Funxion was founded about a year ago as a spin-out from North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles, where its founders obtained their Ph.Ds. The company is focused on building out a platform for smart wearables that can be adapted to various use cases. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Dr. Raj Bhakta, co-founder and CEO, to learn more.
WhatTheyThink spoke with Marybeth Gilbert, Vice President General Manager Production Inkjet and Packing Business, Chris Irick, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager, Entry Production Inkjet, and Bill Bay, Manager, Production Cut Sheet Business Team.
Sneakers that put on a light show. An inflatable Twister mat may be just what your next party needs. Adversarial fashion takes on face recognition systems. A.I. priests. A.I. passes an 8th-grade science test. An animation tracks the rise and fall of web browsers. Camera sales fall off a cliff. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
With so much knowledge at their fingertips, decision-makers no longer need to travel—or even pick up the phone—to stay informed. Although the role of trade shows has changed as a result, these events remain an important component of modern business planning. This article explores how the role of trade shows has shifted in today’s digital age.
Ryerson University has just published a detailed study of expanded gamut printing, based on a series of extensive tests using commercial color management systems to process and print test forms containing PANTONE spot colors. The author of the study, Dr. Abhay Sharma, presents some of the top-level findings and conclusions.
Define the challenge you're trying to solve before you jump into a shortcut that borrows from another feature in your Print MIS or web-to-print. If you borrow too much, you’re implementation of the software will get detached from the vendor’s product roadmap—which can be expensive and painful.
According to the Small Business Administration, 89.0% of all businesses in the United States have less than 20 employees. What are the primary goals, challenges, and marketing tactics of these companies? This survey from Taradel provides some insights.
Digital wide-format printing and new substrates are changing the face of wall décor, both in commercial and residential spaces. In this feature, we look at some unique applications and detail some prevailing trends.
Car enthusiasts. Hiking and biking clubs. Adult hockey leagues. Senior golf associations. Dance troupes. In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she provides some tips for approaching hobbyists and other groups and clubs, as well as the unique printed product requirements these kinds of groups have.
Web-to-print has become well-entrenched in commercial printing, and same on-demand production model is now making its way into the textiles and apparel industry. Cary Sherburne talks to Steve Smith, founder of DPInnovations, about the company’s Web2Fabric, a set of tools that can be modularly configured to meet the needs of individual companies.
Artificial intelligence attempts to write a wide-format story. “The World’s Most Dangerous Writing App.” Digital signage is too fast. Editor & Publisher sold. Nike’s Self-Lacing Sneakers. How to keep Slack from driving you crazy. All about “forest bathing.” Hide and seek in IKEA. Are we in a true “Age of Plastic”? A revised online dictionary of Medieval Irish. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
WhatTheyThink talks to Renée Yardley, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Sustana Group—parent company of Rolland Paper and Sustana Fiber—about the company’s new sustainability initiatives as well as the current state of sustainability in the paper and printing industry.
Given all the changes that have occurred within the mailing industry, what’s next? This article provides a overview of some current trends within the mailing industry and considers what the future might hold.
Usually, when a printer has a sustainability page on its website, the page talks about things like carbon emissions, tree planting, or use of environmentally certified papers. But PebblePost has a sustainability page, too—but it is talking not about consumables and energy use, but how its trigger-based direct mail programs, in themselves, are environmentally friendly. This is a great model for presenting direct mail as an environmentally friendly option that can help marketers meet their sustainability goals.
The value in the print industry today is migrating from the production floor to the mobile device of your customers. How are you investing in providing your customer access to your business from their phone?
