EFI Holds Its 20th Annual Connect Conference
Creativity, inspiration among the themes of the yearly event for customers, channel partners, and the media.
The 20th EFI Connect conference was held at the Wynn Las Vegas in January, drawing customers, dealers, vendor partners, and more than 100 media and analysts from around the world. CEO Bill Muir, who joined EFI last October, kicked things off with an overview of the company’s strategy and the priorities he sees moving forward, including improving the manufacturer’s execution, evolving its go-to-market strategy, and accelerating innovation.
In the “fireside chat” session that is a hallmark of the event, Muir was joined by The Freeman Company CEO Joe Popolo, who shared how the event marketing and management company has grown from $600 million to over $3 billion in sales despite the Great Recession and the decline of many large conventions. Acquisitions, global expansion, and transforming events from tradeshows to immersive brand experiences have been the keys, Popolo explained.
The other keynoters included Olivier Gariépy and Michel Savoie, who gave attendees a behind-the-scenes look at Cirque du Soleil’s costume workshop, including its screen, dye sublimation, and 3D printing capabilities and the design challenges that go into some of its elaborate creations. The final keynote was delivered by Ariel Swedroe, a 15-year-old fashion designer from Miami whose dye sub-printed swimwear and resortwear is inspired by the work of her grandfather Robert Swedroe, a noted art deco artist and architect.
Among the newer EFI products announced during Connect were the Cubik Polymeric 180, an industrial line designed for thermoformed graphics; a white ink and new top feeder for the Nozomi C18000 single-pass corrugated printer; the Bolt single-pass inline textile printers, with speeds up to 295 lineal feet per minute; the Vutek h5, a UV LED hybrid printer with a 126-inch print width and the ability to print up to 109 boards per hour; and a variety of new servers and workflow solutions.