American Printer – Interview: Dr. Jacob Aizikowitz, Lifetime Achievement Awardee


An American Printer Interview
By Andy & Julie Plata 
American Printer and the OutputLinks Communications Group

Upon studying of Jacob Aizikowitz’s Lifetime Achievement recognition, we requested him to share his profession highlights. Jacob’s views on the evolution of XMPie and customized digital print expertise might improve your variable print income.

Julie: Thank you for sharing your views with our readers

Jacob: While my training centered on expertise – laptop science – my profession path was round this print-associated trade. Once I graduated from the Technion in Israel with a pc science diploma (1977), I began at Mini Systems, an modern software program home that offered the software program for Scitex, an early chief within the print trade.

My work at Mini Systems was primarily laptop science centered. However,  I turned not directly concerned with print expertise by creating a networked system that supported a number of workstations/servers/picture editors. That system enabled Scitex to interact new prospects, like Time Magazine and Gutenberg Hus, with modern, networked publishing programs.

Andy: I perceive that you simply initially needed to pursue a tutorial profession. How did that change?

Jacob: In 1983, partially influenced by a go to to the legendary Xerox PARC, I made a decision to return for graduate research at Cornell University. As I approached my Ph.D. in 1989, the street was open for a tutorial profession at Xerox PARC, one other analysis lab, or an assistant professorship in one other good college. But a cellphone name from the late Ephraim (Efi) Arazi asking me to hitch him in beginning EFI modified the whole lot. Efi was the chief of Scitex and a legend in Israeli excessive-tech. I couldn’t refuse his provide, so my educational profession ended earlier than it even began.

Julie: Tell us about your EFI profession.

EFIJacob: As EFI’s head of R&D from 1989 to 1992, I turned conversant in the printing and graphic communications trade. We had been a driving pressure in pushing the sphere of coloration administration (we known as it Color Portability). I acquired to know lots of the main gamers at Apple, Adobe, Aldus, Quark, Kodak, Xerox, HP, and Canon. I additionally turned conversant in desktop publishing.

Through EFI’s imaginative and prescient of Color Portability, I internalized the revolutionary which means of democratizing publishing. As a outcome, I understood the worth proposition of giving inventive management to doc originators significantly better.

Our work at EFI impacted the expansion of digital printing.

The most impactful was the Fiery Controller, which I guided in the course of the early phases (later, leaving {hardware} and specializing in software program). The Fiery was revolutionary. It reworked digital coloration copiers into digital coloration printers, which made digital coloration printing with glorious picture and coloration qualities a actuality. It dramatically pushed the supply of digital coloration printing on the departmental or SMB companies. A central component within the Fiery was that it will connect with the desktop, utilizing the LAN, like another desktop printer. Appearing to the customers as a daily desktop printer made printing on a Fiery-enabled copier/printer straightforward and potential for any desktop person.

Moreover, it allowed any software to print on a Fiery-enabled copier/printer, which definitely accelerated the adoption of coloration in desktop publishing. The h/w distributors by no means deliberate to introduce digital coloration printers parallel to digital coloration copiers. The “printers” section was speculated to comply with the “copiers” section. However, Fiery, which allowed reworking a copier to be a printer, modified the whole lot. It pushed these {hardware} distributors to speed up their efforts to come back to market with digital coloration printers (the early Nineties) and gave OEMs the arrogance to go ahead with digital coloration presses.

While different disciplines at EFI had been impactful, they didn’t turn out to be business successes on their very own. Still, by our efforts in creating and deploying Cachet – the modern coloration editor — and EfiColor – the EFI engine for coloration administration, we augmented Fiery with an aura of coloration sophistication, which helped set up Fiery’s management. And we additionally interacted with the important thing gamers of desktop publishing. Through varied strategic agreements, a few of our improvements turned a part of Adobe’s main desktop publishing software program packages.

Family selections triggered shifting again to Israel, the place I used to be out of the trade on the IBM Haifa analysis middle for a number of years. But then, in 1996, I landed again within the trade at Scitex.

Julie: How did the return-to-Scitex expertise have an effect on XMPie’s growth?

Jacob: There, I turned intimately conversant in digital printing, particularly digital coloration printing, and, associated to it, the entire concept of variable knowledge printing past transactional printing.

