. (Note: The likelihood increases if you already have a Z3.)

According to Landa, the BMW application is an example of HP’s differentiator in the digital printing market of leveraging their customers in the enterprise. Chris Friede, VP of Marketing HP Indigo Division, states that HP will create demand at the enterprise level by educating their customers and agencies. "HP has many connections in the enterprise, including IT and CRM consulting," according to Friede, "and we will help transform how our customers are doing marketing by creating awareness and providing linkages with the necessary services, such as HP Indigo printers."

More about HP’s enterprise strategy tomorrow.

Canon is Fine Without Variable Data, Thank You
Without a lot of fanfare, Canon USA has announced and is demonstrating the Imagerunner 150 Pro, based on the Heidelberg 9150i. Pleased that the show is so busy "compared to the quiet of other shows recently," Dennis Amorosano, Director of the Networked Office Systems, said the 150 Pro was "exactly what customers were asking for." He added he was very bullish because the 150 "leverages all the positives of the 110 and improves upon the duty cycle. If it is as reliable as the 110 it will be a home run, and I think reliability could even be better."

Coming off three years during which Canon gained 10 market share points, Amorosano sees Canon continuing to do well. Explaining the company’s success in the black-and-white market, he said, "Customers were looking for more valid choices, especially at the right price." Amorosano expects the Imagerunner 150 Pro to fit nicely into shops that need more speed and have higher volume. Most installations of the Imagerunner 110 are in the enterprise-CRDs, in-plant print shops and data centers-and cover a wide range of applications.

Although Canon works with customers to sell the value, they have not entered a full-blown variable data program because "customer databases are not up to it." Observes Dennis, "Unless the customer has a business that traditionally keeps good database records, such as real estate or car dealerships, you would have to identify those companies that have good, clean data-or you might end up in the database business before you are ready." Other than simple direct mail, or building image databases, Canon Imagerunner customers have preferred to wait on variable data until customers get their "database act together."

Fortunately, that does not seem to have hindered the building of volume. Canon has spent the last 3 years developing their own database to enable variable data communications to their prospects and customers, and appreciate the extent of the effort involved.

Bravo to a company that tries it before selling it!