Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Technology

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Technology

Article excerpt

Moving from promise to production

With UV CTP and 4-by-1 presses now on stage, cross-media and tablet software wait in wings

The year ahead brings something more important than new products or processes. It provides a first look at how some new technologies fare in sustained live production.

From overall production management to smarter control of packaging, software's importance to operations will increase. And this year may see a new generation of European publishing systems marketed to American newspapers by a growing roster of mostly new suppliers. New York-based consultant Bill Rosenblatt has "high expectations" for Italy's EidosMedia because its former Unisys employees "really know the U.S. market." The others, he says, will have to fill U.S. offices with staffers who understand this market. Rosenblatt, president of GiantSteps/Media Technology Strategies, sees "at least another two years" before any makes much of a mark in North America.

Unlike established competitors with big, complex systems and customer bases that may welcome upgrades but resent radical revisions, smaller startups have the advantage of designing systems and writing software from scratch for (prospective) users they cannot alienate and need not support.

As former big names in the U.S. systems market merged into other (often foreign-owned) firms, Digital Technology International (DTI) reinvented itself, aiming for high-end and overseas markets with a retooled system that went furthest in integrating new Adobe technologies. But as the number of former U.S. vendors' sites dwindles, pressure comes from imports, notably Great Dane CCI Europe on the news side and Sweden's Mactive, which appears to be top dog on the ad side.

Were it not for Y2K, says Rosenblatt, more papers would still be using Atex and System Integrators Inc. products. But needing to upgrade, U.S. newspapers (generally 18 to 24 months behind Europe in embracing new technology, according to Rosenblatt) were happy to have what the likes of CCI and Unisys were offering.

Among evolving media, a hybrid of paper and pixels that resembles ink on paper is an edition prepared for viewing on recently launched Tablet PCs. Unlike earlier electronic versions of print editions, which may be read online or as printouts, editions for the new portables are to be read offline but on-screen -- readers pick up the tablets, not printouts. NewsStand Inc. and Olive Software Inc., which pioneered the former model, are prepared to exploit the latter. …

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