Observations from IPEX 2014
Shay Yulzary, one of 42 Technology’s printing technology experts, visited IPEX 2014 this week and came away with a number of interesting observations from the various industry leader talks.
IPEX is one of the major events for the printing industry and is being held this week in London.
Behind the usual colourfulness one can expect from a printing exhibition, a real concern emerges:
– Is the printing industry declining and will digital forms of communication replace printed material altogether?
Industry leaders believe this is not true. Indeed, the publishing sector, including books, newspapers and magazines, is shrinking dramatically, whilst other sectors are actually growing. Signs, billboards and posters are in high demand and Point of Sale printed advertisements are still found to be the most useful means of affecting customers’ buying decisions. Even direct mailing, personalized to customers’ needs, is accepted as a very effective marketing method and the demand for it is growing.
It is also envisaged that combining printed materials with digital communication can offer an even better, more compelling offering. For example, a direct promotional mail that includes a 2D barcode which can be scanned by the customer using his mobile device to offer personalized discount or coupon.
Other areas of potential growth are in more exotic technologies within the printing industry. For example enhancing user experience by adding touch activated fragrance zones to a printed material. Or an interactive print, that makes a sound or flashes on touch. Printed electronics technology can open exciting opportunities for smart printed materials by printing electronic devices, flexible batteries and even LEDs on virtually any substrate.
So is the printing industry in decline?
No – but new technologies and combining traditional physical print with digital media presents new opportunities and challenges for the industry.