Wherever printers talk, there are discussions about convergence. A look at this year’s On Demand Strategy Conference and Exhibition program tells a story in itself, with topics like: How to Expand Beyond Print, The Next wave of Cross-Media Publishing and this year’s keynote address by Charlie Pesko of CAP Ventures- Reinventing the Printing and Publishing Industry. There’s certainly cause for concern over the printed document, as the EDSF estimates 52% of all documents will be electronic by 2010. Only eight years away. Hey! We’re burning daylight!

Most of you have read my words about the need for printers to expand their service offerings and heed the growth of XML documents, variable data printing and meeting the needs of customers (aka CRM). Printing, like customer care-and-feeding, has always been a very local business, where capital expenditures are postponed until after business has been lost to the shop across the street or across town. This year’s On Demand conference, it appears, will focus on similar topics to get us all ‘off the dime’ and moving toward service expansion. In Charlie Pesko’s words, "redefine, reinvent". The new focus for 2002, and beyond.

So, since the conference topics are very change centric, how many new bells and whistles will be on display to support this redefinition? What’s in store from this year’s vendors? Let’s look at a very brief perspective of what the exhibitors say about themselves.

The Major Vendors: From X TO A

Xerox Corporation (Booth #803) is demonstrating the latest in digital printing technologies, services and solutions that are transforming the business of printing. Highlights include several announcements that bolster the company's leadership in each of its major products lines, and a showcase of solutions for just-in-time (JIT) production, one-to-one marketing and Internet-based services.

Xeikon (Booth #1503) and Punch will expand on announcements made at IPEX and will unveil Xeikon's plans for North American markets. You'll also have a chance to ask about sales & marketing strategies, and review Xeikon's product line.

Visual Paradigm (Booth #110) provides pricing and production planning for electronic (POD) and traditional shops including electronic and conventional job tickets. The VP Order Control Center permits one-screen entry for contract pricing and imbedded production planning. Automatic Scheduling plus touch screen data collection are also tightly integrated.

VIPColor Technologies (Booth # 467) is showcasing a new digital color ink jet printer designed to print die- cut, roll fed label stock in crisp, clean, full color. The IP2020 is well suited for on- demand full color short-run print requirements.

SMARTworks (Booth# 1840) provides e-business solutions that enable online connectivity between buyers and suppliers of business printing. SMARTworks’ procedures enable organizations to significantly improve enterprise-wide operating efficiencies through overall cost reductions associated with procurement, distribution and managing printed and electronic documents.

Scitex Digital Printing (Booth # 1343) will show its ultra high-speed, high-resolution,digital printing systems. Included in the product portfolio are the VersaMark and Dijit Printing Systems and complimentary application software packages.

Pitney Bowes docSense (Booth #514), a Hollywood Pitney Bowes, Inc. subsidiary, offers solutions for creation and distribution of paper and digital documents in the B2B & B2C markets.

Pagestamp (Booth # 122.) is exhibiting model #5760AT printer. This patented printer can number as well as print index tabs at 200 pp/min. using ink jet technology.

OneVision (Booth #1722) develops automated and manual tools for PS, EPS and PDF data in newspaper workflows. The OneVision suite provides control over incoming data, checking and repairing common problems (missing fonts, RGB/LAB colors, low-resolution images, hairlines, etc.), and provides tools for last minute corrections in time-sensitive production environments.

OPserver (Booth #808) provides high-volume print management solutions and professional services to improve the flexibility and efficiency of print/mail operations of all volumes. FlexServer, its flagship product, is the leading enterprise output management system for controlling digital print shops, supporting IBM, Océ, and Xerox printers.

Oce Printing Systems USA (Booth #1300), offers complete solutions to help customers manage convergent environments. The versatile technology demonstrates dedication to helping customers do more with less and profit from new market opportunities. From intelligent front-end tools to advanced print systems and flexible finishing equipment, Oce delivers the digital difference.

