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Xerox, Exstream, Think121, DSC show
For those who take an interest in variable-data printing, the Xplor show (held in Los Angeles early in November) provided a good opportunity to see some interesting approaches. In some cases, software packages that haven't been shown at graphic-arts- oriented shows were on view at Xplor.
On the printing-engine side, on the other hand, there was very little news. Most of the new products were office printers in categories that have limited application in the graphic arts: monochrome printers under 100 ppm and color printers under 15 ppm. We wonder if some of the vendors may be holding announcements back in order to make a bigger splash at Drupa in six months.
Attendance on the show floor seemed quieter than last year, when the show took place in Nashville, though the number of attenders was slightly higher (about 13,000, vs. about 12,500 in 1998). Xplor management told us a number of the large vendors had "severe restrictions on staff travel for educational purposes," which probably resulted in 700-1,000 fewer attenders than might have been expected. There was 20 percent growth in the number of exhibitors, but 7 percent growth in exhibit space (many of the new exhibitors were software firms in small booths).
Xplor always gets good attendance from overseas, but this year we were especially struck by the proportion of foreign visitors- especially Europeans-which seemed even higher than at prior shows. Post-show statistics from Xplor reflect this. International attendance was up 40 percent from last year.
New world of bills and invoices
Year by year, Xplor continues to shift its emphasis away from its roots in centralized mainframe printing. Traditionally, bills and invoices have accounted for much of the printing done by Xplor attenders, and that type of printing is changing fast. Some bills and statements-especially business-to-business transactions-are being …