The joint On Demand and Info 360 AIIM Conference was expected to have drawn about 24,000 attendees to Philadelphia this past week despite the myriad of flight cancellations out of Europe due to Eyjafjallajokull's eruption.

    The On Demand highlights were mostly on the trade floor as Konica Minolta announced their new C8000 and Xerox heralded their 800 and 1000 machines. Seminars were of secondary interest as they touted variable data case studies as they have for more than a decade. The print service providers' frustrations continue in that the prospect corporate marketing departments don't really seem to know how to organize and leverage their proprietary information content.

    Ironically this is where Info 360 and AIIM seem to break through the glass ceiling (or cloud) of this morose corporate information content and begin to suggest an infrastructure that possibly provides insightful handles on this information to create additional value added services and products to their clients. Needless to say this Enterprise Content Management umbrella is presented overwhelmingly in an electronic digital fashion supported by IT expertise and networks of new software platforms and specialty applications. I kept asking myself, "How can ink/toner on paper help these corporations better realize their new value add revenue potential.

    Rather than a series of highlights to summarize this info 360: AIIM Conference I thought I would offer a series of shorter concentrated reflections on insightful keynoters' presentations. And conclude with my
    prognostication(s) on where print opportunities or messages might fit.
    Let us know what you think of this approach.

    Michael Rogers - MSNBC's Practical Futurist and Technology Expert

    There has been a fundamental shift in technology as part of the virtualization of America. Four areas that Mr. Rogers suggests keeping an eye on.

    1. Devices

    Last year laptops outsold desktop computers. In the 1980s the enterprise drove technology. Now consumers drive technology innovations. There will be a plethora of iPad like devices with introductions beginning this fall. The smart phone will have a simple docking device to rest in so that a virtual keyboard can be projected on to your work surface. The other side of the smart phone will have a small projector that will show the details of the page on to the wall a few inches behind the smart phone, a virtual computer monitor. Costs of broadband will continue to collapse.

    Printers Impact: Clients will continue to want 24/7 access to fulfillment inventories and to review virtual proofs of jobs from their hotel rooms. Print salesmen will have more powerful tools to access estimates/quotes while on the road.

    2. True Standards & Interconnectivity

    Many industries have resisted standards. Dominant manufacturers have attempted to force their solutions into being the ad hoc standard. Mr. Rogers predicts that cloud computing and the continued growth of sophisticated service bureau outsourcing will be strong elements in driving true standards and interconnectivity that has been so desperately needed.

    Printers Impact: Printers overwhelmingly are small relative to the plethora of hardware and software applications with which they must be compatible. Hence, universal interconnectivity will level of the playing field allowing printers of all sizes to compete on service, quality, and innovation.

    3. Internet of Things

    Every entity will have sensors with WIIFI access to instructions and information feedback. For example, energy will be generated from motion within the ambient environment. The illustration was given of the difficulty that garbage trucks create as they maneuver the narrow roads of Italy creating traffic jams. Now there are intelligent dumpsters that report back, "No need to stop. I'm only a third full." Sensors to detect content, such as wallboard remnants, may be used by the police to detect unauthorized constructions projects. Another example is that all cars will be connected to the Internet. This will allow insurance to be sold by the mile. Plus each driver's driving style will allow the insurance company to rate their risk as well as parents monitoring their teenage drivers.

    Printers Impact: Potential equipment failures can be much more predictably anticipated with repairs scheduled before last minute big jobs miss vital deadlines.

    4. Next Generation of Workers - the Millennials (10-30 years old)

    There will be an altogether different relationship with their work.
    Already they acknowledge meaningful virtual relationships. Work will become increasingly virtual. The past year Mr. Rogers reported, "Seventy-eight billion dollars in productivity was lost sitting in traffic." Telepresence is in the future.

    Printers impact: While the Millennials will be driving this type work relationship. There certainly presents an opportunity for seniors to ease into retirement by being available via the Internet for their expertise and advise to their younger former trainees whether it be managers or journeyman equipment operators or software gurus.

    C. Clint Bolte of C. Clint Bolte & Associates, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania can be reached at 717-263-5768 or e-mail