The adoption of production inkjet so far has narrowly targeted mid to high-end production requirements. However, light production including higher-end departmental MFP devices currently addressed by EP (toner) devices is a significant portion of the market. Memjet just introduced a low-cost single pass OEM printhead solution to target that market. The tide may be turning…
G7 takes on fashion sustainability. Graphene vs. mosquitoes. AAP’s latest book sales figures for January to June 2019. Is captioning audiobooks illegal? How to capitalize headlines. Can AI write for WhatTheyThink? What would a 1980s-era iPhone have looked like? Whither the Periodic Table? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Not all print service providers fully understand the costs of the print jobs they create on a daily basis, and this is troubling. Without accurate, detailed reports of cost breakdowns, print companies will continue to struggle to turn a profit, instead investing in a random number of jobs—only some of which will turn a profit. With technology growing more robust, managed information systems can help organizations keep accurate, up-to-date tracks of exactly how well each print job is performing for the company. In this paper, InfoTrends outlines exactly how this information can be gathered, as well as a more detailed explanation of why it is so crucial to do so.
drupa 2020 is only about eight months away and the rumors and anticipation are starting to heat up. Very much like drupa, Labelexpo is truly a global event. And don’t let the name fool you: it isn’t just about labels. There is also flexible packaging and of course lots of innovative finishing and media being showcased. Even if you are not in label or flexible packaging production, this event offers you a preview of things to come—although you may need to connect the dots.
Print software is a pile of features that solve business process challenges. You have to learn how to prioritize what’s the next most important feature in the software by comparing its impact against all the other features.
With a market value exceeding $110 billion in 2019, the cartonboard packaging industry will experience high growth at the end-user level, approaching $150 billion in 2024, according to Smithers Pira’s latest report, The Future of Folding Cartons to 2024. This growth is driven by the sustainability movement and increasing demand in emerging regions.
In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she provides some tips for using trade shows—not necessarily printing industry shows, but home and garden shows, car shows, hobbyist shows, and other private events—to develop new business opportunities.
In any industry, just like in life, there are normally two great barriers that stand in the way of people and companies changing: ego and education (knowledge). When we believe we have all the answers, we find ourselves in a terrible dilemma. Tim Baechle, CEO of Idealliance, explains how stepping outside the industry’s echo chamber and making outselves open to alternative viewpoints can make us more open to change—and make better decisions.
In 2016, there were 451 establishments in NAICS 322212 (Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing). More than half of these establishments (57%) have 50 or more employees and more than three-fourths (79%) have 20 or more employees.
Amazon sells fake Orwell titles. An experiential letterpress-printed book inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. Amsterdam’s occult library digitizes its collection. Memorable baseball card photos. The Apple Card: Leave home without it? New York’s continued war on digital offshore billboards. “Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is an Economic Indicator.” The longest-running webcam is going dark. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
The ongoing digital transformation has created problems for commercial printers, namely electronic displacement. As a result, many have turned to digital wide-format equipment to add new revenue streams. Nevertheless, with more PSPs adapting wide format, this service is no longer the differentiator it once was. Commercial printers looking for the next value-add product stream should examine packaging, particularly the folding carton and label segments, to find new revenue opportunities.
Sales reps are key players in your business. Their knowledge of the market and their customers are a central part of the process of optimizing pricing. Your objective is to attract and retain the best ones while motivating them to attain even better results. The objective should to get them on the team and make their interests parallel that of the firm. In this article, Robert Lindgren discusses the various sales rep compensation options.
Don’t let a feature stop you from implementing what works for you today. Don’t let the people in your organization that are good at looking for all the ways something won’t work win. Implement what works and then find ways around the missing features. Waiting is keeping your business in neutral.
One of the hottest topics in packaging print today is corrugated, and for many reasons. One of those is that it is a market area showing a solid growth trajectory. So, what are the areas of growth, and what are some of the challenges that will affect the growth of digital print, more specifically production inkjet, in corrugated?
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviewed John Hummel, fourth-generation owner and CEO of Hummel Integrated Marketing Solutions, to gain insight into how the acquisition of a Konica Minolta AccurioJet KM-1 UV inkjet press has enhanced his business.
Many of our readers will remember Wim Maes for his tenure as the CEO of Xeikon, a role he held from 2009 to March of 2017. From Xeikon to Summa, Wim Maes helps make the company a worldwide industry leader.
Last week, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne tuned in to an interesting WTIN webinar, Smart Textiles for Fashion, Entertainment, and Lifestyle. She summarizes some of the key points here, but recommends that industry professionals interested in smart textiles review the entire free webinar.
