Five PRINT13 Software Solutions that Rocked My World

Posted on by Greg Cholmondeley | 2 Comments »

There were many, many solutions shown at PRINT13 and I’m sure I’ll offend companies by not mentioning theirs. Let me start by apologizing for that. It’s a big world and a small blog article; I really don’t mean to slight anyone. That being said, here are five solutions that I thought were really innovative and exciting:

  • Lumapix FullScale – a cloud-based photo book application
  • Enfocus Pitstop 12 – with cloud-based missing font correction
  • Avanti Slingshot – completely redesigned, browser-based, print MIS
  • Xerox FreeFlow Digital Publisher – automated online magazine-style publication of PDFs
  • RSA WebCRD – an all-in-one workflow solution for in-plants

Lumapix FullScale: (Note: Since PRINT13, LumaPix has changed their product name to FullScale.) I found this cloud-based photo book application to be really cool for two reasons: Its nice design tools and its pricing model. Basically, FullScale lets you create a business where customers can easily create and order photo books using a combination of their own and stock photography. It has nice, easy-to-use tools for uploading and tweaking photos into beautifully designed layouts with an integrated online ordering system. I love the pricing model though. For a few grand you can get a software license, have the site set up, and have a website ready to upload photos, create photo books, and place orders. The way Lumapix gets paid is by collecting 10 percent of each order. Your site comes with a number of credits to cover this fee and can be recharged when it gets low.

So, why is this so cool? Well, this is a new application area with a lot of opportunity, and, since there is no ongoing subscription fee, there is no cost risk past the initial investment if it takes a while for orders to start coming in. They showcased wedding albums, college sports albums, vacation albums and yearbooks. Personally, I’d start with two ripe markets they didn’t mention: daycares and youth athletics. Imagine creating a league memory book for a youth soccer season where each team’s coach can personalize it photos of the kids on their team. Likewise, imagine creating templates for a daycare center that can be personalized by teachers for each class. I like these applications better than wedding/vacation albums for two reasons: They’ll generate multiple orders (imagine every parent in a youth athletic league) and they’ll be promoted by the organizations as fundraisers.

If I were a print provider or an in-plant, I’d be all over this one.

Enfocus Pitstop 12: Enfocus has teamed up with Monotype to solve the missing font program. We all know that jobs are often sent at the last minute right before the client goes home for the evening. This can be disastrous when they forget to embed a font. Pitstop 12 will not only point out the problem – it will also offer a solution. First it checks to see if the font is on your system but if it isn’t, Pitstop will check online to see if Monotype has it in their library of 30,000 or so fonts in the cloud. If the font is available, you can pay three bucks for a one-time use fee for this particular document. Sometimes that expense won’t be worth it, but sometimes it will be what saves the day – and you can pass the minimal charge on to your client as a “Bozo tax.”

Xerox FreeFlow Digital Publisher: This is one of Xerox’s next generation FreeFlow products and is a new and innovative addition to their solution mix. It lets print services providers create and publish digital editions of PDF documents. And, this is MUCH more than just putting PDFs on a server. This is an automated way to create open- or subscriber-access versions accessible from desktop or mobile devices with links, embedded videos, various advertising options and all kinds of cool features. The resulting documents have state-of-the-art navigation and rendering capabilities along with dashboards and analytics. This puts you into a whole new market space and the cool thing is that it plugs into FreeFlow Core as another, parallel production path. Most of the work is fully automated although you’ll probably also manually tweak the result with ads, videos or other enhancements.

Stay tuned for a PODi product briefing on this baby. It is really worth seeing.

Avanti Slingshot: This is their completely redesigned, browser-based Print MIS offering. I was really impressed with its new interface that looks simpler and easier to use, its ability to handle multiple lines of business (large format, digital, offset, direct mail, creative & marketing services), and their pitch on how the setup time has been shortened. Now, I couldn’t get deep enough to really see how the setup works, but configuring print MIS systems is the unspoken nightmare of these solutions. Patrick Bolan, their CEO, claims Avanti has leveraged years of customer installation experience and a vast number of programming hours to address this area. Their QuickStart database and Estimating Standards Library were developed to simplify the setup process and to dramatically reduce the time and resources required.

RSA WebCRD: WebCRD is a product designed for in-plants that has been around for years and just keeps getting better. What started out as a web-to-print submission tool has grown to be an all-in-one in-plant web submission/print MIS/transformation/output management solution.

In-plants do the same types of work as their commercial counterparts but they have different job mixes and different needs. For example: They need LDAP and single sign-on capabilities. Most of their work involves charge-backs but are not invoiced. They often can’t justify the expense or infrastructure maintenance of dedicate print MIS systems but still need those capabilities to be competitive.

RSA has been addressing these in-plant specific challenges for years with an integrated system that handles web submission, file transformation and output management. The result is a single solution that can get many of the digital jobs in-plants typically handle all the way from submission through production – including MIS. This year they’ve strengthened their integration to procurement systems, changed their PDF driver, and added customer invoicing. This last feature is very valuable as in-plants work to become profit centers with job insourcing.

So, again, there were lots more exciting software solutions at PRINT13 and I apologize for those who weren’t mentioned. These, however, seemed to stand out to me as being different and of particular interest to my audience.

2 Responses to “Five PRINT13 Software Solutions that Rocked My World”

Comment from Kimberly
Time October 16, 2013 at 3:31 am

Great Article

Comment from Brenda
Time October 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Hey Greg, thank you, I appreciate your posting this information. I have seen some of these incredible
applications. Absolutely amazing. Oh to keep up with progress, a challenge indeed. Thanks again, for reminding me of what I am trying to catch up too! Sincerely, Brenda

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