VDC Research’s Takeaways from the 24th Annual IMI Thermal Printing Conference

by Richa Gupta | 11/22/2013

I recently presented at the 24th Annual Thermal Printing Conference in Scottsdale, AZ. The only one of its kind, this conference is dedicated to thermal printing – with industry veterans coming together to discuss historical performance, current and emerging product development trends, market expansion strategies, and their collective vision for the future of this industry. Ongoing advancements in wireless communication, electronic documentation, and mobile device innovation (and adoption) will have a significant impact on the thermal printing market, with the potential to revolutionize the way vendors and their partners approach their sales and business development initiatives. Here are a few highlights from Day 1 of the conference (the only one of three that I could attend):

  1. Harold Schofield’s State of the Industry Address – Harold has been a key influencer at this conference for more than 2 decades now and has consistently shared an update of the evolution of the thermal printing market at the start of every conference. This year, his presentation provided an overview of vendor performance in the thermal media and printer market, enterprise trends within each of the primary verticals (and print applications), and an update on technology developments. Vendors are keen to optimize thermal technology use – designing solutions to address newer, specialty applications including two-sided printing, color printing, and higher resolution printing.
  2. Mobile Printing for the Connected World – I discussed VDC’s coverage of the portable thermal printer market (read more here). With a focus on key trends, applications and innovations driving adoption in diverse installation environments, I shared my thoughts on what’s new, now and next for the mobile form factor. The discussion was largely centered on the mobile point-of-sale application, wireless connectivity options, consumer device pairing alternatives, and empowerment of the global mobile workforce. Mobility is the future. What does this mean for enterprises lower down the proverbial pyramid? We firmly believe vendors who collaborate with these smaller firms to develop products that meet their unique requirements will achieve tremendous success.

This conference has proved to be a good platform for networking with industry leaders, while also helping gain an insight into the future of the thermal printing market – in terms of new technology/solution developments, new target markets and applications, and evolving enterprise investment considerations. Looking forward to attending the next one in 2014!

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