Guy Gecht: “Embrace print beyond paper”

At 2pm on 23 January, EFI CEO Guy Gecht took to stage in the ballroom at Las Vegas’ The Wynn Hotel to kick off the 19th EFI Connect users’ conference. “The fourth industrial revolution is upon us. New areas of print are larger than ever before and print is far from over,” he reckoned.

02 Feb 2018 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

Demonstrating the rate of technology adoption, Gecht said, “Telephone took 75 years to reach 50 million users whereas, radio took 38 years and television took 13 years whereas Angry Birds acquired a user base of 50 million users in just 35 days.”

“With the third industrial revolution, the number of people going out of poverty is mindboggling. There were almost two-billion people below extreme poverty in 1990, that was around 31% of the world population and in 2015 there were 705-million people under extreme poverty, that’s about 10% of the world population. I think there’s a chance that this will continue even with the fourth industrial revolution.”

How does this affect print? “If we look at the US print industry figures, the value of print industry declined from 2001 to 2015 and also, the number of print establishments dropped. However, the survivors, the people who took advantage of the ‘window of opportunity’ saw a 2% CAGR increase in revenue all the way to 26% from 2001 to 2015 per establishment.”

Gecht highlighted the fast progress in artificial intelligence due to Big Data, the computing power of the cloud, fast processing of devices. He used virtual reality technology to give attendees a virtual tour of its Nozomi installation. “There an immense potential for VR in machine demonstrations as well as service maintenance of print equipment,” he said.

The Industry 4.0 will bring a huge rise in personalisation with very frequent design changes. “Marketing will never be the same,” said Gecht. “So, the markets where the image is primary, such as apparel, home decor, building, packaging etc, will be the first to benefit from Industry 4.0’s mass personalisation capability. To harness the potential, inkjet and smart automation are enabling platforms,” he added.

In his concluding remarks, Gecht borrowed gyaan from print guru Frank Romano when he revealed three success mantras: Embrace digital print and print beyond paper, define your markets and excel at them, and cut cost without cutting quality.

Gecht also hosted two fireside chats with Nozomi early-adopters, Eric Bacourt of Spanish company Rafeal Hinojosa, and Mal McGowan, owner of Irish printer McGowans.