MBM Corporation (Booth #860) will be showcasing the DocuVac™ Air Feed Finishing System for professional booklet making; the upgraded Triumph 5550-EP Programmable Hydraulic cutter; and the new F-45N Automatic Friction Folder which stores up to 27 custom folds with instant memory access.

Lytrod Software (Booth #812) allows creation of personalized documents for Xerox VIPP print environments using their Proform and DeskTop Designer products, featuring sophisticated form draw and data layout tools. Proform Designer allows creation and conversion of forms and resources for Xerox, AFP, PostScript and PCL printers.

LABELBLANK (Booth #112) offers thousands of in-stock, die-cut labels for offset, laser, ink jet, copier, high-speed and pin-fed printers. Whites, colors, brown kraft, clears, foils, wafer tabs and large-sized scored labels are available, along with badge stocks, blockout, acid free, removable, piggyback, and high gloss. Specialty and customized labels for special needs are also produced.

James Burn International (Booth #1363) will be showing two automatic paper punch machines, the Alpha Doc, DOCUPunch, Concept Former and CB30 Coil Inserter. With the Coil Inserter unit coils can be formed and inserted into documents. Also being displayed are tabletop document finishing machines.

Indigo America (Booth #821) will feature their complete family of Digital Offset Color presses combining high-performance digital imaging technology and a liquid ink printing process to create short-run, on-demand electronic printing, with the quality of traditional offset. Indigo will also feature their personalization technology which allows cost-effective production of high quality variable data printing, in runs as short as one.

IKON Office Solutions (Booth #1303), one of the world’s leading providers of products and services helping businesses communicate, with approximately 600 locations worldwide, will feature business solutions for office, production and outsourcing; as well as copiers and printers, color solutions, distributed printing, facilities management, imaging, legal document solutions, network design, consulting and e-business development.

Heidelberg (Booth #1519) will feature NexTreme software, employing the new PPML/VDX open standard, which works with the NexPress 2100 digital production color press. NexTreme enables the creation of highly variable print jobs. NexTreme software works with popular design applications QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign, and provides the ability to integrate variable text, images and graphics into personalized, customized print projects.

Group 1 Software (Booth #1814) will feature its DOC1 software which enables companies to offer scaleable CRM strategies to market and deliver communications whenever and wherever needed, via print, browser, or e-mail.

GMC PrintNet (Booth #1660) software generates graphics and data files to run high-volume printers at rated speeds. Dimensional graphics and column-to-column text flows are possible without extensive programming. PrintNet offers full color matching and supports BMP, TIFF, JPEG and Raster EPS formats.

GBC (Booth #1353), a global leader in Document Finishing and Film Lamination will feature the new Fusion Punch II, the DigiCoil Color Coil Inserter and the Eagle Series laminators.

Firstlogic Software (Booth #566) helps businesses identify, target, and reach customers. Through its Postalsoft suite of document and mail automation tools that enable organizations to create global, one-to-one marketing messages and mail.

Exstream Software (Booth #702) helps businesses connect with the eGeneration through personalized communications delivered through print and electronic channels with its Dialogue™ software. Dialogue combines personalized document creation, integrated marketing & tracking, and multi-channel delivery in one easy-to-use tool.

Engage (Booth # 140) supplies digital asset management and workflow automation systems to retailers, catalogers, marketers and publishers. Also supply promotion/catalog planning and remote proofing/collaboration tools designed to optimize the content development process and get promotions to market.

Elixir (Booth #524), a pioneer in advanced document production technologies has over 30,000 product installations in more than 70 countries, specializes in personalized customer communications for print, email and the Internet. Market focus is financial services, insurance, retail and graphic arts.

Electronics For Imaging (Booth #1366) will show their latest workflow and mobile printing solutions, including Fiery System 5, and the latest enhancements to Velocity workflow software, eBeam Web enabled white boards and PrintMe Networks which enable anytime, anywhere printing.

