Heidelberg backs new open platform venture
Friday, July 31, 2020
Heidelberg has shared what it hopes will become a “universal platform” for the printing industry.
The new Zaikio platform has come about as a result of the group’s purchase of MIS and cloud-based software developer Crispy Mountain last summer.
At the time Heidelberg said its HEI.OS platform would be open to all manufacturers in the printing industry, with the intention “to give printers easier access to comprehensive services at the lowest possible administrative burden”.
In the latest development, Zaikio has been set up a separate company, with Heidelberg making the first investment in the new venture as founding partner. The business is also looking for other investors.
The Zaikio offering is based around three elements and includes ‘Mission Control’, described as “a print shop’s digital control centre”.
“All data is received here in a standardised form and can be read, edited, and restored by other apps. The result is straightforward, standardised data exchange between software, hardware, and the partners involved, which creates the basis for end-to-end automated process chains,” the firm said.
Zaikio is encouraging print firms to register their interest, and claimed that a number of well-known software providers were “already on board” with more agreements in the pipeline.
“Zaikio interfaces and tools enable potential partners and investors to link their products with the platform and make them available to all users via the Zaikio Hub. Zaikio’s team of developers will provide the necessary support,” it claimed.
Matthias Prinz, Zaikio managing director, said: “Only a shared, open platform that unites as many industry players as possible can bring about the change and standardisation so urgently required.
He said the Zaikio platform combined Heidelberg’s know-how and network with “Zaikio’s agile philosophy”.
“Over the coming months, we’ll gradually be unveiling and establishing our platform,” he added.
Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer commented: “With the open industry platform Zaikio, Heidelberg is actively meeting the challenges faced by the printing sector in the digital era. This marks the next milestone in the industry’s digitisation.”
Update 4 August: some extra details from Heidelberg in response to Printweek's questions
Does it replace HEI.OS?
"Yes, HEI.OS was originally our mainly internal project title. Now, we call it the platform 'Zaikio'."
What does Zaikio mean/where does the name come from?
"Zaikio is an artificial term used as a brand. There is no negative or insulting meaning connected with this term and it works in any language. Also Zaikio was not claimed or registered by any other party before."
What is Heidelberg's stake in the newco?
"Heidelberg acquired Crispy Mountain about one year ago. It was held as a 100% subsidiary. Now we decided to rebrand to Zaikio."
"For the time being Heidelberg is still the only stakeholder. We want to change this as the platform shall be perceived as really open and independently operating. Also we learned in all of our discussions with printers, software suppliers, consumables suppliers and equipment manufacturers that they expect a broad stakeholder base."
Who are the initial partners?
"Currently we are in close contact with a number of potential strategic and financial investors. As said, we want to participate as many industry players as possible."
Where do the revenues come from?
"Zaikio was developed to make revenue and earn money, but also to drive the digitization of the industry forward. We decided to charge suppliers for the value offered by Zaikio: End-to-end connectivity of software systems (MIS, ERP, etc), automatic data exchange, lifting supply chain automation up to a new level as well as less manual input, less mistakes, less administrative work, less cost, faster and more reliable communication on both sides the supplier’s as well as the printer’s. This transaction fee will be charged as percent of ordering volume. It will reflect existing market conditions and annual transaction volume."