The European GUA Conference from October 29 to 31, 2019 in Berlin, Germany, was a chance for Kodak customers from all over Europe to meet with senior Kodak representatives, technology experts and other industry partners. A densely packed agenda focusing on the latest advancements in workflow technology, automation and data security to meet the demands of the rapidly changing commercial and packaging printing industries awaited the attendees.
The first day was dedicated to the GUA University, where practical training leading to qualification certificates helped those present deepen their knowledge in the use of sophisticated Kodak technologies. The Innovation Technology Lab was open too throughout the GUA, providing opportunities to experience one-on-one technology demonstrations from Kodak and partners like Arden Software (CAD and CAM for packaging), Callas Software (PDF preflight and optimization), Creative Edge Software (3D packaging design and visualization), Perfect Pattern (dynamic print planning) or Tharstern (MIS) and debate specific questions with experts.
Clear commitment to the printing industry
At a celebratory dinner reception to commemorate 20 years of KODAK PRINERGY Workflow software, Jim Continenza, Executive Chairman, Eastman Kodak Company, emphasized that organizational changes in the near future would enable Kodak to focus even more sharply on print and print customers, saying to them, “You will see a film group where we will focus on our motion picture and film business and you will see a print group. We are committed to helping you grow your business with PRINERGY, PROSPER, SONORA, plates, and other services. We will continue to invest in our business to make yours better.”
In an inspiring keynote speech entitled “How to make €1 Million with Your Workflow,” Pat McGrew, Senior Director of consulting firm Keypoint Intelligence, underlined the increased importance of integrated automation in the light of constant transformations in the industry: “Everything you don’t automate is costing you money! Industry 4.0 gets manifested as smart print manufacturing where you get as close to autonomous production from the time the file comes in your door to the time the finished product leaves with as few people touching it as possible – but also with automated feeds into your business accounting system.” McGrew urged the GUA attendees to take the necessary steps: “You too can make a million by right sizing, optimizing and smartening your workflow!”
Focus on KODAK PRINERGY VME with Managed Services
The newly launched KODAK PRINERGY VME with Managed Services was the priority theme at the GUA Conference. This cutting-edge workflow innovation was extensively presented and discussed in multiple sessions by Steve Miller, Director of Product Management, Kodak Software Division. With PRINERGY VME (Virtual Machine Environment), each customer’s virtualized PRINERGY Software is hosted and managed by Kodak, backed by Microsoft’s global Azure cloud computing platform. Through Managed Services, Kodak takes care of system administration, 24-hour security and monitoring, upgrades and troubleshooting. Miller and Steffen Krause of Microsoft also went into considerable detail about the new Kodak solution’s high cyber and data security standards.
Todd Bigger, President, Kodak Software Division, gave an outlook on what to expect next in the evolutionary development of the cloud-based KODAK PRINERGY Workflow Software. In the future, the latter will additionally be available as a multi-tenant engagement solution aimed primarily at SMEs. Yet Bigger also commented, “It’s one thing for us to sell you a product, but the product alone gets you nowhere; it’s the solution and working together that helps both of our organizations thrive and survive.” Reflecting this, Kodak will continue to expand the portfolio of KODAK Professional Services and adapt them to customer requirements; a new, global training platform – the Kodak Print Academy, which Kodak customers can take advantage of to efficiently train and certify their employees – will simultaneously be set up and rolled out in time for drupa 2020.
All in all, participants at the Berlin GUA Conference came away with valuable new insights and inspiration – and the assurance that Kodak is determined to strive for even stronger partnerships with its customers. Stephen Lavey, President of the EAMER GUA Board, summarized the event saying: “This has been a very eye-opening GUA Conference with many of the previously promised changes now being introduced to the workflow environment. KODAK PRINERGY VME with Managed Services and its advantages of security, conformity and autonomy are now available to Kodak customers, providing both a trusted and powerful path forward to printers and prepress providers alike.