A fashion line designed to mess with surveillance cameras. The smart device invasion. A Seattle Airbnb that offers a mock Amazon job interview. High-profile shopping meccas in NYC shut down. Ozzy Osbourne is an actual genetic mutant (as we all suspected). You can now store your data—and your car keys—inside your body. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Approaching print-related conferences with a plan can deliver a wealth of new ideas while also carving a path for business growth. This article offers some tips for making the most of your time during the upcoming trade show season.
The average person uses around 70% of their available energy reserves to perform their normal activities, including meeting the requirements of their jobs. The remaining 30% is called “discretionary energy.” How can we tap into an employee’s discretionary energy and get them to apply it to their job? The key is engagement. Wayne Lynn explains how to measure and improve an employee’s level of engagement.
In a surprise announcement this week, EFI reported that with the departure of CEO Bill Muir for personal reasons, Executive Chairman Jeff Jacobson would be taking on the additional role as CEO of the company. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke to Jacobson to gain insight into his plans for the company’s future.
Takeaways from a recent webinar on triggered and automated direct marketing, both from a high-level technology perspective and from the perspective of a mid-sized printer producing real programs every day.
What kinds of signage and display graphics are in fashion? You don’t need elaborate market research surveys to find out—sometimes all you need to do is get out of the office and have a look around. Just doing a little recon can often generate ideas for new product areas to expand into.
In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she builds on the previous installment and puts together a print sample kit for a different specific vertical market: restaurants. If you or your sales reps are trying to sell your services to these kinds of establishments, what kinds of items should you include in your Restaurant Marketing Sample Kit?
"Inkjet devices can print on any surface" is a common industry talking point, but the practical reality is a bit more complicated, involving the chemical and physical interplay of inks and substrates. This article offers an inkjet printing reality check.
According to the DMA’s 2017 Response Rate Report, direct mail has a much higher household response rate (5.1% customer – 2.9% prospect) than digital channels such as email (0.6%), social media (0.4%) and online display ads (0.2%).
Cary Sherburne talks to Wim Maes, Executive Member of the Board at Summa NV, a global leader in cutting and finishing equipment for the printing, signage, outdoor advertising, packaging, and textiles industries.
Where will printers make money in the future? Some say it will be from digital printing. But digital printing is usurping analog volumes and analog volumes are not growing. In order to grow, the printing industry must find new products and new services.
According to a recent study by the European Printing Inks Association (EuPIA), the share of offset printing inks is less than 2% of the overall eco footprint of the printed paper material or paper packaging on which they are used.
in 2016, there were 1,200 establishments in NAICS 322211 (Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing). About half of these establishments (49%) have 50 or more employees and more than two-thirds (71%) have 20 or more employees.
The medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are being made from recycled mobile phones. An Irish teen wins the Google Science Fair for a system for removing microplastics from the oceans. Can Waterstones’ savior duplicate that success for Barnes & Noble? A typeface based on heinously gerrymandered Congressional districts. Scottish researchers develop an artificial tongue for whisky tasting. 3M streamlines packaging material. If you’re a UK publisher, go ahead and insult all the parrots you want. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Offering insights into the latest trends as well as stories on successful digital transformations, OpenText Enterprise World is designed to help attendees unlock their information advantage. This article provides a brief overview of the 2019 event in Toronto.
Highlights from the white paper “What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Why Magazine Advertising Works?” Published by the Magazine Publishers Association, the white paper synthesizes years of neuroscience studies on why people understand, recall, and are better motivated by information provided in print rather than digital.
Your print business has two kinds of challenges: the challenge of getting jobs out the door (tactical) and the business of continuing to strategically evolve so you maintain relevance and competitive advantage in the marketplace.
This article is a part of a series looking at production inkjet solutions leading up to and through drupa 2020. We will look at what’s new, how it’s being used, and how it’s transforming print service providers. In this article, we go to the front lines and we take a look at Mercury Printing of Rochester, N.Y., a perfect example of a digital technology and business transformation. And for all the right reasons…
The topic of technical textiles can be a bit geeky. But there are always new and interesting developments in this area. Take P&G’s new smart diapers, or the protective lava suit for geologists from the University of Missouri working in volcanic areas, for example. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne digs into these topics and more.
