Inkjet Summit 2016: The Market is on the Move!

Posted in Digital Coaters, News

Now in its fourth year, nGage’s 2016 Inkjet Summit (April 18-20) focused on critical trends and new applications in direct mail, book publishing, commercial printing, and transactional printing. This article provides a brief history of the event and also discusses some of the highlights from this year.
By Barb Pellow
Published: April 21, 2016

Now in its fourth year, nGage’s 2016 Inkjet Summit attracted 117 attendees and 46 sponsor companies. The concept of the event is relatively simple—locate prospective buyers of high-speed inkjet equipment, pay their way to a resort location, sit them down for case study presentations and one-on-one meetings with sponsors, and foster highly informative panel discussions with industry peers. This model is designed to bring decision-makers and suppliers together. In most instances, the participants will have done their research ahead of time and will already have a good idea of what they need. At this year’s event, about 80% of the attendees were just starting their inkjet journey. The remaining 20% were existing users who attended to share their experiences and educate the market.
For 2016, nGage created a series tracks focused on critical trends and new applications in direct mail, book publishing, commercial printing, and transactional printing. There were also a number of sessions that focused on inkjet trends and technologies, substrates, and what to expect at Drupa.
History
Since its inception, the Inkjet Summit has served as an accurate barometer for understanding the market dynamics associated with production inkjet. At the inaugural event in 2013, print service providers were questioning inkjet’s total cost of ownership and wondering whether the marketplace would accept its print quality levels in comparison to the output from offset presses. During 2014 and 2015, the focus shifted to the availability of paper stocks, emerging cut sheet technologies, and the cost of ink. This year, participants readily acknowledged that the market was quickly maturing, and the emphasis was on successful strategies for implementation. No one was questioning the validity of the market anymore; the focus was on how to effectively get in the inkjet game.
The 2016 Event
During the 2016 Inkjet Summit, Conference Chair Marco Boer told the audience, “The technology is clearly proven. There are more than 1,500 systems installed on a worldwide basis, and the pages produced on inkjet devices are expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 27%. Today’s printers simply can’t wait any longer to get into the market. If they do, it will be too late.”
Suppliers and customers alike saw extreme value in the model and content of this year’s conference. According to Gina Testa, VP of Marketing for Xerox’s Graphic Communications Group, “The Inkjet Summit is an ideal opportunity to network with decision-makers. From a supplier perspective, it grants you the opportunity to conduct 40-plus one-on-one interviews. This equates to six months of prospecting in two and a half days!” Jennifer Lark, Business Development Manager from Epic Products, states, “For us, it’s a terrific opportunity to meet with suppliers and customers in an environment that is conducive to sharing. The Inkjet Summit is the place for substantive conversations.”
Participants had a similar reaction. According to Roger Chamberlin, Manager of Print, Mail, and Fulfillment at the Cincinnati Insurance Company, “The event is a great opportunity to hear from early adopters about what worked and what didn’t. The case studies take you beyond the concept and into market reality. I’m leaving here with a clear picture of the next steps that I need to take.” Darrell Moore, President of Modern Litho, added, “This is a great place to be if you want easy access to an enormous knowledge base. You can hear from those who have blazed the trail, or you can understand the strategies of companies that are pursuing the technology but haven’t yet invested in it.”
The Bottom Line
This year’s Inkjet Summit was a good indicator that there are a significant number of print providers ready to embrace inkjet technology. The market for production inkjet is rapidly expanding as additional products come to market. Inkjet presses offer support for different print speeds, print widths, and substrates, as well as higher print quality and cut-sheet printing capabilities. The evolution of production inkjet products will continue to create new market opportunities for the technology in areas such as packaging, newspapers, catalogs, marketing materials, and a number of other commercial applications. For those who are thinking that now is a good time to get on board, the Inkjet Summit provides a fast-paced and high-quality place to learn.

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