sunnuntaina, joulukuuta 12, 2004
Digital Printing Services
The "new economy" did not disappear with the collapse of the technology bubble. There has been a lot of turbulence in technology, but now turbulence is going beyond technology companies. From the goliaths of industry to the smallest of niche firms, all kind of companies seem to be in the grip of unprecedented industrial upheaval.
The technology-driven dislocation that has transformed business is spreading throughout the economy. More businesses discover how to use new technological tools and fuel a surge in productivity growth. Cable is taking audiences from the television networks. Telephone giants are losing business to the Internet.
Typesetters are known as publishing services companies. They do their cutting and pasting on a computer. Instead of working with photographic plates and negatives, they receive documents over the Internet that can be transmitted directly to digital printers.
The effect of innovation and industrial reorganization is a product of two major forces. The computer and its more recent application, the Internet, are seeping into every little corner of the economy, and are being used by companies across the board for an expanding array of purposes.
The book is changing and the printing industry is affected. It is the new technology that is changing what a book is. New digital techniques to layer meta-information onto texts have created Internet-based interactive books, a potentially revolutionary breakthrough for fields like high school education. And the Internet permits many of these tasks to be done cheaply in faraway places.
The productivity burst now achieved is a consequence of big investments in information technology since the 1980's. The initial success was delayed because companies took and needed som extra time to understand and apply the technology they were buying.
The global outsourcing of business processes via the Internet to sophisticated logistics management systems (which have been crucial in allowing it to drive down prices and achieve its gargantuan scale), information technology is reshaping businesses and markets. The corporate landscape is littered with ailing former giants struggling to come to terms with the new realities.
For instance, the big television networks have lost big parts of their prime-time viewers to cable channels in the past decade. They could soon lose much of their revenue, too, as new gadgets like digital video recorders ( TiVo, for one) allow people to strip commercials out of commercial channels favorite shows.
The Web could only be invented once, but information technology has dramatically changed how companies sell everything from books to airline tickets to equities. Some experts believe that the new practial innovations that will flow from information technology from now on will be entertaining -like the Palm Pilot and the iPod- but hardly revolutionary.
Perhaps most significant for corporate America / Europe, the Internet has enabled a new wave of global outsourcing, allowing once nation-bound companies in the service sector - the biggest part of the American / European economy- to dispatch parts of their business to cheap labor markets on the other side of the world.
Competition has been driving companies to find ways to do things better or cheaper, to gain new markets and reap higher profits. But competition can also diminish the incentives to develop new technologies if, as happened with many dot-com initiatives, innovations are easily replicated by rivals.