In June, overall printing employment grew +0.5% from May to June 2019. On a year-over-year basis, it is down -2.5%. Production employment was up +0.4% from May to June, but year-over-year was down -4.9%. Non-production employment was up +0.7% from May to June, and year-over-year was up +2.6%.
Chase replaces its copywriters with AI. What to wear when immersed in molten rock. “If only there were a way to determine when a diaper needed changing...” Look cool being cool. Creating organ models from maps of Zürich, for some reason. Sending messages via geomapping. The dictionary explains “fursona,” upsettingly. The stone carver job market heats up. New books for language nerds. “We will start boarding as soon as the plane has rebooted.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
TransPromo—bicapitalized with a T and P to emphasize the link between transactional and promotional communications—is experiencing a resurgence. Consumer-facing communicators are using TransPromo techniques in their printed and digital communications. This article explores why TransPromo is re-emerging as a talk track.
SAi’s new VirtualSign is an augmented reality (AR) app that lets signmakers show clients how a sign will look in situ before it is printed and installed. We spoke wth SAi’s Gudrun Bonte, Vice President of Product Management, who oversaw the development of the app.
We have been hearing for a while that 24% of Americans in rural areas still have no access to broadband, making print critical for marketers looking to reach those areas. This isn’t just a small pocket here and there. There are entire communities, even cities, without broadband access, where only traditional channels like print can reach.
Idealliance CEO Timothy Baechle identifies the five most critical issues that brands face today in terms of their global packaging and printing supply chain: finding qualified vendors, effective communication, evaluation, validation, and the need to never stop learning. This article looks at those five issues and how mastering them can help build an unbreakable supply chain.
In part 7 of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she puts together a print sample kit for a specific vertical market: banks. If you or your sales reps are trying to sell your services to a bank, what kinds of items should you include in your Bank Marketing Sample Kit?
Lectra offers solutions that give fashion, automotive, and furniture companies the means to embark on the Industry 4.0 journey. Its recent acquisition of data company Retviews is another arrow in the company’s quiver. We spoke with Maximilien Abadie, Chief Strategy Officer for Lectra, to learn more.
in 2016, there were 3,638 establishments in NAICS 3222 (Converted Paper Product Manufacturing). More than four out of 10 of these establishments (42%) have 50 or more employees and two-thirds (65%) have 20 or more employees.
Disney’s “Escape from the Haunted Mansion” papercraft. Tattoos that function as medical diagnostics. Etsy buys musical marketplace. What technology will be obsolete in your lifetime? Is the world’s steepest road really the steepest in the world? What is it with these cat filters? A long, but well-worth-it Twitter thread about slugs in Medieval manuscript illumination. Spend a night in the Wienermobile...if you dare. “Disruption has come for toilet paper.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Many businesses believe they’ve made the digital transformation, yet market shares of digitally printed pages are only in single digits. This article explores the disconnect between perceptions and reality in our industry’s digital transformation, and also discusses what must be done to help close this gap.
Automation for wide-format printing can encompass a lot of different processes, from automatic file processing, to robotics, even to database management. Where once wide format was deemed too “artisanal” or “craft-like” to be automated, the times are changing. After all, as competition in the wide-format segment continues to heat up, automation becomes a key element in controlling costs. We’ll take a look at the current state of automation for wide-format printing.
Whether it’s a print business or any other type of business (such as your customers’ businesses), retaining customers is critical. But knowing how important it is and being able to develop and execute an effective strategy are two different things. Here are five tips you can use to guide your customer retention strategy, as well as your customers’.
Learning is the most important part of software procurement decisions. The vendor needs to learn about you (to assess if you are a good fit for their solution) and you need to learn about the vendor. An RFP doesn’t facilitate any learning.
Production inkjet solutions are proliferating at an ever-increasing rate. The quality of many of the solutions has finally reached that of offset, and the productivity has surpassed that of toner. There are also a lot more options and opportunities. Perhaps it is time to step back and take stock of where we are and where things could be going?
