IDEAlliance® recently announced that attendee registration is strong for TechWeek, its week-long event series featuring the G7 Forum 2012, TechConference 2012 and XTech 2012 Seminars. Slated for March 12-16, 2012 in Rosemont, IL, the conference offers a mix of educational sessions, hands-on computer labs, and networking opportunities for media production professionals.

We spoke with Steve Bonoff, Executive Vice President, Marketing, IDEAlliance, for an overview of the event.

Steve, IDEAlliance has developed an interesting idea of holding three technology events in sequence, over a week. Tell us about TechWeek.

The whole point of TechWeek is that the IDEAlliance membership is very broad, covering all facets of content creation and delivery. One conference cannot be everything to everyone. So, we split the events—the G7 Forum, our annual TechConference, and the XTech 2012 seminars—to better target and serve our members and the industry. Interestingly, even with such a varied agenda, we find that many of members are interested in all three events, and this is a convenient way for them to participate in all three.

Can you give a description of how TechWeek will unfold?

We kick off the week with G7 Forum, a free networking event for the hundreds of certified G7 Experts and G7 Professionals, and those employed by G7 Master Qualified facilities.

This is followed by TechConference, which brings together premedia professionals to debate the most pressing subjects in color, content, workflow and pre-production management and technologies.

Finally, the XTech2012 Seminars are for media production professionals immersed in XML- based technologies, often referred to as XTechs.

Let’s focus on each of the events separately. What are some of the highlights of the G7 Forum?

The Forum is unique in that attendees don’t just sit and listen to “experts” at the podium, but are active participants, either through debates during presentations or in-depth tutorials. Some of the topics include: What’s new with G7; how new practices and standards—such as beta datasets and lighting—impact G7; and an objective look at what’s working with G7 and what’s not.

What is the philosophy behind this unique approach?

We currently have over 500 master qualified facilities and an equal number of certified professionals and experts. The Forum is a great opportunity for these people to come together and find the best way to implement the G7 methodologies and learn from those who have had the most success. It’s networking at its best—and of course, we also have some fun planned—our Beer Summit is always a hit!

You’ve titled this year’s TechConference ‘Disruptive Workflow Strategies’. Why?

Traditional workflows based purely on print production are being disrupted. Companies are in the process of re-developing workflows for eMedia production, which will continue to grow in its importance in delivering content. Today’s media production professionals are faced with an unprecedented number of technologies they need to be familiar with; TechConference addresses this challenge.

What are some of the key areas of discussions at TechConference 2012?

TechConference will cover the latest technologies and trends, including Integrating Media Production Processes; Centralized Content Management; Advances in Color Management; New Media Tools (QR, Mobile Apps and 3D); RIPs, Workflow, and Project Management Software; Digital Press Technology Update (Speed, Functionality, and Variable Data Printing); Press Performance Data Capture and Analysis; and an update on International Standards and Specifications.

Are there any sessions that you’re looking forward to?

For me, one of the highlights is our digital press certification process overview. IDEAlliance certifies individual digital presses and we’ve learned a great deal from the captured data, which compares digital print to commercial sheetfed in real-world settings. The session will review the results from some of our certified digital presses.

Can you take a minute to talk about the Learning Labs?

The labs give attendees access to high-caliber, yet relatively inexpensive, hands-on-training in specific areas of prepress, from an industry expert—either in person or virtually from a Webcast. You can take what you learn from these labs right back to your plant and implement.

Xtech2012 Seminars (formerly the XML Conference) is for those who want to learn about XML-driven tools and technologies. There are two tracks. Could you explain what they’re all about?

XML, which was introduced in 1997, is now the core foundation of content creation. The seminars will focus on next-generation media production and publishing processes driven by XML technologies.

In the XML Solutions Track attendees learn how peers are using XTechs to publish beyond the page, through case studies and advanced XML "How-To" sessions. The Emerging Technologies Track features industry’s technology leaders discussing the importance of emerging technologies on tomorrow's media production workflows.

What will be some of the more interesting sessions this year?

One of the highlights — and something in which IDEAlliance is taking a leadership role — is specs for mobile and tablet publishing. At XTech, we are going to dive into what’s behind these specs: HTML 5 CSF3, EPub3 and metadata. There will be tutorials as well as case studies describing successful implementations.

While networking is a valuable part of any conference, members who cannot attend TechWeek have the opportunity to access content in real-time, or after the event. How does that work?

One of the best parts of attending TechWeek is networking with the people who are facing similar issues, and learning from the trials of others in the industry. However, it’s not always possible to get travel funds and time is so valuable, so we have selected certain Learning Lab sessions that are available with computer screen sharing via WebEx. These are available at reduced pricing as a complete package —there is not a per-session price. However, if someone from a company registers for the full conference, those in the plant who can’t make it can be involved in the virtual sessions for free.

The TechWeek conference brochure and registration information can be found at or Or, you can contact Steve Bonoff at (952) 896-1908, or [email protected].