Every time I look at the date—2010, 2011, 20-whatever—I vaguely feel like I'm traveling through some kind of weird time warp or something. I'm a huge science fiction fan, and—especially in the older books from the 1950s and 1960s—they always painted the years after 2000 as some kind of futuristic society where everyone lived in eco-friendly high rises and drove hover vehicles and had personal jetpacks.
If we weren't living in technologically-advanced computer-run homes or apartments, we were of course off exploring other planets and setting up various colonies. Of course there were always those darker, blacker authors, who wrote about a much bleaker future where "Big Brother" watches over everyone and controls everything that goes on throughout the entire planet.
Now, while I know none of these fictional scenarios are greeting us as we enter 2011, there has been a tremendous amount of technological advancement—both in consumer electronic and industrial products—in the last two decades or so since the dawn of the wide-format inkjet market.
Remember the original mobile phone from the 1980 and 1990s? Just look at any of the television shows from that time period—I'm sure they're out on DVD box sets somewhere. The mobile phones were huge monstrosities with retractable antennas. And back then, they were considered cool. Now they just look ridiculous—especially since many of us have a cell phone smaller than our hands that can call anywhere in the world, surf the Internet, and if they're connected just right, turn on lights, appliances, house alarms, and cameras in their house when they're away from home. Okay, so maybe the "computer-run" homes aren't that far from reality nowadays.
On the industrial side, you can also look at the original LaserMaster printers back in the early 1990s and then compare them to some of high-tech wide-format printers we have on the market. Even the slowest and lowest quality of them blow the original printers out of the water.
Okay, so you might be wondering where this is going—and if I really did sip too much of the holiday eggnog I mentioned in my last editorial. Well, as we more into 2011, we've decided to change things up a bit. If you haven't already noticed, Wide-Format Imaging's logo has gotten a little sprucing up. It's sleek and modern and a little fun and funky. Additionally, I'm happy to announce that in 2011 you're going to see a lot more contributors to the magazine, ebook, and website. We have nine new columnists joining us this year who will be writing four new columns.
In the new "Industry Insights" column—debuting in this issue—SGIA, FESPA, IRgA, and ISA will be sharing the spotlight throughout the year to discuss some of the biggest and hottest issues effecting the wide- and graph format industry.
"The Sign Connection" column—focusing on the needs, issues, and challenges of the traditional sign shop—will be penned by two leading sign franchises: SignsNow and FastSigns.
To help industry leaders make better business decisions, InfoTrends and IT Strategies will provide industry commentary and statistics in the "Market Intelligence" column.
As it becomes more important for PSPs to incorporate QR codes, variable data, and Web 2.0 strategies in their businesses, Firespring will provide the "Interactive Elements" column touching on all of those pieces that can make print come to life through the web and mobile devices.
To me, 2011 is looking very exciting. It's a bold and brave new world. And there is lots more to come, so stay tuned!