Constant Transition

Anyone who has been around the printing industry for any length of time knows that it has always been changing and evolving. As we move into a new year, three upcoming events offer examples of some of the more recent industry evolutions.

First we have PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative. The January 31 to February 2 PODi AppForum will concentrate on “providing innovative business strategies and support for every company that uses digital printing or owns a digital printing press.” With predictions that digital printing will soon account for half of all print volume, this event – along with other digital-oriented events such as On Demand – offers important resources for printers who want to escape the commodity trap while making the transition to digital.

Next, the long-time Graphics of the Americas trade show (February 24-26) has moved north from Miami to Orlando. That isn’t particularly significant in and of itself. However, following the example of Graph Expo, the show is looking at co-located events to boost attendance and participation. Enter FESPA, a Europe-based association serving the wide-format printing industry worldwide, which is moving into the American market. According to recent reports, the move north and the co-location of FESPA have boosted pre-registration for the event by 40 percent.  FESPA says the surge “reflects FESPA’s own ongoing global market research, which indicates convergence between the conventional and wide-format print segments.”

The third event is the Vision 3 Summit March 13-16, which replaces the leadership programs of NAPL, NPES, and Printing Industries of America. The three associations already cooperate under the umbrella of the Graphic Arts Show Company to produce Graph Expo and Print. This additional joint effort is an example of enlightened self-interest on the part of the three groups which in the past competed for attendance and support at their annual leadership events. As the printing industry evolves, so too will the associations that represent its members.

Certainly there are other examples of an industry in transition to be found, but these three stand out as we move into 2011.