Time to REACT to the cloud

Beginning of this month, the printing industry witnessed an exciting event in Ghent, Belgium, where industry leaders, printers, suppliers and vendors gathered for the REACT24 event, hosted by our partner Four Pees. The highlight of the event was the launch of Atomyx, a 100 % cloud-based print production management platform that offers full scalability and connectivity throughout the entire production process. At its core, Atomyx is an iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) solution designed to enable users, regardless of technical expertise, to seamlessly integrate various data sources into a unified cloud-based service.

REACT event in Ghent

Atomyx is a platform that consists of three products:

  • Atomyx Manage: This product connects print service providers and their entire technology stack for an efficient and transparent end-to-end print production workflow.
  • Atomyx Prepare: A prepress/PDF processing API that ensures flawless print production and that has a lot to do with callas pdfToolbox...
  • Atomyx Layout: A print layout API that optimizes media usage through automated layout planning for different printing technologies.

The REACT24 event wasn't just about Atomyx product presentations and live demonstrations; it also featured three insightful keynotes from industry experts Bernd Zipper (Zipcon Consulting), Pat McGrew (McGrewGroup Inc), and David Zwang (Zwang & Company). These keynotes underscored the evolving landscape of automation and highlighted key trends set to shape the future of the print industry.

All presentations emphasized a central message: The printing industry is undergoing significant change, and it is crucial to be prepared to adapt to the new reality and follow the trends (the keynotes are available for download here).

What are the trends?

Labor productivity

If we look at the prepress and print industry, it's evident that labor productivity is decreasing while costs are increasing: Retirements and demographic shifts are contributing to a shortage of skilled workers, making labor a critical issue. The industry must enhance productivity through automation and efficient workflow management to mitigate these challenges.

Mass Customization

With online sales, print platforms, and today's technological capabilities, print runs are going down (sometimes to a quantity of one), transforming the printing industry from mass production to mass customization. This means that products are increasingly tailored to the preferences of individuals, making printed products more unique and valuable. Printers must adapt their processes to accommodate this shift toward customization, which requires flexible production capabilities and agile workflows.

Technological innovation

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be an increasingly important part of the revolution in print production workflows. AI-powered solutions can automate repetitive tasks, predict production outcomes, and optimize processes for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness. But AI can also transform the design-to-print process. AI-based algorithms can automate tasks such as bleed generation or image upscaling, making prepress workflows more efficient.

Cloud Adoption

Cloud computing has become an essential part of modern business, making it scalable, flexible and accessible. In the printing industry, cloud-based solutions enable seamless collaboration and remote access to data and applications. By leveraging the cloud, print businesses can streamline their operations, reduce infrastructure costs, and adapt more quickly to market changes.

Connected Automation

Print manufacturing is a complex process that involves different product types, multiple contractors, and often spans across different locations. The goal of “Connected automation” is to automate the entire workflow (from order to delivery), integrating cloud and on-premise systems for seamless data exchange, and bridging the gap between man and machine to ensure all mechanical processes are efficient.

pdfToolbox cloud-based solutions

These trends highlight the need to to be "cloud aware" to remain competitive in this era of change. To meet this need, callas software in 2021 introduced a cloud-based API solution for pdfToolbox. It offers a new way, an API, to use pdfToolbox in addition to the traditional ways like pdfToolbox SDK or the CLI version. "pdfToolbox in the cloud" is hosted on AWS and can easily be used via REST API without installing any local software. To understand the API an HTML based demo client can be used. pdfToolbox in the cloud is only available to OEM customers integrating pdfToolbox technology into their own (cloud-based) products and solutions. That is because callas software only does direct sales to its OEM partners.

But very similar solutions are available in third-party solutions from our partners. These solutions use pdfToolbox technology inside and offer similar functionality.

Atomyx Prepare is a new kid on this block with a powerful background and far reaching aims. It can be called from any external platform to enable flawless print production through dynamic printability checks, color conversions and file preparation. For additional details, please refer to its website: https://www.atomyx.io/en.

An alternative is Radix Preflight from Calibrate. Radix Preflight also provides PDF processing via a REST/RPC API. This service can run in any cloud environment. It uses a master profile to perform automated checks and fixups. That means that all functionalities are accessible via an easy API call using query parameter. In addition, a JSON based jobticket with the product intents can be sent as payload. In this case the master profile dynamically generates all required fixes and checks to convert the production file to match the required intents (within certain tolerances). For additional details, please refer to their website: https://calibrate.at.

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