New Year predictions - Agfa Graphics' Ralph Hilsdon

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ralph Hilsdon, head of product marketing, Agfa graphics

What do you think will be the greatest opportunity for, and threat to, the print industry next year?

There's an opportunity for us in extending services beyond file-input; taking control of data to move to real partnerships with clients. The threat of 2012 lies in world politicians failing to take control of the economy, leading to prolonged lack of confidence and a subsequent reluctance to invest for the future.

What do you believe is the most under-recognised aspect in printing that is likely to gain more prominence in  2012?
Expertise and support is undervalued, and mostly taken for granted. In these tough economic times, those who take full advantage of what is on offer from suppliers can benefit by working more efficiently, and therefore more profitably.

What do you hope to get out of Drupa 2012?
Ongoing developments will hopefully show the industry and pundits that digital development within print will be complementary to traditional printing for most applications, and will not replace them.

What new technology do you expect to see at Drupa 2012 in your sector?
Nothing revolutionary this time around, but improvements in many areas – such as ecology, data management, plate performance and ease of use.

What new technology do you expect to see at Drupa 2012 in other sectors?
Many more digital devices with broadening applications, but we can also expect activity from offset press suppliers looking at flexo applications.

What do you think the main trends will be at Drupa 2012 in your sector?
In workflow, a shift to more integration both at the input stage, through MIS and web interface and on output, to support a wider range of output devices, digital presses, CtP or handheld devices. Environmental issues will continue to be important – not just in pre-press, but across the industry.

What trends do you think will emerge at Drupa 2012 in any other sectors?  
[Products will be] bigger, faster, better. That's if it follows past Drupas.

What can the industry do to increase its profile next year?
We are part of a huge industry, 'communication'. We need to be more positive, and not so defensive, about print.

What will you do differently next year?
The usual promises – drink, eat and swear less. At least until January 2nd!  

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