Duplo USA Corporation (Booth #1352) a quality manufacturer of document handling equipment presents a complete line of digital printing collators, booklet makers, perfect binders, cutters and folders.

Document Sciences (Booth # 866) provides software solutions enabling enterprise level customer communication through automated, personalized content that can be distributed in any volume via Web, print, and e-mail.

Delphax Technologies Inc. (Booth #834) formerly Check Technology Corporation designs, manufactures, sells and provides service and support for advanced digital print production systems. Cut-sheet and continuous feed high volume systems for financial (MICR), direct mail, publishing, and business form applications will be shown.

Datalogics (Booth #517), a leading publishing solutions provider for over 30 years, delivers innovative software solutions for demanding (high volume) publishing needs. With versatile products and exceptional services, Datalogics offers flexible alternatives for web publishing, electronic document delivery, and high-speed variable print for the creation of personalized 1-to-1 communications.

Danka (Booth #1321) will debut Danka @ the Desktop, its integrated software solution set. Danka @ the Desktop provides control, accountability, and cost effectiveness in work group and centralized print environments. The system is configured and installed by the Danka professional services organization. It works with both new and existing hardware and can be enabled to provide e-procurement and e-print access.

Creo (Booth #802) will feature the Spire color server which drives the Xerox DocuColor 2000 and iGen3 digital presses. The Darwin Desktop 4.0 features enhanced database management and proofing capabilities for variable information and authoring.

CONTEX Scanning Technology (Booth $104) manufactures scanning, copying software, wide format color and monochrome scanners, ranging between 25" and 50" wide.

C.P. Bourg (Booth #525) will be demonstrating its online and off-line finishing solutions will collators, finishing accessories and family of perfect binders.

Canon U.S.A, Inc. (Booth #835) a leader in professional and consumer imaging solutions, will display networked high-speed digital black-and-white and color copiers and printers, wide format printers, and document scanners.

Bielomatik (Booth #553) A 50 year old paper and converting equipment veteran will showcase its Short Run Case Binding System - for book manufacturing with a run length of one. This Book-On-Demand Factory will include a Casing-in Module, Cutter; Case-Maker and Embosser. On-line to digital presses, it permits the manufacture of different sized books every 10 seconds.

Bell & Howell (Booth #1121), a provider of high end document finishing solutions for paper based and electronic messaging, sorting and service related products and software will showcase its DemandWorks™ solution for integration and automation of print-on-demand applications. Consulting service specialists for these solutions work with customers to select equipment and processes best suited to the applications and environment.

Baum (Booth #1668), a provider of quality bindery and finishing equipment, has a full line of tabletop and floor model folding machines, paper drills, cutters, collators, booklet makers, face trimmers and perfect binding solutions. The new Baum15 GSL compact floor model folder will be introduced.

Barr (Booth #562) will feature enterprise output management solutions to connect to and receive data from mainframes, AS/400s, and any TCP/IP-connected host. The Barr Enterprise Print Server features a host of options that can be customized to any organization for complete flexibility of print and document management.

Banta Integrated Media, Publishing Solutions (Booth #1662) will be demonstrating their DesignMerge suite of variable data software. DesignMerge is available in both a desktop and Web-based configuration, and can produce variable output in a variety of popular formats, including PS, EPS, PDF, JLYT, VPS, VIPP, and PPML.

Avanti Computer Systems (Booth #952) will show their Print Management System which gives printers a competitive advantage by automating various functions - estimating, order entry, job costing & tracking, scheduling, shop floor, inventory, fulfillment, purchasing, shipping, invoicing, and Internet modules.

ASE Technologies (Booth #960) provides solutions for data distribution and print management. Large print streams are broken up using multiple criteria searches, then groups, sorts and collates reports before they are distributed for printing, viewing, archiving, web, e-mail, fax and indexing automatically.

Have a great show and see you there.