Driving ‘Movable Data’ in the Right Direction

“Printing using movable type” has turned into “printing using movable data.” It has been almost eight years since Bernhard Schreier, CEO of Heidelberg, paraphrased Gutenberg’s invention to describe the transformation of the industry. And data has been moving ever faster, in ever more directions, ever since. 

“Everything that can go online, will go online,” Schreier, now appointed president of drupa 2012, stated in his speech at GRAPH EXPO 2011, held last September. And “everything,” of course, includes the printing industry. Who could have imagined only three years ago you’d be able to access all relevant management information from your printshop by using an app on a smartphone? Or, allow your clients to view, annotate and approve jobs on their iPads? 

It was only just at the time of Drupa 2008 that Apple announced a new iPhone using 3G. And the iPad did not even exist. 

Get Your App

Now, Heidelberg’s Prinect Mobile app connects a smartphone directly to the workflow at work, and lets you check a job’s status, monitor machine reports of all equipment and even analyze production during shifts. 

Agfa’s :Apogee Prepress App lets you do a quick check of a specific job during production via an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. “A convenient status overview of the prepress equipment, including proofers, CTP systems and other output devices, can also be displayed with this App,” notes Erik Peeters, marketing manager for Apogee at Agfa Graphics.

And Fujifilm’s XMF Remote app is changing the way printers and their clients interact, as John Davies, workflow solutions manager Fujifilm Europe, explained at the U.K. Publishing Expo 2011. “Print buyers are, in the main, creative people, and it’s creatives who have been early adopters of iPad technology, using it as a professional business tool,” he pointed out. “If we want to enhance the experience of these creatives who are responsible for commissioning and approving print work, we have to provide them with tools that they want to work with.”

Shift to Software

Between last Drupa and the 2012 edition, capital investment has been impacted by the global recession. Printing companies have been forced to find new ways to innovate and improve their businesses without large investments in machines or equipment. Shifting their attention to software, focusing on the handling of data and information, has proven to offer affordable solutions that enhance productivity, efficiency and margin.

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