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June 19, 2023

The Future Is Collaborative and Connected

# Operations
# Data/IT

Karl Ciz of Zaikio is passionate about compatibility in print industry


Dscoop: Historically, what do you think has held the print industry back when it comes to compatibility and connectivity  printers using different applications from different vendors for different tasks?

Karl: Commercialization by different parties has corrupted what was a great idea, JDF. It would have been ideal for printers had it retained its core focus — that everyone speaks the same language, providing total connectivity, and therefore interoperability, of systems. However, it is apparent that that didn't happen. HP and their competitors all have their own version of JDF, and consultancy and integration work are the norm for most projects. What a disaster for any printer wanting to run a hybrid print shop! It's time JDF was mostly replaced. It will always have a place for complex bespoke integrations, but the average printer should be able to plug and play nowadays. This is the whole point of Zaikio, to remove that complexity, that cost, and to simplify integrations between all industry players, no matter which brand you use.

Dscoop: What’s the guiding force behind the technology Zaikio is developing? From a personal standpoint, can you share your passion for what your company is building?

Karl: Zaikio is revolutionizing the way companies and their suppliers communicate. Gone are the days of complex EDI or FTP linking with coding required at either end. Gone are the days of capex (capital expenditure) budgets for integration! The future is plug and play, the future is subscription-based apps on Zaikio. Imagine the print industry operating like your iPhone, an OS with lots of connected apps, none of which are actually connected with any other. Each is agnostic. It picks up or positions data without a care for what other solutions pick it up next, or positioned it in the first place. Our vision is to turn data communication and interoperability into warm words, full of hope and promise, rather than the dark words they are today. We aim to bring light into an area of darkness, that has traditionally been a pain point. We will bring the future, and deliver it today! 

"Our vision is to turn data communication and interoperability into warm words, full of hope and promise, rather than the dark words they are today."

Dscoop: You recently organized and hosted an event called ZaiCon, which at the core was about exchanging data the right way between the many different systems in use at print shops, so that printers can finally become more efficient. What did you learn from people who attended that event? What were the big takeaways?

Karl: ZaiCon was the starting block for most who attended. Zaikio has conceptualized a platform approach for the last few years, inviting existing cloud solutions onto the data layer, the first of which will go live over the coming months. ZaiCon enabled solution providers to see the APIs and discuss ways of worki9ng for the first time since Zaikio launched a couple of years ago. The APIs for data exchange are now live too, the conference gave everybody an equal chance to embrace the platform's approach and to consider creating Zaikio apps out of their current software. The starting gun, if you like, on the race to the future. 

Dscoop: Your “Mission Control” feature seems extremely interesting, giving printers business intelligence in a way they can easily visualize. Can you talk about that?"Where are my jobs"?! That's a question many printers wish they could more easily answer. Mission control gives you visualization of multiple data sources, all in one place. It allows that data to be consumed by W2P or MIS, by production or management teams. As data flows more easily, it's important to visualize your print shop, and to connect sources of data that are relevant to the processes that you follow. Mission control allows you, or your MIS, to visualize all sources at the same time. If you can see where everything is up to in real time, you can also plan ahead more easily, you become more agile, as do any dependent services.

Dscoop: Zaikio is working with its partners to make a comprehensive range of modular print shop software available to printers by Drupa 2024. Can you share how that’s going, and how you’re approaching the rollout of your technology?

Karl: By Drupa next year will will already have a number of W2P, PDF checking, color management, workflow, MIS, machine and postpress solutions already using the Zaikio data layer. Print shops will be introduced to any connected solutions at the time, and we anticipate that to be a fair number. Each solution provider will have their own service available in the Zaikio app store, and will be able to provide much speedier plug and play apps for print organizations to choose and implement at the click of a few buttons. Gone are the days of long waits and high integration price tags!

Dscoop: Let’s end by chatting about one thing you’re passionate about that has nothing to do with the print industry.

Karl: I am a linguist. I speak multiple languages and love playing with language. The bible says, "The tongue is mightier than the sword," and I believe that to be true. The power of words is just amazing! As a linguist I've often been captivated by translation and interpretation, and how that can go so terribly wrong! Maybe that's why the Zaikio concept of "everyone speaking the same language" appeals to me so much.

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