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Expanding Horizons for GOA and Xplor

Press release from the issuing company

By Noel Ward, Executive Editor, On Demand Journal; Managing Editor, WhatTheyThink.com February 7, 2005 -- The news of the day--and perhaps the week--is that the 2005 Xplor conference scheduled for this November in Orlando is moving three months out to co-locate with Graphics of the Americas on February 3-5, 2006. This is the second step in an alliance announced at Xplor in Dallas last October in which the two organizations are building on the convergence of print between digital and non-digital worlds. The combined conference and exhibition is intended to provide vendors, end-users and printers with a one-of-a kind venue that addresses the convergence of knowledge, products and technology in the evolving printing industry. “The event market has changed, and there is increasing pressure placed on the educational value and return on investment for every dollar spent,” says Skip Henk, EDP, president & CEO of Xplor International. By moving our November conference and co-locating with Graphics of the Americas in February 2006, attendees can enjoy one venue that maximizes their educational dollar while gaining exposure to the latest products on the exhibit floor. In addition, exhibitors will have access to a larger and more varied customer and prospect pool all in one place.” Most industry trade shows have seen shrinking attendance in recent years, even while previously unrelated parts of the industry are converging. Graphic designers need to learn about designing for printing on digital presses and incorporating variable information into previously static documents. At the same time, IT professionals find themselves having to think about color and graphics, while database guys and marketing managers who must focus on collecting and combining data in different ways. And all these people are not printing on only monochrome and color digital printers but distributing the same information via web sites or email. Co-locating these events is the latest reflection of the changing worlds of both printing-related events and conferences. For example, the Print-on-Demand Conference and AIIM have co-located for the past two years under the aegis of show promoter Advanstar. The Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) recently announced that Seybold will hold a conference in conjunction with Print '05 this September. Each of these shows brings together audiences that are merging due to the increasingly digital nature of document creation and production. Likewise, Graphics of the Americas and Xplor have the opportunity to reach markets that are beyond the core audiences they have historically supported. Moreover, the alliance plays to the strengths of each organization. Xplor has a history of being a leader in education for IT-oriented document technology and variable-data, while Graphics of the Americas has a legacy of showcasing the latest ink-on-paper printing technology and graphic design, with an increasing presence on digital document production. The conference organizers feel that the combination of the two events will provide an introduction for Xplor’s audience into the traditional print, composition and design markets while giving Graphics of the Americas attendees the educational curricula needed to become successful in the digital and variable-data markets. “We are excited that Xplor has selected Graphics of the Americas as the venue to bring their strong end-user educational focus, upstream technologies and digital printing conference curricula to Miami Beach in 2006,” says Chris Price, vice president and general manager for Graphics of the Americas. Some of the evidence for a synergy was apparent at the two-day Xplor variable data and digital color printing conference that preceded the GOA show here in Miami Beach. Xplor's Henk said he had hoped for 50 to 75 attendees, but was pleased to see paid registration reach 173. About two-thirds of these were printers who had never attended an Xplor conference before and were seeking insights into implementing VDP solutions within their organizations. In addition, says Price, a survey of GOA 2004 attendees indicated that over a third of attendees were planning to add either variable data or digital color to their product and service offerings. GOA and Xplor are emphasizing that the alliance is a co-location of events. Neither organization is acquiring the other, nor is there a merger. It is a joint effort to build on the strengths of both organizations, bridging the gap between digital and traditional printing with a conference that in tune with the needs of the market and is both education and exhibit oriented. In my opinion this is fine move for both organizations and I'm looking forward to being here in Miami Beach next February to see it all come together.