The 20th EFI user conference Connect has drawn to a close in Las Vegas, the first major EFI event for its new chief executive Bill Muir, who delivered the keynote address.
Muir, 100 days into the role, outlined his vision for EFI at Connect, highlighting culture and customers. He said, “If we get the employee experience right, with the dignity of each employee valued and respected, and every point of the customer’s interaction with the company being incredible, the capital structure of the business will take care of it itself.”
Modelling the experience closer to a trade show this year, EFI brought five different printers to the floor: the Pro 24f and 32r; the Vutek 3r+ and H5; and the FabriVu 340i.
Joe Popolo, chief executive of The Freeman Company, accompanied Muir for the Fireside Chat segment as they discussed print in a non formal question and answer format. The US-based Freeman Company handles high-profile events, including running the most recent Republican National Convention. The company has grown from $600m in revenue to $3bn under Popolo’s leadership, a remarkable figure for a privately-run, family-owned company, especially considering it lost 30 per cent of its revenue in 2009.
The company uses EFI Vutek printers for its soft signage, producing 3.3 million square feet of graphics in the last year, across its 17 printers.
Popolo discussed the future of trade shows. He said, “People want to go to live events. It is the only way to experience something with all five senses. To be successful they have to be immersive. There has been a resurgence in bringing machinery to shows. How often can you get that many qualified buyers in one room? It is expensive but there is a good return on investment for doing so.”
The State of the Products session this year introduced the Bolt platform, a single pass, 90mpm textile printer, first unveiled at the end of 2018. Mark Olin, chief financial officer at EFI, described it as: “Nozomi for textiles, also integrating analogue printing units inline, with a product quality that no-one else can match.”
EFI also forecast a new cloud service called IQ, which will feature real-time press data across performance, calibration and predictive maintenance.
On the software front, EFI wants to incorporate Digital Storefront, its W2P solution, with Market Direct, used for planning and executing cross media advertising campaigns.
Market Direct Storefront brings together EFI’s ecommerce, order procurement, marketing communications, and inventory management solutions. Customers can specify, order, and transact any product across conventional printing, packaging, folding carton applications, wide-format, direct mail, and fulfilment.
Gaby Matsliach, senior vice president and general manager of productivity software at EFI,says, “It will allow print service providers to quickly deploy online portals, with an all-in-one solution across multiple segments. For attracting big, national customers, it opens up a lot of value, particularly with streamlining inventory management, the 3D design tools.
The company demonbstarted its latest iteration of Fiery was, FS350 Pro, featuring a Fast Rip architecture that allows for GPU-accelerated processing, which EFI says will double its performance.

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