The AFP Consortium (AFPC) today announced the availability of a new version of the Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) industry standard. The leading architecture for transaction printing has been updated to enhance the operational efficiency of printing environments, while providing a higher level of interoperability between AFP products, including support for the latest fonts, images and graphics. Most transaction documents and sensitive or critical communications associated with financial, insurance, retail, utilities and healthcare institutions worldwide use AFP amounting to tens of millions of mail pieces produced daily.
The new interchange set IS/3 is designed to provide the functionality required for today's complex production printing environments. Support for IS/3 will enable smoother integration across the elements of a printing system -- including formatters, servers, transforms, printers, AFP viewers and archive systems -- with less customization and faster time to production with any given configuration. The enhanced interoperability of IS/3-compliant components will allow customers to significantly cut the cost and time involved in configuring, installing and operating multi-vendor AFP systems.
IS/3 features comprehensive color support, including process and spot colors, ICC-based color management, and industry-standard image file formats such as TIFF and JPEG. IS/3 also includes support for industry-standard OpenType fonts and Unicode-based data encodings.
"With this new version, we are cementing AFP's position as the standard presentation architecture for monochrome and color variable-data production printing," said Harry Lewis, chairman of the AFP Consortium. "By improving interoperability of AFP solutions across vendors, we reassure customers that they can design their print environment using best-of-breed AFP components from multiple vendors with confidence that they will work together easily and efficiently."
The IS/3 interchange set is formally defined in a new version of the Mixed Object Document Content Architecture (MO:DCA) reference, AFPC-0004-08, available on the AFPC website at www.afpcinc.org.
About AFP and the AFPC
AFP is a presentation architecture that offers performance, manageability and integrity benefits across large volume, variable data applications. Originally defined by IBM's Printing Systems Division (now InfoPrint Solutions, a Ricoh company), AFP technology is particularly suited to address industry initiatives for variable-data high-speed color, for example TransPromo targeted marketing in conjunction with the production of mission-critical documents such as bills, statements, and policies. The AFP architecture has powerful advantages that enable ultra high speed intelligent print streaming, output integrity, and efficient server-based resource management.
The AFP Consortium is an open standards body consisting of 32 companies committed to the development of the AFP architecture. This group, formed in 2004, has developed open standards for accurate and consistent color management in high-speed variable data printing and continues in its role to grow and maintain the complete set of AFP architecture.