Connect Attendees got to experience pre-drupa sneak peeks and the latest innovations at the 13th annual Connect users’ conference taking place until April 13 at the Wynn Las Vegas. In addition to access to more than 150 educational sessions, user group meetings, speakers and exhibitors, Connect attendees are the first to see demonstrations and test drive the latest EFI products before they are released.
EFI CEO Guy Gecht kicked off the conference with a keynote referencing the changing window of opportunity for the industry, especially around digital printing and personalisation. Just as other industries, such as music and mobile phones, saw a transformation to a higher value based on personalisation of content to consumer needs, our industry is experiencing similar changes. The opportunities that this transformation brings are many and significant, and you don’t want to get caught selling the old ‘walkman’ to your customers, Gecht told the audience.
While Connect is underway, EFI offers a preview of the new technology the company is bringing to drupa 2012. These innovations span the breadth of the company’s offerings from the new cloud-based Fiery® Dashboard to the VUTEk® HS100, a new category in speed and quality digital press that promises to transform the analog super-wide screen printing process. Customers attending Connect heard for the first time about EFI’s new inkjet printer operating system, named Orion, which is promising to unlock more capabilities of current and future EFI inkjet presses.
EFI also announced their latest acquisition – Metrics Sistemas de Informação – in a move to accelerate development in the growing and vibrant market of Latin America, and bring the EFI ecosystem to the region with the entire company portfolio, ranging from Fiery workflow and cloud and customer-hosted ERP software, all the way to industrial inkjet production printers.
A highlight of the Connect solutions area again this year is the Digital Workflow Experience – a live demonstration that shows an integrated workflow from submission to output. The demonstration follows a job from submission using EFI Digital StoreFront® web-to-print solution, to both EFI Pace™ and EFI Monarch print MIS systems, to EFI PrintFlow®, to a Fiery production RIP server, and then to the VUTEk GS3250LX and/or the new EFI R3225 printer to illustrate how a seamless workflow can save time, while reducing errors and waste.
For the first time at Connect, the new EFI PrintSmith™ Vision was on display. An evolution of EFI PrintSmith, PrintSmith Vision provides a full-featured, browser-based management solution. The newest release of EFI Pace was also shown, highlighting advanced scheduling, a new digital order entry tool, and greater integration to Fiery servers, EFI inkjet printers and EFI Digital StoreFront. A preview of the forthcoming edition of EFI Monarch is available to attendees, including new PrintFlow and Auto-Count® features, wide- and super-wide format workflow and planner capabilities, and an improved digital page workflow. The just released version 13.1 of EFI Radius was on display, with streamlined estimating for self-adhesive labels, integration with SmartLinc, SmartWare and SmartLinc Process Shipper, and new flexible packaging enhancements. Also on display was the latest release of Digital StoreFront, which shows off rich ticketing updates and improved support for Fiery, Fiery XF and wide-format integration.
The Fiery solutions area highlighted the latest server system integrated with EFI Web-to-Print and MIS. The newest version of the Fiery system software, with features that improve image quality, colour output, usability, and performance, was demonstrated. Launched earlier during the conference, Fiery Dashboard is a new cloud-based information service that enables owners and production managers to easily and quickly analyse their operations and make better business decisions. Attendees can also learn about EFI’s enterprise printing products, the new EFI M500 station for self-service print, copy and pay including mobile and cloud printing. As part of the Digital Workflow Experience, there is a workflow showing EFI Digital StoreFront to EFI Pace to EFI PrintFlow dynamic scheduling to the Fiery Central production workflow tool to a Fiery-driven Ricoh Pro C901 printer – illustrating an efficient, integrated workflow that saves time, reduces errors, and decreases waste. There is also a live demo of Fiery integrated to the Kodak Prinergy Workflow.
Also on display in the Connect lab were proofing products, including the newest versions of Colorproof™ XF and Fiery XF. An EFI Wide Format T1000 is shown in a separate area.