Virtual.Drupa gets underway

Jo Francis
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Virtual.Drupa kicked off today with a packed schedule and a thought-provoking keynote from Michael Gale, who urged business owners large and small to embrace the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence.

Gale: AI is not just for large organisations
Gale: AI is not just for large organisations

Drupa president Claus Bolza-Shünemann, the former CEO of Koenig & Bauer, encouraged more than 14,000 registered attendees from 152 countries to “meet, listen, learn and network” at the event, which runs for four days until Friday. 

Gale is the founding partner of Inc.Digital and is considered to be one of the world’s top ten AI influencers. He is the author of a bestselling book, The Digital Helix, in which he explores successful digital transformation traits. 

In his Virtual.Drupa address Gale said the Covid-19 crisis had had “two dramatic effects on the industry that we’re all part of”.

“What’s actually happened has been this virtual collision of physical packaging and virtual experience. We’ve actually consumed hundreds of billions of packages at home over the last year because of Covid-19. That pattern isn’t going to change.”

Gale urged business leaders to consider 10 basic questions in terms of how “any idea, any technology or any company” can help their own business convert to an “AI-centric data platform business”.

“In some ways there is no choice but to become circular, machine-led AI organisations – it’s a global issue that is going to change the very nature of the businesses we work with,” he stated. 

He said that there was a “very, very clear DNA for success” and those firms that were getting it right, were “taking enormous amounts of the ROI from an AI perspective”. 

He emphasised that this wasn’t something that was just relevant to large corporations.  

“I think the small organisations we saw doing this very well are nimble and agile, and they use these ten questions as a Swiss Army knife to get things done.”

“So just ponder for a second what your company, what your industry could look like by the year 2030 – is it going to be an open industry that uses technology, or is it going to be an industry that’s dominated by the use of technology?”

Sessions, including Gale’s keynote, will be available for replay via the Virtual.Drupa website. 

A host of product and technical presentations feature in the programme, with Fujifilm using the opening day to announce the launch of its fourth generation Jet Press 750S, with a higher speed 5,400sph model. 

Mimaki has used its participation to unveil two new LED-UV large-format flatbed inkjet printers and a new machine for printing onto leather, with a session on the new products scheduled for tomorrow (21 April).

The event has also resulted in a crossover of virtual expos, with Muller Martini updating its presence at the Printing Expo virtual show with five new machines added to its ‘showroom’, timed to co-ordinate with Virtual.Drupa, where it is also an exhibitor. 

For more information or to register for upcoming sessions, visit 



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