Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” as the old marketing slogan goes, but not if you are attending the four day EFI Connect conference held there last week. My North American sales colleague, Kristof Dekeukelaere, was part of the Landa team supporting Benny Landa when he took part in the opening “fireside chat” with EFI CEO Guy Gecht, and has been busy reporting back to us. That is, of course, what has been going on in the conference during the day. What my young, single and good looking colleague has been up to at night has definitely “stayed in Vegas”!
Benny Landa is a big draw anywhere and according to Kristof, the conference hall was packed on the opening day for the conversation with Guy. There must have been around 1300 people listening to the exchange and they weren’t disappointed. Benny revealed some “golden nuggets” of his own to Guy, including the fact that the Landa presses will have 1200 dpi resolution and the first beta sites will be installed in North America and Europe at the end of this year. He also said that the B1 sheetfed presses for commercial printing and folding cartons will be the first to ship, that Landa had 430 customer letters of intent, that the company was raising funds to increase the production capacity and that he envisaged Landa NanoInk® being used in printing technologies right across the spectrum from wide-format to office desk top.
Benny was very upbeat about the future of the packaging and commercial printing sectors but more concerned about the publishing market as digital publishing took hold. After the “fireside chat”, Kristof spoke to several of the printers who regularly attend the EFI Connect event. They told him that they thought it was one of the best they had ever witnessed at Connect.
I have been at Connect in the past. It was interesting that Kristof has formed the same view as me of the networking and educational value of Connect, with seminar programmes for delegates following their particular product interests. The relaxed and informal surrounding of the Wynn Hotel, one of the best on the Strip, creates the right sort of environment for EFI users, EFI staff and EFI guests such as the Landa team to interact with each other. EFI organise the break-out seminar groups so that users can learn more about EFI products in a working environment. Then in the larger sessions they can see how other printers are using the tools and integrating them into other applications.
The Landa sales team is currently using every opportunity to meet up with both customers who signed up with us at drupa and other potential Nanography® users. Kristof was doing exactly that at Connect with the help of EFI’s Udi Arieli, their Senior Director of Product Management for Digital Workflow, who seemed to know just about everyone at Connect and made all the introductions required. Bill Whyte, the COO of J.S. McCarthy, was another guy who made an impact on Kristof during a panel discussion, with his assertion that the future of print lay in the convergence of litho and digital in large format and high speed. It was as though he had been listening to Benny!
With the North American market being so big, a couple of customers were interested to hear from Kristof about the size of Landa’s sales team. The answer he gave was, ”the same as in Europe – quite large!” 6’5” in the case of Kristof and 6’2” in the case of me (the writer). Clearly Benny is not the only one who can do comedy!
The final anecdote from Kristof concerned the “fireside chat” and is yet another very good reason to watch the video when it appears on the Landa website. Apparently when it came to answering questions from Guy about his personal life, Benny suggested that he did not have much time for music and books – his wife chose them for him. But when asked about the last movie he saw, Benny replied from the stage with an answer that will definitely have to “stay in Vegas”!!