As part of our coverage of textiles and apparel, we look for interesting developments, both in the more conventional textiles and apparel market as it transitions to a more digital approach, as well as developments in technical textiles. In this article, we present the work being done at the MIT Media Lab to use knitting to embed conductive fibers in fabric in order to add functionality.
Starbucks stops selling newspapers. Pearson switches to etextbooks. All about the semicolon. Coder Margaret Hamilton saved the Apollo 11 mission. The inventor of the computer password is ******. What is TikTok? IBM patents a smartwatch that unfolds into a tablet. Whatever happened to all those Bob Ross paintings? F. Scott Fitzgerald and “cocktail” as a verb. Heavy metal knitting. Twinkies for Breakfast. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
There are lessons that PSPs can learn in watching how the general public interacts with video games—a roughly $140 billion dollar industry that exists simply because people like to have fun. By bringing elements of game design into their companies and products, PSPs can create better, stronger training practices for their employees while also developing more engaging versions of their products. All of this can be accomplished through a process called gamification.
Do you use your monthly profit and loss (P&L) statement to its fullest? Although few do more with it than quickly glance at—and perhaps lament—the bottom line, the P&L can offer valuable information about how your business is performing. In this latest installment of his Pricing series, Robert Lindgren explains how.
Last week, I posted a list of links to neuroscience studies showing the power of print over digital in many areas, including content retention, recall, and willingness to buy. One of those resources contains a reference to a 2015 study that is often overlooked. The study looks not just at print vs. digital, but the weight of the paper, as well. If you are not familiar with this study, you should be.
A learning event vs. a selling event—that is the event the print industry needs. An event where you go to solve your challenges through active collaboration, open-minded because nobody is trying to sell you anything.
Cary Sherburne talks with Thayer Long, the current president of the Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech), about the evolution of APTech, the upcoming PRINT 19 show, and a look ahead to the new Brand Print Americas 2020, the result of a strategic alliance with the Tarsus Group, owner and organizer of Labelexpo and Brand Print Global Series, which will replace PRINT 2020.
The impression is dead—long live the impression! Long live printing that is integrated alongside other communication channels. This is the way forward and to get it right, you need to make two changes: throw away the old baggage you’ve carried for so long and embrace a change of mentality. You must swap the old habits of traditional printing for digital ones!
In the textiles and apparel industry, color management has historically been a given. Now with the introduction of digital textile printing into the mix, new color management challenges have arisen. In this article, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne takes a look at the current state of color management in the textiles and apparel industry, and where it goes from here.
The MIT Media Lab develops knitted sensors. Microsoft discontinues its ebooks—and erases everyone’s libraries. Venice and the dawn of book publishing. Most of product searches on Amazon are brand-free. Sea-level rise may adversely affect the Internet. An AR application to identify street artists. Working for the [Robot] Man. Use AI to keep your prey-toting pet out of the house. Levitating turntables. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Sales objections can be daunting for even the most seasoned salespeople, creating a feeling of disapproval or opposition. Objections can come in many forms. This article explores how all salespeople, regardless of experience or tenure, can properly prepare for them.
You know how it is: You’re looking to fill a position in your company. You find a prospect who has a great resume and interviews like a pro. They know the job and have the requisite experience, so you hire them, only to find their actual job performance lacking. What happened? Chances are, you only evaluated basic technical qualifications rather than behavioral traits that could determine if that employee was a good for for your company. In this article, Wayne Lynn explains why you should look beyond the resume.
Internal communication deserves better tools than email. Real collaboration happens best when more, not fewer, people are involved. Taking internal communication out of email reduces the cognitive overhead of deciding whom to communicate with.
Print and digital communications both have their strengths, but when it comes to comprehension and recall, studies consistently show that information communicated in print is more deeply embedded, recalled with more detail, and creates a more powerful emotional engagement than digital. Here is a compiled list of links on studies on the neuroscience of print, or how our brains respond to print vs. digital communications, listed in chronological order of publication.
Benny Landa first introduced the concept of “Nanography” at drupa 2012. There was a reaffirmation of the introduction at drupa 2016, and since then, lots of quiet. It turns out the quiet was self-imposed, and in the interim Landa has been very busy building an organization and shipping presses.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.