IOWA CITY, IA—September 6, 2001 – MetaCommunications, Inc., a leading developer of software business solutions, announced today a major upgrade to its Virtual Ticket software product with the release of Virtual Ticket 4.0. Virtual Ticket 4.0’s new features and capabilities have expanded Virtual Ticket 3.0 from an electronic job ticketing and digital asset management system to an integrated production platform for printing, publishing and creative development. Virtual Ticket 4.0 may be used as a standalone system or in conjunction with an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning System) or production management system.
Virtual Ticket 4.0 enables organizations and workgroups an easy way to centralize, manage and use production information by providing a rich set of integrated electronic document, workflow and digital asset management tools. Virtual Ticket 4.0 stands in a class by itself as the only product available today to combine these essential functionalities under one customizable platform.
“The graphic arts industry primarily produces made-to-order products and services, each with a variation in the way it will be produced. In this environment, a software package that automates the production process and facilitates clear centralized communications among managers, customer service and production is one of the most valuable tools I can think of,” said Robert T. Long, Vice President of MetaCommunications. “Everyone knows the difficulty in finding, interpreting and keeping up-to-date on the latest job information using paper-based job tickets, each stuffed with change orders, proofs, sticky notes, faxes, email printouts, hand written notations and so on. Virtual Ticket 4.0 can turn that paper tiger into an organized electronic workflow.”
Virtual Ticket 4.0, like its predecessor 3.0 version, has a fully integrated digital asset management system that enables the drag & drop association of digital assets with production information, much the same way you would have traditionally associated physical transparencies with a job by placing them in the paper job ticket. Typical digital asset management systems lack these features and require costly operator intervention to hand key production information in the form of metadata for each individual set of digital assets.
Now, Virtual Ticket 4.0 includes a new technology called Virtual Ticket InterSync that automatically monitors, synchronizes and catalogs digital assets located on an organizations’ AppleTalk/IP and Windows NT/2000 file servers. Virtual Ticket InterSync technology advances Virtual Ticket’s already automated system of digital asset management by completely automating the way digital assets are cataloged and associated with production information – accomplishing the process of cataloging digital assets virtually without human intervention.
Virtual Ticket InterSync technology utilizes background server agent software and a scriptable architecture to identify the relationships between directories/files and production information within Virtual Ticket 4.0. This process happens automatically as changes are detected in the underlying file systems. For example, users may create custom scripts based upon the unique file system naming conventions of their organization to associate job folders on their file server with a job ticket for a particular job in Virtual Ticket 4.0. “The automatic association of digital assets with job tickets in Virtual Ticket allows users to later search for their digital assets using any of the fields of information saved about the job, such as job number, customer, order date and so on,” said Long.
Virtual Ticket 4.0 supports integration with third party production tools like Markzware’s FlightCheck, QuarkXPress, Adobe Illustrator and others. Virtual Ticket 4.0 job tickets can be designed to contain information for specific operations within a native application. Virtual Ticket 4.0 allows this information to be passed to scripts or helper applications that then use the native program to perform the desired function – for example preflight a file and return the results to the job ticket.
Virtual Ticket 4.0 is a client server application utilizing Microsoft SQL Server as its database engine and is capable of scaling from a few concurrent users to hundreds of concurrent users. Using Virtual Ticket’s Administrator client application, users may customize forms, scripts, database structures and a variety of other components to quickly and easily construct and automate electronic job tickets and workflow processes.
Virtual Ticket 4.0 supports the full range of Microsoft InterDev development tools enabling advanced developers to create customized web access to internal Virtual Ticket 4.0 information.
Virtual Ticket 4.0 New Features
Virtual Ticket InterSync Technology – A set of agent services that monitor, synchronize and catalog digital assets on Windows NT/2000 or AppleTalk file servers. User-defined scripts control the processing of files/directories and associate them with electronic documents in the Virtual Ticket 4.0 system.
SQL Support In MetaScript – SQL (Structure Query Language) is now supported in MetaScript, Virtual Ticket’s native scripting language. This new functionality allows users the ability to perform complex SQL queries and operations from within any MetaScript function.
Workflow Libraries – Extensive MetaScript libraries are included in Virtual Ticket 4.0 to facilitate implementation of sophisticated workflow functions. Using the included workflow libraries, users can develop customized solutions for their company’s workflow issues. The workflow libraries are user extensible.
Helper Script Storage & Execution – Scripts or applications used to automate processes within the native operating system or production software tools can be centrally stored within a Virtual Ticket database and executed by the users on local workstations. Special MetaScript commands allow any information within Virtual Ticket to be sent as parameters to the help script or applications.
Third Party Software Application Forms Libraries – Sample job tickets and control script libraries have been created for several leading third party software applications. These libraries contain custom job tickets with fields of information that are used to control third party applications to perform a desired function. The accompanying control scripts send this information to the third party software application and return any applicable results.
Interface Improvements – New interface improvements have been made, including the ability to create custom column displays in any Find window and new dynamic popup/dropdown lists that allow users to define static or dynamic lists using MetaScript/SQL.
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