Also: EFI readies an LED model of its HS100 printer, and continues to look at growth opportunities in industrial printing.
EFI’s Connect 2014 users’ conference, held this past January at the Wynn Las Vegas, drew an event-record attendance of approximately 1500 customers, channel partners, and other industry professionals, a reported increase of 33 percent from the previous year. The conference featured more than 150 educational sessions, including a new business-development track aimed at C-level executives to complement extensive feature-specific training on EFI products.
The biggest news at Connect came during CEO Guy Gecht’s opening remarks, when he brought out Benny Landa as a surprise guest to announce a partnership between EFI and Landa Corporation. Through this agreement, EFI will be Landa’s exclusive provider of digital front-end technology with a new product based on EFI’s Fiery platform. At Connect, Landa said that his company has taken more than $1 billion of orders for its Nanographic printers. Previously, he has stated that the S10FC machine for folding-carton applications will be the company’s first system to market, with beta shipments scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2014.
The keynote session featured Gil Schwed, CEO of CheckPoint and developer of the network firewall in the early 1990s. Schwed said that from the research he’s done, the IT systems typically employed in the printing industry use outdated architecture that is among the easiest to hack. One danger he outlined would involve a competitive attack designed to shut a company’s website down by overloading it with traffic; a more likely scenario would be a company’s servers being used in such an attack against a governmental or larger corporate entity. His research suggests that 50 percent of personal computers in Western Europe are infected and susceptible to being hijacked, while 75 percent of large corporations have .bots on their servers.
Also at Connect, EFI launched Digital StoreFront Version 7, which incorporates HTML5 to optimize the software across desktop, tablet and mobile devices. The latest release also automates some workflow functions that required separate steps in previous versions and incorporates an improved user interface with direct HTML and CSS editing. Connect also featured live demonstrations of the GS3250Xr Pro, EFI’s first roll-to-roll UV LED machine, and the GS Pro-TF thermoforming technology, both announced in late 2013.
Additional EFI developments gleaned during the media briefing at Connect:
• As part of its effort to extend LED technology throughout the Vutek line, EFI is readying an LED model of its HS100 printer, with an estimated launch date to be determined. Ken Hanulec, vice-president of marketing for inkjet solutions, said that the company sold more than 100 LED machines in 2013.
• The company will continue to look at growth opportunities in industrial printing, particularly decorative applications. In late 2013, EFI launched a Fiery front end for the Cretaprint C3 ceramic-tile printer, and Gecht said that the first EFI-manufactured ink for the machine will follow in 2014. He also indicated that EFI is working on a new printer platform designed to address several industrial applications and suggested that beta machines could be in the field before the end of the year.
• Also expected in 2014 are two high-resolution inkjet printers that will employ a combination of new printheads, inkset, and upgraded software.