EFI Connect Event Showcases Fiery Solution for the Office
Electronics for Imaging brings outsourced work back into the office
While at the EFI Connect conference in Las Vegas last week, I attended an eye-opening analyst session on Fiery in the Office. Commercial printers and in-plants now use EFI Fiery servers with their production printers all the time. But why on Earth would someone in an office environment want to add the expense of a Fiery server to a departmental or light production printer?
The answer is that while most office applications don’t require the quality levels of production printing, some do. That type of work is currently sent outside to commercial printers. But departmental and light production printers now have professional color and in-line finishing capabilities. So, these devices could produce those applications for less money in-house if they could be programmed appropriately and run without trained print operators.
Imagine you’re a company that has enough internal office applications to justify a light production printer. In addition, you order a few hundred high-quality, eight-page brochures per month from a local printer. You could add an in-line finisher and a Fiery controller to print outsourced work right on your local printer for less money and without minimum quantities or long turnaround times. Companies that send out work because they need branded colors applied to Microsoft Word files could save time and money by printing them in-house. This scenario might fit well with agencies, brand owners, professional services firms, real estate, legal, and other busy offices.
That’s what EFI hopes, at least and there is even an interactive, PDF-based ROI calculator to help determine whether a company’s outsource print volume is sufficient to justify investing in a Fiery server for a departmental or light-production printer.
EFI’s Objectives to Promote Fiery’s Features
To make this happen, you’d need to deliver the best quality without user expertise because offices don’t have print staff. EFI Fiery in the Office addresses that with:
- Fiery Edge: The new EFI Fiery servers have built-in Fiery Edge color technology to deliver the best out-of-the-box quality tuned to the print engine without any customer intervention. This technology can dramatically improve specific images—especially shadows and skin tones.
- File Handling: The Fiery server provides internal, automatic processing for image smoothing, transparency removal, and overprinting so that even complex InDesign files with all sorts of cool features can print correctly. We’ve all had files that don’t come off the printer looking like what’s on the screen. Commercial print operators fix that—it’s just automated, here.
- Fiery Essential Driver: This new, clean, and simplified print driver contains presets for only the most relevant settings. This driver is not yet available but is anticipated in late Q1/Q2 2022.
Another necessity is ensuring productivity. Most office printers aren’t designed to handle files as complex as those sent to commercial printers. Fiery servers are designed to handle large, complex, or large numbers of files without choking the printer. Yeah, we’ve been here before, too—especially with the highly complex documents graphic designers in the marketing department can create.
And the third objective is to support the professional quality and features provided by commercial printers without requiring the skill set.
- Branded Colors: Design guides often specify Pantone colors, but office applications like Microsoft Word only use RGB. Fiery TrueBrand is a new Fiery app with a web interface that lets light production printers convert RGB colors in documents into branded spot colors. Once it is set, that printer will always automatically identify and convert those colors to the appropriate brand color. Fiery TrueBrand will be available for specific servers running the new Fiery FS500 software.
- Booklet Printing: Having an in-line booklet maker is fine, but getting it to work right can be challenging. EFI has a free Windows application (Fiery VUE), where office workers can create, preview, and rearrange booklet documents. They can flip through the pages, move pages around, set finishing features like stapling, and insert pages by dragging and dropping in Microsoft Office documents or PDF files.
- Personalization: Fiery FreeForm Create is a powerful tool to convert PDF files, image directories, and spreadsheets into personalized materials. It is ridiculously easy to use and free. The catch is that it only prints to Fiery-enabled printers.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
Face it: This is a niche in the office environment. Most people won’t justify the expense of adding a Fiery controller or booklet maker to print their PowerPoint presentations and Word memos. Still, there is a genuine opportunity for marketing departments and others who currently order print materials from commercial printers to save some coin by bringing some of that work in-house with minimal investment. And that doesn’t even touch on the soft benefits of minimum orders, lead times, rush charges, reworks, reduced trips to the local print services provider, and so forth.
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