Three print processes print buyers should learn in 2013

I love watching James Bond films.  One of the highlights is always the scene with Q, the MI5 scientist.  He always has a new invention for Bond to try.

The films have featured an explosive keychain, a wristwatch with a laser beam cutter and even a bagpipe with a flamethrower and machine gun!

Sometimes it seems that print developments are just as outlandish

Print buyers should always take time out to learn more.  Here are three things you should research.

Print buyers should always take time out to learn more. Here are three things you should research.

The world of print is changing fast.  Buyers need to learn new technologies.

Print buyers who learn new technologies are able to create better partnerships with their clients.  This is because they will be able to suggest new and more effective solutions to the clients’ needs.  These buyers will be able to control projects at a more detailed level.  They will achieve more for their clients and themselves.

Print buyers who do not learn new technologies will not manage to achieve the same level of results.  They will see projects being taken out of their control as they are handed to more knowledgeable members of their companies.  Their clients won’t want to maintain partnerships with them.  These buyers will simply be regarded as price providers and order clerks.

But which are the best technologies to learn if you want to avoid being regarded in this way?  The first one is being talked about a lot these days.

Intelligent Print Recognition

IPR is the technology that will make print truly multi-media.  You have probably already seen QR codes in action.  IPR is the next generation of qr code.  Any piece of print can be made into an item that can be scanned.  This can even be done after something has been printed.

Once a user scans an item through an app, they can be directed to whatever web content the campaign provider wishes.  This content can be changed according to time, location or user’s previous scanning behaviour.

The data that is created from this activity enables a company to communicate with a prospect in a truly one-to-one fashion.  Print becomes completely interactive and accountable.

However, the next technology allows print to generate sales instantly.

Near field communication

There has been a lot of discussion about NFC enabled phones recently.  The first mobiles equipped with this ability are now available.  The technology allows phones to create radio communication with unpowered chips.  The most widely implemented use of this technology is to allow instant payment for transport systems.  However, it can also be used for data exchange.

If an NFC chip is implemented in a piece of print, a user can instantly pay for and download an access code for a piece of software, a ticket or a special offer.  Once again, extremely detailed data can be generated.  Print becomes completely measurable and accountable.

These two technologies give print the ability to remain an essential communication channel.  However, print buyers also need to be aware in the latest changes in printing technology itself.  And there is a potential game-changing technology on the horizon.

Nanography

Nanographic printing is being developed by Benny Landa, who is also the inventor of digital offset printing.  Nanography is a process which aims to allow the production of personalised digital printing at the speed of offset printing.  It also claims to be more competitive than offset printing in certain run lengths.

If it achieves what it claims, then this could create a huge change in the offset market.  I hear that development is currently on track.  I expect to see first press installations at some point in 2014.

These three technologies show that print is a fast developing marketplace.  Some print buyers feel that it’s hard to keep up.

I’m too busy with my job to learn new technologies

It is vital that buyers learn and understand new technologies.  The opportunities that they afford are too important to ignore.  Buyers who aren’t setting aside time to research them will slowly become redundant.

So what should buyers do?

Here are three action points to get you going

  1. Set aside 20 minutes each week to research the new technologies
  2. Start researching useful sites (try www.documobi.com for IPR, http://www.nfc-forum.org/home/ for NFC and www.landanano.com/ for nanography)
  3. Consider how you might use these technologies on your current projects

Remember that some of Q’s inventions are now in common use

Fingerprint detectors and bug scanners no longer seem as outlandish as when they were first featured.  Some of these print technologies may seem outlandish now.  But at least some of them will be commonplace very soon.
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