If would be foolish to dismiss the doubt leading up to the ON DEMAND show. Chalk this up to declining advertising spend, economic uncertainty, or a shrinking manufacturing sector. Many industry suppliers commented that the show attendance was better then expected and that a majority of the attendees were closer to making purchase decisions (the show management has not released attendance numbers yet).
Jim Hamilton, Group Director at InfoTrends has a roundup of what technology was and wasn’t seen at On Demand 2009: What If People Actually Showed Up? A Report from ON DEMAND 2009.
As Jim points out in his blog post the finishing vendors brought a lot of hardware, while the print engine vendors that did attend slimmed back on hardware and concentrated their software offerings.
So the question is: was On Demand 2009 the tipping point in terms of workflow playing a more important role in on demand print production. Or was there simply less printing hardware on the show floor because our current economic environment? I think it a matter of both.
We are seeing incremental upgrades among the current digital printing systems on the market. Complex software systems are now needed to control the flow of information from the customer to the printed sheet. And while we have seen workflow the focus of previous shows, a level of maturity in these information systems has finally arrived that allows the printer to do amazing things with a data feed and a printing system.
That’s where I see On Demand. A place were best practices in new information-rich print applications can be discussed and demonstrated.