Graph Expo 2012 has officially begun. Months of preparation on the part of exhibitors has paid off to create a lively and stimulating environment. I’m always amazed at how exhibitors transform an enormous hall into a series of inviting showcases. As usual, exhibitors compete with each other to drive traffic to their booths.
Stages are big this year. I remember two years ago when Xerox had the biggest stage. But this year, Océ /Canon and HP clearly take the prize. HP has an impressive stage set up that delivers engaging sales pitches on steroids. But if you are looking for a more enlightening experience, be sure to stop by the Canon Live Theater where Canon and Océ partnered with WhatTheyThink to host informative sessions throughout the show. Topics will include: Affordable Sustainability, Supply Chain Optimization, the Changing Face of Publishing, and What to look for in a business partner. I caught today’s first session on Digital Packaging Trends which featured a real customer speaking about his operations and how digital printing and print-on-demand allowed him to keep up with industry change and manage his printed inventories better. The list of live sessions can be found here including a link to watch everything streaming live. Xerox does have a new idea this year – improv session. I’ll have to check one out Monday. As I walked around the show floor more, I noticed numerous other presentations and mini-stages set up… so it certainly is a popular way to reach show attendees!
Like every other year, posters are also quite popular this year, as evidenced by the crowds of people walking around with poster bags. The leading poster providers seem to be Komori, KBA, and Scodix. Gunther smartly realized that so many people walk around carrying their loot and decided to brand wheeling storage units that people can cart with them. Free stuff galore!
Judging from Day 1, there are a few hot topics this year that numerous exhibitors are demonstrating their capabilities in. Inkjet Printing is big this year and is being covered by live sessions on both the Océ/Canon stage and on the HP stage. Automation and software seem to also be a popular topics as print providers today are striving for more streamlined end-to-end solutions. We’re talking automation at the beginning (with feeders) and automation at the end (like envelope inserting). Print-on-demand is yet another key topic. In-RoomPlus described today in the Digital Packaging Trends session at Canon Live Theater how they are able to quickly reprint catalogs as their prices change and how they can print small batches of product mock-ups to use as aids with customers during the sales process. Print-on-demand is so big now in the publishing world that Océ will help launch Daydream Alchemy Press – a publisher inspired by bringing projects to life using today’s print technologies – during Graph Expo.
All in all, there is a lot to see and do at Graph Expo 2012. It will surely be a busy, yet exciting, few days!