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Fri, Mar

Walter Hale takes a look at how nontechnology is likely to impact the world at large, and the word of print in particular.

As we experience huge leaps forward in augmented and virtual reality technology, Walter Hale scopes out the possible impact on the digital print market.

How automated do you want you workflow? Walter Hale takes a look at robotic technology trends and where it may lead you.

Robot is a curious word. First used by Czech playwright Karel Capek in his 1920 science fiction drama R.U.R, it was actually suggested by his brother Josef, a painter and writer. Karel had wanted to call his factory made artificial creations labori (from the Latin word labor) but he didn’t like the word. Josef suggested robot – robota was a Czech word that meant slave labour, drudgery or hard work. Karel liked the sound of that and it stuck, with him and us. R.U.R. stood for Rossum’s Universal Robots but in the near century since, robotics have been far from universal. In 1959, computer-assisted manufacturing was demonstrated for the first time by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Walter Hale explores the integration of music, video and other electronics into print.

Four years ago, a one-year-old child became an internet sensation by pressing a magazine as if it were an iPad and looking nonplussed when her prods and swipes had no effect. In an age of iPads, iPhones, iWatches and iEverythingelse it is easy to understand why the print medium is regarded as horribly one-dimensional and why it has become fashionable to declare that this form of physical content is dead.

Walter Hale explains why you need to be keeping your eye on the Internet of Things.

Clothes that adjust to the temperature, vacuum cleaners operated by text messages and cars that drive themselves … these are some of the much-hyped innovations that could be spawned by the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT). Yet uber-management consultants McKinsey suggest that the media have misunderstood this revolution. Innovations aimed at the consumer generate plenty of headlines, but they argue that the IoT could have a more profound impact in the B2B world, where it will rewrite the rules of competition, create new business models, and transform the way companies use technology. To take one example relevant to wide-format printing, every printer could be fitted with sensors that predict when maintenance will be required and analyse workflows to improve efficiency. We’re starting to see the beginnings of it, but before we look too far ahead, let’s take a step back.

Have the cyber criminals got to you yet? Perhaps not, but that’s no reason to ignore what’s a mounting issue as business writer Walter Hale explains.

Every minute 173 new kinds of viruses are invented. And every three seconds a website somewhere in the world is compromised. The statistics are scary but they also make a useful point. When cyber security hits the headlines it is usually because a government department or a corporate titan like Sony has been compromised. To the managing director of a typical wide-format printer, the risk of their company being targeted by North Korea’s savviest cyber criminals might seem infinitesimal, but the Sony-style attacks are only the well-publicised tip of a very large iceberg.

Business writer Walter Hale takes a view on its relevance to wide-format PSP diversification.

Don’t believe the hype. We’ve all come across that cliché. It certainly applies to 3D printing - although not in the usual way.

The hype doesn’t come close to conveying the potentially disruptive power of 3D printing. Here is a technology that can make replacement body parts, cars, spare parts for the International Space Station and, in China, 10 new houses in 24 hours.

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