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IBM Joins PODi Executive Board, Begins Transactional Print Initiative.

Press release from the issuing company

ROCHESTER, NY, August 27, 2002 - The management of PODi, the Digital Printing initiative, has announced the appointment of International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) to its Executive Board. PODi is a not-for-profit industry initiative focused on developing the market for digital print, through market education and development of software standards. The Executive Board sets priorities and directs the activities of PODi. IBM's invitation to the Board reflects PODi's expansion of its focus to include high-volume computer output applications, such as credit card statements and insurance policies. These applications account for millions of printed pages per month. "IBM is committed to open standards as a vital aspect of developing new markets," says Rich Howarth, Director of Strategy and Market Planning for IBM Printing Systems. "Personalized full-color documents are a growing application area that will benefit from PPML." As a leader in variable print for almost twenty years and a long-standing member of PODi's standards activity, IBM recognizes that PPML complements the AFP architecture for this new breed of digital print application, and we look forward to guiding the development of PPML as a member of PODi's Executive Board." IBM Printing Systems specializes in e-business printing solutions. A leader in production print solutions, print-on-demand technologies, distributed print technologies, one-to-one marketing initiatives and print management software, IBM Printing Systems' offerings include printers, software, consultation, systems integration, supplies, service and support. Boston Summit engages industry leaders: The public announcement came following a weeklong PODi Summit in Boston. Representatives of more than a dozen companies met to discuss issues involving digital print technology, strategic industry direction, document workflow, job ticketing, and automation initiatives. "Digital print is more versatile today than ever before," commented Rab Govil, President of PODi. "Both speed and quality are reaching unprecedented levels. The fastest machines have better quality than ever, and the best quality machines are faster than ever. This is enabling the convergence of digital print applications that has been predicted for years. PODi member companies are now working actively to define the software and workflows that will provide the final technical enablers. We are very happy to have IBM in a leadership position at this time." In Boston, high-volume computer output applications were the focus of an intensive day-long session. Discussions were keynoted by requirements documents from PODi Board members IBM and Xerox, and included several PODi members that are actively involved in high-volume print applications, including Edmond R&D, GMC Software, Océ, and Scitex Digital Printing. The team analyzed the digital print ecosystem, identifying key stakeholders and looking for "sweet spot" applications that are ripe for increases in productivity and functionality. The meeting was also open to all PODi member companies in all categories of the digital print business. A white paper about PODi's transactional-print initiative has been written for review by potential members. It is available on request from PODi. XML-based PPML print language enables new workflows: PODi member companies produce results in two areas: market development and technical specifications. The flagship technical achievement is the creation of PPML, the Personalized Print Markup Language. Unlike any other print language before it, PPML is an application of XML, the Extensible Markup Language, which is already in use by most corporate database systems. This means PPML has a natural affinity for any corporate workflow that uses structured data. Because of PPML's flexibility, initiatives are already underway to expand its applications into new markets, including new features for digital photo finishing, innovative automated document workflows, and new functionality for graphic arts printing. The PPML language is vendor-neutral and royalty-free, and will be supported with Open Source software tools. About PODi: PODi leads the evolution of the digital printing infrastructure by promoting interoperability through standards and advances the opportunities in digital printing technology through market development activities including the publication of articles and industry speaking engagements. Membership in PODi is open to leading vendors, developers and print service providers involved in digital printing. Additional information regarding PODi may be obtained by calling (585) 239-6063 or on the World Wide Web at www.podi.org.