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Inkjet Summit Triumphs Again

Now in its second year, the Inkjet Summit did not disappoint. With better content, a wider range of speakers and more participants, it brought attendees a wealth of knowledge about production inkjet printing.

May 2014 By Bob Neubauer
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Inkjet is hot and getting hotter. Last month, more than 200 people flocked to the elegant Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to attend the second annual Inkjet Summit. These included almost 90 senior managers and business executives interested in purchasing a production inkjet press—in some cases their second or third machine.

Following its successful debut last year, Inkjet Summit 2014 was even more impressive, with better content, a wider range of speakers and nearly twice the attendees. This year a new track for commercial printers was added to the three existing tracks for direct marketers, book printers and transactional printers.

Paper mills had a stronger turnout this year, and they showed a variety of new sheets, many designed for pigment ink sets.

"Paper continues to be a great challenge for all inkjet users out there. It was one of the main topics discussed both during and in between sessions," remarks returning attendee Jimmy Vainstein, senior project manager at The World Bank's Printing & Multimedia Services operation, which installed an HP Inkjet T-230 production inkjet press last year. "I was able to share some of our experience with certain substrates and also got valuable tips from other fellow users."

Speakers and panelists discussed how to make money with inkjet, how to pick the right inkjet technology, the implementation process and how to sell the value of inkjet. End users offered case study presentations in which they talked about challenges they faced, strategies and the future.

A $2 Billion Market

Conference Chair Marco Boer, vice president of IT Strategies, opened the summit with a keynote address in which he noted the tremendous growth of production inkjet—from nothing to $2 billion in six years, with the potential to double by 2020. He offered his views on the future of this expanding technology.

Inkjet Summit 2014 was organized by nGage Events and North American Publishing Company (owner of In-plant Graphics and Printing Impressions). Attendees spent three days networking and learning from each other and left the event full of inspiration and ideas for implementing inkjet technology. The enthusiasm of attendees and sponsors alike was very high, with many compliments going to organizers for bringing the two groups together in an intimate setting, which included scheduled one-on-one meetings.

Attendees were carefully selected based on the size and type of business they have, the range of applications, typical run lengths and their interest in adopting a high-speed production inkjet press. This was not an event for the merely curious but for those serious about growing their companies and who recognize that adopting new technology is essential to their future success.

An Inkjet Immersion

Although entirely sponsored by vendors, the conference was not a series of pitches from a podium, but instead it provided a chance to hear from industry analysts and experts about the size and shape of the market, where the opportunities lie, what to watch out for and steps to take when integrating this technology into an existing operation. Sessions included presentations, videos and panels featuring print providers who offered candid assessments and commentary on the good, the bad and the risky sides of high-speed inkjet printing.

About three hours were set aside on each day for attendees to meet with vendors—for about 30 minutes at a time—to talk about the challenges they face and how they think inkjet might help them address those challenges. The vendors then explained how their equipment or software might be a fit for that operation. Rotating from one vendor to another every 30 minutes provided attendees focused exposure to a variety of technologies in a compact time frame and paved the way to future, more detailed discussions. For vendors, it not only generated solid leads, but helped them better understand the issues being experienced by many print providers.

Keynote sponsors of the event were Canon Solutions America, Fujifilm, International Paper and Ricoh, with Xerox participating as a diamond sponsor. Also notable, HP and Kodak both participated this year, after sitting out last year's Inkjet Summit.

Watch for a full report on Inkjet Summit 2014 in our June issue.IPG



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