What's New?

"So, what did you see on the trade show floor that stood out?" At every trade show, without fail, I get that question—or a close approximation—from just about every appointment. And it's not surprising. I spend several hours meeting with exhibitors and learning about the latest products they're bringing to market. And in many cases, many of these people I'm meeting for appointments have not had the chance to walk around to see what was on the show floor yet.

So, what did I see today at SGIA 2011 that stood out? There were a few things that certainly come to mind.

1. New Ilford Media Lines

While Ilford has primarily been known for its photographic media, at SGIA they announced two new product lines: Bio Media and OmniJet. Bio Media is a unique series of products—display films, rigid boards, and laminates—that offer PSPs a green alternative to vinyl. This product uses an enzyme to accelerate the breakdown of the product under anaerobic conditions—i.e. in a landfill—where it is reduced to dust. According to Paul Willems, CEO and director of sales, this new green media if "comparatively priced" to other products in the market with a "minimal premium" for the Bio Media over vinyl products. Ilford also debuted the OmniJet photo realistic media line without a resin coating. It is FSC certified and can be used with dye, pigment, and Latex inks. Plans are already underway to extend the product offerings to include double-sided and proofing media, as well.

2. Fuzzy laminate

One of the most unique laminates I've seen has to be the one just introduced by MACtac. It's new PermaColor PermaFlex DecoLam Textured Laminates (yes, that's quite the mouthful) features six new finishes including fine and coarse wood grain, brushed metal, carbon clear, leather, and flock. Yes, this laminate is FUZZY. Think peach fuzz. Now I just need to figure out a way to use the flock somewhere…maybe a kid's bedroom with a spot laminate on a digitally-printed animal-themed wallpaper or as a spot laminate on a label of a peach-flavored beverage.

3. Eye Tracking Alternative

One of the more interesting apps had to be 3M's launch of its Visual Attention Service (VAS), which introduces video capabilities and sequencing features to the scanning tool that is an alternative to eye tracking. Previously offered only for still images, 3M VAS can analyze video to illustrate how people are most likely to visually interact with any scene or setting, and identify where the average human eye will focus at any given moment. The software analyzes images, graphical and text elements of digital and print content through a series of algorithms that process important visual cues, such as colors, edges, faces, shapes, and contrast.

4. Inca Ideas

Inca Digital launched it second Inca Digital Excellence Awards (IDEAS 2012) which celebrates the creativity of its customers. The IDEAS recognize the power of digital print and showcase the effects that are possible using Inca’s inkjet technology. There are six categories: Display Graphics, 3D POS, Retail Interiors, Decor and Furniture, Product Decoration, and Interactive Display (i.e. QR codes, digital signage/print integration). The six category winners will receive an IDEAS Trophy and an expenses-paid, two-night trip to Las Vegas to attend next year’s SGIA Expo (October 18-20, 2012). All jobs must have been produced between May 1, 2011 and April 30, 2012, and the closing date for entries is July 31, 2012. For more info check out: http://www.incadigital.com/ideas2012. I know I can't wait to see what projects are submitted and what the winning entries will be.

5. Oce Poster Printer

The Oce ColorWave 600 Poster Printer has finally made its way across the pond from Europe. Released earlier this year by Océ NV, the ColorWave 600 Poster Printer is now available in the US. This system produces short-term, retail-quality, color prints at production speeds. Designed for cost-effective, high production poster printing, the Océ ColorWave 600 Poster Printer uses Océ CrystalPoint imaging technology to produce instantly dry, water-resistant prints that are cut-to-size and ready for immediate use. Up to six rolls of media from 11 to 42 inches wide can be loaded into the printer at one time, so the system is ready to produce posters of varying widths or media types, eliminating the need to change media between jobs and the need to manually trim standard sized jobs.