Exit Stage Left Fuji Xerox…Enter FUJIFILM Business Innovation!
Reborn, renewed, and refined
The general decline of the printing industry has been happening for so long that it can now be expressed in years rather than months. Particularly since COVID hit (basically for the past year and a half), the graphic arts industry and print media experts have been expressing doom and gloom for the printing industry.
Winners and Losers?
Before the global pandemic became top of mind, the focus was the positioning between Xerox and Fuji Xerox, a once formidable constellation and economic power in the market. The many mergers and acquisitions that were occurring in the industry and the impending drama playing out between Xerox, Hewlett-Packard, and Fujifilm all fed into the narrative that the contraction of vendors would be detrimental to the overall print industry.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the pandemic completely shifted the focus away from mergers, tradeshows, and capital purchases. Rumors of “doom and gloom” transformed into feelings of panic throughout the industry. drupa was delayed, sending vendors into a scramble as they navigated their planned product introductions while also aggressively downsizing their organizations in anticipation of a global economic meltdown. Although it was originally scheduled to occur in April 2021, Fujifilm pushed back its absorption-type split from Fuji Xerox’s domestic sales functions to May of this year. Despite this delay, April witnessed the birth of FUJIFILM Business Innovation Japan Corp.
Last week, FUJIFILM Business Innovation Asia Pacific showcased a live webinar from Singapore entitled “Welcome the REVOLUTION in Print”. The event showcased the firm’s new branding and general identity for its production printers and presses. The new brand name is Revoria, which incorporates “reborn, renewed, and refined” and captures FUJIFILM’s determination to experience a rebirth into a new stage. During the webinar, FUJIFILM showcased its Revoria PC1120 high-end production color printer with CMYK+ as well as the E1 Series monochrome production/office press. As mentioned earlier, many predicted a major market disruption due to the divergence of Xerox and Fuji Xerox. In anticipation, PSPs and the overall industry braced themselves for a negative impact. As we attempt to emerge from the pandemic and economies continue to open up, however, we find that FUJIFILM has not been stagnant in its developments over the past 18 months. Despite predictions to the contrary, the real winners from the split are PSPs as well as the digital production print community.
As noted earlier, FUJIFILM has coined terms like “reborn, renewed, and refined” for its new product branding. Even so, I submit that, as we emerge from all of the print vendor realignments and enter a “new normal,” the industry as a whole is moving toward a rebirth as well as a general renewal for digital printing. As demonstrated by the FUJIFILM team from Asia Pacific, ongoing innovations are driving digital print to new heights. This raises the bar for PSPs, who are, ultimately, the end game winners. The Revoria PC1120 is much more than a new paint job or face plate; it packs new production-level innovations that will bring high-value applications to a whole new level. With support from a device that boasts an innovative air suction feeder and static removal capabilities, PSPs can now realize a whole new level of production with an even greater gamut of substrates from coated stocks to film. If you’d like to view the webinar and obtain more information on all of the new product innovations, sign up to access the recording.
As we move into the future, I say we need to approach it with our heads up and eyes wide open. Based on the recent actions of major hardware and software vendors within our industry, digital printing is well-positioned for a rebirth of innovations. Nearly everyone has struggled as the months of the pandemic have dragged into years, but research & development and product managers have remained hard at work in their efforts to monitor consumer behaviors, evaluate changing communication preferences, and develop new innovations that will continue to elevate digitally printed communications. We’ve seen compelling innovations from vendors like Kodak, FUJIFILM, and Landa (just to name a few). As the economy continues to reopen and trade shows are held in person once again, we will likely witness some additional refinements of digital printing capabilities.
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