IBM Previews New Color Technologies That Power Personalized Communication from Design to Delivery

Infoprint Color Systems Previewed at DRUPA

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DRUPA - 18 May 2000: GERMANY, Hall 5/C37, May 18, 2000 --IBM* today previewed a new version of its Infoprint* Customizer solution, providing a single system to merge graphics and data into personalized brochures, mailings and financial statements. Digital print shops, data processing centers and marketing departments now have access to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution that provides high performance, at a low cost of operation, and a great return on investment.

The Infoprint Customizer solution utilizes the new Infoprint Color Plus printer and controller, Infoprint Manager and a new Advanced Function Presentation* (AFP*) print driver for creating variable content. With the ability to output Adobe PostScript**, PDF and AFP on a single system, this technology combines the benefits of Infoprint Customizer solutions for Statements and Marketing, launched in May 1999. This CRM solution lets users seamlessly create color statements that contain marketing messages and high-quality personalized marketing collateral. Users can also create variable content documents with familiar and popular applications with the same workflow currently used in AFP production systems. The Customizer solution also provides the flexibility to output information as a fax, e-mail, or post on the web for electronic bill presentation.

"The flexible capabilities of Infoprint Customizer will deliver uncommonly powerful benefits to marketing departments, IT departments and digital print providers, making it easy for them to print highly personalized full-color statements and marketing brochures on a single AFP printer with graphic-arts-quality output," said David Dobson, vice president of global marketing and strategy, IBM Printing Systems. "Our customers will reap the benefits of AFP production printing needed to leverage sophisticated marketing techniques for effectively managing customer relationships and gaining a competitive advantage."

Using IBM exclusive technologies, the Infoprint Color Plus printers are designed to outperform other solutions in its class. For the first time, customers can seamlessly print full-color documents created in AFP, PostScript 3 and PDF.

Hardware and software enhancements enable the printing of variable content at speeds that are 30 percent faster than previous offerings and at lower costs. This new full-color printer will output 130 impressions-per-minute (ipm) using a new print engine, as well as new hardware and software technology from IBM.

IBM's latest Advanced Function Common Control Unit* (AFCCU*) is powering the personalized printing of the Infoprint Color Plus. This AFCCU enables object caching and page parallel processing for high-speed RIP and print production. This new controller incorporates the latest IBM RISC* hardware with RIP control software to exploit the capabilities of multiprocessing.To accomplish multiprocessing, RIP work loads are allocated across mutiprocessors and RIPed in parallel. New versions of Infoprint Manager and Print Services Facility* (PSF)* for OS/390* support new resource management functions that allow image objects to be preprocessed and cached in the AFCCU prior to printing.

Infoprint Customizer extends AFP application to support Pageflex software, a rich portfolio of high performance application tools. New software from IBM will also allow documents composed with Pageflex's Mpower** to utilize AFP's object oriented architecture to provide high performance full color variable content printing.

A new IBM exclusive technology developed by IBM Research, Color Plus image format achieves very high levels of compression and image quality through a new tiling compression technique. GIF, TIF and JPEG files converted to Color Plus are optimized for high-speed RIP performance for blazing throughput of 4 bit-per-spot color image printing. Another new feature of Infoprint Color Plus is Screen Plus, a new screening algorithm technology. Screen Plus provides high print quality, fully variable pages at 212-line screen resolution and speeds the screening process.

The full page-level error recovery, new toner, and new fully automated density and registration system of Infoprint Customizer is expected to lower digital print operational costs by up to 15 percent. The error recovery for AFP applications, PostScript and PDF applications minimizes wasted pages by avoiding reprinting jobs. The printer automatically recognizes when to restart the printing process at the page where the error occurred. The density and registration system allows operators to run the Infoprint Color Plus more efficiently with consistent print quality, lower costs of operation and higher production volumes. Using IBM's toner version 3, the life of the developer mix has been extended. Users will obtain a lower cost per page, improved print quality, and improved availability of the printer by having to change toner mix less often.

In addition to the Infoprint Color Plus, IBM previewed the Infoprint Color 130, a postscript system designed for customers who are building their variable content printing business. The Infoprint Color 130 will be an new option for producing high-quality, personalized printing. Printing at speeds up to 130 ipm, the Infoprint Color 130 also incorporates a new collator that enables 4 bits-per-spot postscript printing. The system supports existing document creation tools, such as IBM's version of Barco's VIPDesigner**, to leverage existing customer applications. The Infoprint Color 130 can also be upgraded to the Infoprint Color Plus to meet customer needs as the demand for personalized applications grow.

The elements of the new Infoprint Customizer solution, which will include the Infoprint Color Plus, Infoprint Manager and the AFP driver for Pageflex is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2001. The Infoprint Color 130 postscript only version is expected to be generally available in the third quarter of 2000. Pricing for these new offerings will be announced at the time of availability.