Insights, Trends and Reflections from Graph Expo 2014

As Graph Expo begins its fourth and final day today, visitors have one final chance to check in on the latest developments in the graphic communications industry’s ongoing evolution. Here are some of the emerging trends—and new wrinkles—that we picked up on at this year’s show.
Graph Expo 20141. Mobile has already won. Most industry overview presentations included the latest statistics on how many smartphones are now in use (1.8 millions), how many tablets will be circulating in 2018 and how many hours per day people spend on mobile devices (2.8). The point: mobile has already won the hearts and minds of consumers, and printers need to get in the game with mobile bar codes, augmented reality, near-field communications and other tactics and strategies. “Mobile is not being taken seriously enough, as I look at the booths here,” said Kaspar Roos of InfoTrends. One exception: Xerox, where Xerox FreeFlow Digital Publisher enables users to automatically prepare and route files for print, while also creating digitally optimized versions for electronic distribution (think mobile and online communications).
2. Inkjet is still the next big growth engine.  Jeff Hayes of InfoTrends reported at the InfoTrends breakfast that in the $1.6 trillion global print industry, nearly half, $700 billion, is derived from communications. The rest—packaging, decorative and functional printing only $700 billion is for communications. The rest comprises packaging, decorative and functional printing. The impact of the communication market is evident, and so too are the cost-savings and efficiency opportunities enabled through high-speed production inkjet. Xerox is helping to lead the way with its portfolio of aqueous and waterless inkjet offerings, headed by the first North American showing of its Xerox Impika eVolution inkjet press, which offers benchmark speeds (up to 833 feet/minute) and quality.
3. Printers continue to look for new ways to add value. Greg Wallace of HPG Print, Waltham, Mass., sees many opportunities for applying the Metallic Gold and Silver Specialty Dry Inks that were displayed for its Xerox Color 1000 Press—he wants to run seminars and hold training sessions aimed at designers to help drive demand. Fred Arnold, owner of McBatta’s Packaging and Printing, Fairbury, Neb., is running thick stocks (up to 24 point) on his iGens, enabling him to build a significant business for packaging products for a range of products in the automotive, cosmetics and other industries. Xerox specialty media from Domtar Corporation offered a wide range of additional value-add options in the Xerox booth.
4. Your customers need you to automate. At the InfoTrends industry breakfast, Barb Pellow reported that marketing automation programs would have 50 percent market penetration by next year. Xerox led the charge  on this front, with a booth themed, “Let’s automate and simplify,” and a wide range of automation solutions on display, many based upon the latest release of Xerox FreeFlow Core, the company’s automation software.
5. New investments in xerographic presses seen throughout market. As noted by InfoTrends, four top competitors introduced low- to mid-volume digital presses, and Xerox led the way with the first public showing of the Xerox Versant 2100 Press, as well as the introduction of the new entry-level Xerox Color C60/C70 Printer. Jim Hamilton of InfoTrends called this a seminal show for the category, suggesting that the lower price points for high quality and advanced capabilities will accelerate adoption of just-in-time printing, automated processes and mass customization. Of course, Xerox’s flagship press, the Xerox iGen 150 Press, was on display at the show demonstrating outstanding quality and 26” sheet capabilities.
6. What’s your flight status? Graph Expo 2014 will also be remembered as the year when countless meetings were cancelled or rescheduled due to disruptions in air travel from the Sept. 26 fire at a Federal Aviation Administration facility in Aurora, Ill. Ripple effects were still causing changes in flight schedules as of last night.
What was your experience at Graph Expo? If you are still at the show, please enhance your experience by visiting our booth. If you weren’t able to make the show but followed along on social media, please share your impressions!

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  1. Takao Matsui October 1, 2014 -

    I would like to thank the wonderful report in Japan.

  2. Melissa Sienicki October 6, 2014 -

    Thank you for such an informative recap of the show, Bill!

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