Inkjet Summit Gives Competitive Advantage to Attendees
When a technology is gaining traction in the industry as fast as production inkjet printing, it can be tough to imagine its future. The 140 printers who attended the sixth annual Inkjet Summit in April left with the bearings and insights they needed to gain a competitive advantage when they invest in production inkjet printing equipment.
Organized by NAPCO Media (which publishes In-plant Graphics and Printing Impressions) and nGage Events, the Inkjet Summit follows a different business model from traditional industry trade shows and conferences. In-plant managers and commercial printing executives were flown to the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club outside of Jacksonville, Fla., to learn about the business opportunities high-speed inkjet can offer them and the steps needed for a successful implementation.
Although entirely sponsored by vendors, the conference is not a series of sales pitches from a podium; rather, it provides a chance to hear from industry analysts and experts about the size and scope of the market, where the opportunities lie, obstacles to watch out for and steps to take when integrating this rapidly growing technology.
Sessions included industry expert and keynote presentations, boardroom-style case study discussions and, most importantly, user panels featuring print providers who shared their candid assessments about their investments in high-speed inkjet printing, finishing and workflow software solutions.
The 48 participating sponsors comprised manufacturers of cut-sheet and continuous-feed production inkjet presses; feeding, finishing and postpress equipment; inkjet paper/substrate suppliers; and providers of workflow and personalization software. Keynote-level sponsors this year were Canon Solutions America, HP, Ricoh and Xerox.
‘Speed Dating’ Format Builds Connections
Three hours were also set aside each afternoon for attendees to meet with sponsors individually, for 25 minutes at a time, to discuss the challenges they face and how they think inkjet might help them address those challenges. Rotating from one vendor to another every 25 minutes in such a “speed dating” format provided attendees focused exposure to a variety of technologies in a compact time frame and paved the way to future, more detailed discussions.
In addition to the keynote presentations and panel discussions at the general sessions, Inkjet Summit attendees were also divided into special interest breakout groups focused on five key areas of opportunity: in-plant printing, direct mail/marketing, transactional, general commercial and publishing. These breakout sessions included presentations on the state of the market within each segment, as well as panels of current and prospective inkjet users.
These were not lightweight sessions, and some of the questions and answers got quite detailed and fostered additional one-on-one discussions elsewhere during the conference. The learning and peer-to-peer networking — during the program each day and at the social receptions and dinners held each night — were non-stop throughout the event.
As a result, much of what attendees learned about production inkjet came from their peers: printers who have reinvented not just their production routines, but their entire business models by installing high-volume, continuous-feed and cut-sheet production inkjet presses.
These success stories, delivered in case-study workshops, user panel discussions, networking conversations among printer attendees and one-on-one meetings with systems vendors during two-and-a-half days of intensive learning, confirmed production inkjet’s status as a transformative and disruptive technology — in the most encouraging sense of those words.