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IOT: the mother of all MIS?

Walter Hale explains why you need to be keeping your eye on the Internet of Things.H - Fotolia 79387054 M

Clothes that adjust to the temperature, vacuum cleaners operated by text messages and cars that drive themselves … these are some of the much-hyped innovations that could be spawned by the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT). Yet uber-management consultants McKinsey suggest that the media have misunderstood this revolution. Innovations aimed at the consumer generate plenty of headlines, but they argue that the IoT could have a more profound impact in the B2B world, where it will rewrite the rules of competition, create new business models, and transform the way companies use technology. To take one example relevant to wide-format printing, every printer could be fitted with sensors that predict when maintenance will be required and analyse workflows to improve efficiency. We’re starting to see the beginnings of it, but before we look too far ahead, let’s take a step back.

ON TEST: Mutoh ValueJet VJ-1626UH

Mutoh is targeting this entry-level LED UV printer at the quality end of the market, but how well does it B - M1626 Front DC18416 PQdo in our test? Nessan Cleary investigates.

The ValueJet 1626UH is a 1.6m wide UV hybrid printer, designed to produce high quality prints for entry level volume printers, as well as prototypes for packaging. It uses LED curing and so Mutoh has marketed it as a speciality and industrial printer, to distinguish it from its range of solvent printers, which are also called ValueJets. It takes a standard range of media, including vinyl, canvas and wallpaper, as well as most rigid media up to 15mm thick, and up to 15kg in weight.

Round Table - Thinking Bigger

This summer Image Reports brought together four PSPs and four creatives to discuss how best toA1 - All exploit the opportunities offered by large-format digital print. The upshot is the following message to market…

Over to you...Steve Hallett, MD, Repropoint

Steve HallettA - Steve Hallett
MD, Repropoint

What’s having the greatest impact on your business at the moment?

Our strategy to use traditional selling tactics combined with targeted marketing. It’s all about the personal touch, adding value through consultation and relationships. It is rewarding for our business, customers and our staff.

More than a label

Fujifilm recently announced that it had gained Nordic Ecolabel certification for its Uvijet UV inks. ButA - Fujifilm Uvijet packaging this is much more than an environmental tick box exercise; it’s about corporate responsibility. So does that matter to you?

How much do your suppliers’ CSR programmes matter to you? The recent announcement by Fujifilm that it has received Nordic Ecolabel certification for inks within its Uvijet range has prompted the question not only because it’s a move that in itself is significant, but because of what it says about the company’s overall CSR vision. And what that in turn suggests about the need for others to be more proactive.

POP music…

… or high street dirge? Walter Hale looks at the recent retail sector figures and wonders what mood Graphathey will put you in.

You can’t have a silver lining without a cloud. As good as digital technology has been for British wide-format printers, it could impact the volume of work generated by one of the industry’s biggest markets – the retail sector – in the next five years. Britons are the most frequent online shoppers in Europe. This year, we will spend roughly £1,174 per head online, according to the Centre of Retail Research (CRR). It estimates that online accounts for 15.2% of all retail spend in this country. And, with online sales per shopper increasing by 9.6% this year, online’s share of the total spend will keep growing. This is worth note if you print in-store POP/POS.

It’s all in the mind

As Head of PR for Contra Vision Jo Bentley understands the demands of the print and graphics business, and as a qualified mindfulness trainer she also knows techniques for combating workplace stress. Here’s her advice.

You may have heard of mindfulness and have a sense it’s something out there, wild and woolly, a bit like yoga or navel gazing or some sort of cultish thing. It is none of those things. Simply put, mindfulness is a way of learning how to work more effectively with the most fantastic piece of kit you could ever own - your own mind.

IR talks to ….. Greg Craigen, Founder, SignAway

Talk about making a statement! In June, Surrey-based SignAway, produced a 250m x 5m multi-A - Greg Craigencoloured carpet and laid it the entire length of London Bridge.

