May 30, 2005
Centralized or Decentralized Printing Option Addresses an Entire AEC Workflow
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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About this Issue….

Welcome to AECWeekly! This week I spoke with Bob Honn, Product Manager, and Penny Holland, Director Business Development, Wide Format Printing Systems Division of Océ North America, Inc. about Océ 's role in the AEC industry and what problems customers are asking them to solve. Read what they have to say in this week's Industry News.

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AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, Awards, Wins, Education, New Products and Upcoming Events.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Centralized or Decentralized Printing Option Addresses an Entire AEC Workflow

By Susan Smith

In 1994, I visited Venlo, The Netherlands, Océ's headquarters, for the introduction of their Océ Image Logic® technology, a technology that automatically gives users perfect quality copies and printed originals every time. This image-processing technology was revolutionary and is to this day, a very efficient system for scanning and converting hard-copy information into digital form, “making copying and printing easier, faster and more reliable than ever before.

In 1994, Océ was expanding its presence worldwide and had opened offices all over the world. My visit was part of a building awareness tour.

Océ has made a heavy investment in R&D, keeping their products current with changing market needs. The company produces about 75% of the products it markets.

In May, Océ
unveiled Version 2.0 of its Repro Desk® print submission and workflow automation software at the IRgA Annual Convention and Trade Show being held in Las Vegas. Océ highlighted three elements of Océ Repro Desk 2.0: Océ Client Tools - automates the batch conversion of multiple file types within AutoCAD to save time and maximize print fidelity for architect, engineering and construction (AEC) clients; Océ Plan Center and Océ Drop Box - leverages the security and reliability of the Internet to speed the communication and delivery of print jobs
from clients to reprographers; and Océ Repro Desk Professional - centralizes print job management for improved workflow, job tracking, and job archiving.

This week I spoke with Bob Honn, Product Manager, and Penny Holland, Director Business Development, Wide Format Printing Systems division of Océ North America, Inc. about Océ's role in the AEC industry and what problems customers are asking them to solve.

PH: Fundamentally, users are looking to increase productivity, improve system reliability, and shorten cycle time, in sum, they need to do more with less.

Main requirements of AEC firms include:
  • Improve quality of output so they can present information in clear way
  • Improve collaboration and communication with outside parties. You see more global opportunities and national and global projects - a function of the digital workflow in general.
  • Convert digital files from hardcopy and go from an analog to a digital process
  • Integrate new hardware and software with legacy systems and existing pieces of equipment.
  • Reduce printing costs - more and more that is seen as an individual cost within a project and is being scrutinized more. Also costs are being pushed down more to subs within a project, so it becomes more focused and more important to more people.
  • With the advent of the internet, have you seen any reduction in the amount of printing of documents?

    BH: Printing hasn't diminished but has possibly increased. However, it is now distributed over many different users. In the past when it used to be centralized, you would have a general contractor order a large volume of prints from a reprographer and be responsible for distributing those to their subcontractors. What you now see instead are those digital files being distributed to various members of the project, and those different project members doing the printing. Rather than getting an entire bid set, a subcontractor usually only needs a certain percentage of those drawings. So now you're getting a subcontractor for a certain discipline, say an electrician, only ordering prints of
    the documents required for the part of the project he's responsible for.

    What solutions are you recommending for your AEC customers?

    BH: There is the Océ TDS printer portfolio, in which all the multifunction printers are based around a central controller platform, the Océ Power Logic® controller. Then we are able to address different volume needs based on the individual product chosen. So while the user interface and controller processing benefits are consistent across the product line, the various printers address different volume needs. Ultimately you've got a series of very integrated products being able to print, copy, and scan. Océ also offers software tools to enable users to submit and manage their jobs, track them and account for them. Then it's just a matter of choosing the piece of
    hardware that fits a user's volume requirement - be it a workgroup, a more centralized location or decentralized environment.

    PH: On the software side it's very similar -- for low volume users who are printing very infrequently, we have software drivers that allow them to print directly from their native design application all the way up to solutions for high volumes and batch printing called Repro Desk Server. We have software that addresses almost every print requirement.

    Also on the digital sharing component of the software product line, we have an online Plan Room called Océ Plan Center, which allows different people within a project to go online simply using a browser and view and order documents very easily.

    There is also an ease to publishing documents to that online Plan Room so that contractors and other project members can get the latest version of a drawing very quickly, and architects and project owners are able to track who sees it.

    There is a product within the Repro Desk portfolio called Océ Client Tools that has really caught fire in the AEC market for architects. From their desktop, architects are able to publish their files directly into the Océ Plan Center Plan Room so they can be ordered and viewed and, from the revision control perspective, make sure that the most current version is up and accessible to everybody on the project team. From a functionality perspective, it was one of the first tools on the market to be able to do that. It 's a key component of the Repro Desk print submission software package. It really becomes a front end tool to build a print job and to easily send it to a Repro Desk
    Server, which in turn drives one of our Océ TDS low or high volume machines. It becomes the glue that holds that whole workflow together, whether a small or large AEC firm.

    Océ Client Tools is a free application - you can download it off our website, www.Océ , from the Repro Desk product page.

    If someone downloaded Océ Client Tools without participating in an Océ Plan Center Plan Room or having Repro Desk software, it would still give them batch job creation from within native AutoCAD applications, so they could print to an 11” x 17” desktop printer in their own facility.

    You mentioned that PDF was the preferred format on the web for design firms. Does your support extend to DWF as well?

    BH: We actually launched support for DWF almost a year ago. The way we approach printing, we can support just about any type of raster or vector file format that's out there. We don't take a position in the marketplace that we are a strong advocate of any format. What we try to do with our partnerships is get behind the leaders, obviously Adobe and Autodesk being two prominent leaders in this market space, and make sure our customers can print those file formats easily and with the highest quality possible. I think the market is going to decide, is it PDF or is it DWF in terms of what the best format is. We
    have the tools in place that will allow us to print whatever format they choose to go with.

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    -- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.


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