Why we don’t see digitalisation as a looming spectre
Digitalisation has led to an out-and-out revolution in traditional printing. However, we do not look on these transformations as a breakdown, but rather, as a welcome development. For our customer magazine Printspiration, we interviewed Prof. Dr. Kurt Matzler, one of the leading experts in the field of digital change:
In layman’s terms, what does digitalisation mean and which factors have led to "digital disruption"?
Digitalisation refers to the use of digital technology such as algorithms, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics, Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, mobile computing, etc., to render products, services, processes or entire business models "intelligent", to improve their efficiency and effectiveness, or to provide added value through digital services. Primarily, the factors that are leading to completely new business models are the exponential speed at which these technologies are developing, miniaturisation, the widespread use of smartphones and data explosion.
What are the next significant steps in the development of digitalisation? Who will the big winners and losers of this process?
The next big thing, quite literally, is the Internet of Things, which is closely linked to Big Data Analytics and artificial intelligence. Even by 2020, 50 billion things will be interconnected worldwide. I foresee good opportunities for Europe in the Internet of Things: America has the Internet - we have things. There are no manufacturing companies in Silicon Valley: Excellence in production is located in Europe! This is an opportunity we can exploit.
Where do potential "digitisable niches” spring up, in a printing studio for example?
I think that most digitalisation trends can also be applied to the printing sector.
1. Customer interfaces are increasingly of a digital nature, and customers expect a seamless customer experience. Customisation, convenience and speed are key factors.
2. Company marketing and communication are transitioning to the digital world. Print products will continue to play a role, but will increasingly be outsourced, most likely to platforms rather than single suppliers.
3. As a printing company, differentiation will be possible through mass customisation, or "on-demand” service, with short, custom runs. The transformation from print provider to media service provider represents an opportunity.
4. Networking from prepress through to logistics, direct data transfer from the client, full integration of entire process chains - digitalisation plays a role everywhere.
As a printing company, we can confirm that producing printed products alone is no longer adequate. Our industry is one of constant change and the ability to transition to new circumstances. However, technology and digitalisation alone do not create progress; they need human beings and our creative solutions.
In this regard, a team that is enthusiastic about innovation and has years of experience are of the essence. We will be discussing this in our customer magazine Printspiration, which you can order via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and which also features the full interview with Prof. Dr. Kurt Matzler.
A printed magazine about digitalisation? Is that not a contradiction in terms? We don’t think so – quite the reverse, in fact, and we’d like to invite you to try an experiment: Take a look at the first and last pages of Printspiration with your smartphone!