NEW EDUCATIONAL AND MARKETING INITIATIVES WERE AMONG THE HIGHLIGHTS AT THE ANNUAL HP USERS CONFERENCE
When the HP Indigo users held their first Dscoop conference in 2005, 250 people participated. Attendance has certainly soared since then—more than 2,000 digital print professionals convened at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando two weeks ago for Dscoop9 in March 2014.
Dscoop, which stands for Digital Solutions Cooperative, is an independent global community of graphic arts business owners and technical professionals who use HP Indigo and Scitex equipment and related solutions. In some respects, it is like a trade show—if that trade show featured only one brand of press. Highlights included 100 educational sessions and displays from 100+ vendor partners—and, of course, HP, which showcased a wide range of equipment, including its press for on-demand folding carton production.
In addition to vendors of substrates, photobook software and wide-format-related gear, the postpress and inline finishing suppliers were out in force. Workflow and MIS solutions also dominated—from HP as well as Avanti, Aleyant Systems, CERM, Label Traxx, PageFlex, SmartSoft, PTI Marketing Technologies and Ultimate Technographics.
REMEMBERING ABSENT FRIENDS
Dscoop9 was the first event without two people who had been there from the start. Rod Key, a founding Dscoop board member, died unexpectedly this past January. His legacy will live on in the “Rod Key Memorial Scholarship,” to be awarded in July 2014.
Eric Hawkinson, Dscoop’s first executive director, left in April 2013 to join Canon Solutions America as director of marketing. Mike Fogarty was named Dscoop’s global executive director in June 2013. We were impressed with his energy and ideas.
Fogarty explained that Dscoop9 represented a new educational approach, with offerings in streamlined business management, technical, sales and marketing, and operations categories. This event also marked the debut of Dscoop University under the direction of John Tenwinkel, who previously held positions at DG3 and TanaSebert.
Dscoop University provides members with a year-round educational industry resource. Offerings include online learning, downloadable training materials and instructor-led courses. At Dscoop9, educational sessions were also streamed live.
This event was also the coming-out party for Dscoop’s “Tell Your Story Sales Program.” Members can access 100 digital assets, videos and PowerPoints to help market and promote their businesses. If you compete with Dscoop members, expect more open houses and customer events happening soon.
High-end production values are a Dscoop trademark. The “Break the Mold” motif was much in evidence around the hotel, with banners, window clings and massive stacked decorative cubes at the conference registration area. Rather than boring headshots, the coil-bound conference agenda book and opening video had creative and colorful photos of Dscoop board members in action. Conference chair Gary Garner, for example, was shown breaking through a Tetris-like brick wall with a cartoon sledgehammer.
Many of the attendees were first-timers—and it was a diverse group, with more than 33 countries represented. Judging by the animated conversations and upbeat atmosphere, most made an instant connection among their peers. Some attendees are industry veterans—we saw three ex-Scitex friends catching up on old times, two long-time offset press salespeople who switched to the digital world and at least six printers I’ve profiled over the years. Others are HP prospects—Dscoop surely must help HP win new business, as it’s a well-organized event with great energy and lots of new ideas, technologies and learning opportunities.
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