By Noel Ward, Executive Editor September 22, 2003 -- While hurricanes spin across the Atlantic, spawned by air spilling east off the Sahara Desert, trade shows in any number of industries are revving up around the country. Looking to draw attendees in for a few days of seminars, bags of brochures, pockets of tchotchkes, and product pitches that sometimes stretch the limits of believability, trade shows aren't quite what they once were, but are still a great way to see a lot of things in one place. In the printing industry we have Graph Expo starting next Sunday in Chicago followed by Xplor a month later in Atlanta. NDAs prevent any early announcements from analysts and journalists in the know, but just expect some interesting news from most of the major players. Nothing astounding, mind you, but some interesting new stuff. Trade shows, to a certain extent drive the timing of many product launches, and most vendors are planning major new announcements around the first two weeks of May 2004 when Drupa stages its quadrennial take-over of Düsseldorf, Germany. One recurrent theme you can expect at the next several shows is workflow. All the major print engine vendors are continuing to develop and roll-out workflow products and tools that address the challenges printers experience every day. A smooth end-to-end print production workflow is essential to profitability and having an efficient workflow may well become a major competitive advantage. We'll be covering workflow in detail and on an ongoing basis here at ODJ, so stay tuned for more details. Graph Expo is a major time-sink for vendors, analysts and journalists, so ODJ may have a little less content over the next two or three week while some of us are cruising and schmoozing in Chicago. To keep up with us and the latest news from the show, don't miss the free Real-Time Show Coverage at It is fresh and updated every day, continuing through October 10. I'm privileged to be leading that coverage and am pleased to be associated with three industry pros who bring the depth and perspective you expect from WTT. Cary Sherburne is the master pre-press, Gail Nickel-Kailing is the guru of e-commerce and print management, and Patrick Henry is in charge of big iron and offset printing. Check the daily news to see what we're finding in Chicago. And if you're heading to Graph Expo and happen to see me wandering around the show floor, come on up and introduce yourself. (ON MONDAY MORNING -Sept 29th, many of and's contributors will be on hand for an event where Dr. Joe Webb will be speaking. Get details here. The event is free.) Hope to see you there.