I went to talk with company founder Greg Craigen about this eye-catching job, and about inkjet printing carpet in general as a viable business proposition.
By Lesley Simpson

Mark Simpson, Chairman, Simpson Group

For someone who didn’t really want to joint the family print business Mark Simpson has stuck at it longer than B- Mark Simpsonhis late father and company founder could ever have imagined. It’s 32 years since the man, who since the start of the 1990s been at the helm of the Simpson Group in Washington, Tyne and Wear, first joined what was then Simpson Print. Over that period he’s overseen its transformation from what was formed in 1972 as “a jobbing screenprinter that would take on any work that local litho printers couldn’t do” to become a £12m turnover POP/POS specialist with around 110 permanent staff across the main Washington site and another in Slough. Now he’s looking at succession planning to ensure the group continues to evolve and grow.

Put an end to isolation

Large-format print companies could enjoy greater success through collaboration and an open A 47983527 Mapproach to research and development argues Nathan Atkins, managing director of Papergraphics.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress, working together is success”. The American industrialist who said this went on to successfully launch the Ford Motor Company and sponsored the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. Henry Ford knew that successful collaboration was key to the future of his industry and there is no doubt this approach is resulting in great success for the print sector.

Cardboard conundrum

At Drupa 2012 design guru David Bartlett launched a range of inkjet printable cardboard furniture I - Fespa Dome BIFunder the BrandIt label. Demand is growing from end users, but print licensees are not shifting in the UK. Could it be your new revenue stream?

Cardboard is becoming extremely popular as a cost effective quick branding solution for pop-up shops, POS products and event branding. And if you visited the Printeriors section of Fespa 2015 you will have seen for yourself the possibilities now offered via cardboard BrandIt Furniture, a range of over 50 inkjet printable products that are gaining traction with end users – but not it seems, as yet with UK printers!

W2P: time to rethink?

Web-to-print is get to gain a real foothold in the digital wide-format space despite print buyers G - RedTie RTT Pluswanting to use it. John Taylor considers the issues.

Why is it taking so long for wide-format PSPs to jump on the Web-to-print (W2P) bandwagon? On the face of it there are no real technological issues so why it should be the case?

Hacked off?

Have the cyber criminals got to you yet? Perhaps not, but that’s no reason to ignore what’s a A - Fotolia 75889122 Mmounting issue as business writer Walter Hale explains.

Every minute 173 new kinds of viruses are invented. And every three seconds a website somewhere in the world is compromised. The statistics are scary but they also make a useful point. When cyber security hits the headlines it is usually because a government department or a corporate titan like Sony has been compromised. To the managing director of a typical wide-format printer, the risk of their company being targeted by North Korea’s savviest cyber criminals might seem infinitesimal, but the Sony-style attacks are only the well-publicised tip of a very large iceberg.

ON TEST: Jetrix RX3200

Having been impressed with the Jetrix flatbed he tested last year Nessan Cleary went to see if the new B - RX3200 Clean DC17226 PQroll-to-roll printer would be as good.

Korean company Inktec has built up a good reputation for its Jetrix range of UV-curable printers. Last year Image Reports tested one of the flatbeds and booked a return trip earlier this year when Inktec announced a couple of UV-curable roll-to-roll printers in the run up to Fespa 2015. The RX3200 on test this time around, is a 3.2m wide printer. There’s also a 5m wide version, the RX5000, which was shown on the Jetrix stand at Fespa 2015, though Ben Woodruff, sales manager at Inktec Europe, believes that the 3.2m machine will prove more popular here in the UK.

Over to you...Esther Butterfield, Sales director, Blink

Esther ButterfieldA - Esther
Sales director

What’s having the greatest impact on your business at the moment?

Blink has recently employed two new staff members to help with growth/sales. They have very diverse backgrounds and skills in print and POS because we feel our clients want to not only be talking to someone that knows how things are done but can actually do them.

What shade of green are we?

Mild green is the answer to that if the responses from the UK’s large-format PSPs to the Image Reports’ Widthwise Survey 2015 are anything to go by. So do the sector’s suppliers feel the same way?

For every large-format PSP with laudable environmental initiatives and practices there are hundreds without. This is not gut feel – extrapolated data from the Widthwise Survey 2015 shows it to be the case. So is this somewhat wishy-washy sectoral attitude reflected by its suppliers? Here we asked a cross section for their current view of the situation and how they expect to move forward in a world where a ‘doing less bad is good’ attitude is becoming increasingly outmoded.