My Silicon Valley expertise – expertise traits, product concepts, product-market match concepts, and the desktop publishing deal with the originators – helped reshape the Scitex (later Creo) controller. Together we made breakthrough improvements in h/w and s/w that resulted in a prime-of-the-line controller, packaged in an workplace-class kind issue, pleasant to its person, and able to driving the extremely demanding subsequent-era – toner and inkjet — digital coloration printers.

The resolution to formalize all the necessities for the long run taste of variable knowledge in a language – we named it VPS — like PostScript, however for outlining jobs of variable-knowledge printing was a breakthrough. However, when mixed with Darwin as a system permitting originators to create variable knowledge paperwork on the desktop and software program that took care of the whole lot associated to printing these paperwork, I might dare say that we disrupted variable knowledge printing. We provided a strategy to do variable knowledge printing by a broad market, away from the small group of execs who had been the specialists and incumbent leaders of the variable knowledge printing subject. These specialists initially checked out it with skepticism. However, nobody may cease the momentum, primarily as computing h/w, networking, software program, and print applied sciences developed, making management-by-the-originators broadly sensible, extremely desired, and commercially viable.

Coming out with VPS was extremely impactful. Internally, it offered clear scope and objectives of the {hardware} developments wanted for the controller – the very best efficiency and high quality in decoding print streams encoded in VPS. Externally, it opened the door for collaborating with many outdoors gamers, providing them to emit VPS to drive any print engine that the Scitex (later Creo) controller would drive.

Holistic Experience across all channelsIt led to my resolution to launch XMPie and drive business-grade inventive variability with cross-media personalization.

Julie: Can you elaborate extra on what finally led you to launch XMPie?

Jacob: I based XMPie (along with Israel Roth and Reuven Sherwin) with the imaginative and prescient of bridging print and digital with cross-media personalization. However, a crucial component of our imaginative and prescient and worth was what, a few years later, I known as Modern VDP.

XMPie enabled on-line connection to precise databases and highly effective scripting languages to drive variability. We added the ideas of networked manufacturing and composition servers for scalability even earlier than the cloud computing days. When Adobe launched InDesign Server, we enhanced InDesign’s efficiency and scalability with our server-class options.

Julie: How does XMPie’s cross-media relate to digital media breakthroughs?

Jacob: Our print personalization software program structure allowed variability on the design object degree and enabled guidelines that work straight with on-line linked databases somewhat than one desk. These had been crucial to our digital media options.

Our structure enabled print and digital applied sciences to share a typical basis of guidelines and knowledge, which delivered novel cross-media consistency automation.

Before XMPie, the prevailing cross-media programs used every media’s instruments and strategies for design, knowledge, guidelines, and integration. As a outcome, heavy handbook work and strict human coordination had been obligatory for consistency throughout all media. Those handbook processes weren’t solely cumbersome, expensive, susceptible to errors, and sluggish when it comes to time to market. For instance, one may change a rule that drives the print facet whereas forgetting to alter the digital facet.

In abstract, XMPie augmented the Creative Variability basis established with Darwin and VPS with the At Scale dimensions. Our framework offered print and digital with a typical basis of guidelines and knowledge, enabling the novel consistency-guaranteeing method to cross-media. These fundamentals had been expanded to assist highly effective APIs with the power to hyperlink on to databases. We additionally added Web2Print, Video Personalization, and e mail companies to supply integrators instruments for creating customized-made options.

Andy: As we shut, please share the way it felt to be acknowledged with Dr. Keith Davidson Xplor’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

award winnerJacob: I’m honored to simply accept this award. A bit embarrassed by its life abstract taste, however I hope to proceed contributing to and following this trade. I’m extremely humbled to obtain this award for the reason that work my crew and I did all through my profession centered on enabling inventive, colourful, advertising and marketing-centric, and knowledge-pushed print, which was not the Xplor members’ mainstream. Xplor’s recognition of our contribution to the sphere and trade is genuinely shifting and humbling. I imagine that the large digital transformation occurring in each trade forces Xplor and the print trade to regulate, remodel, and mix disciplines. Such a change helps mix print with digital communications. It additionally helps combine enterprise and advertising and marketing communications, which can make the work my groups and I did extremely related to Xplor’s future.

The actuality is that at important junctions, I had the chance to collaborate with nice individuals from whom I discovered an ideal deal, which impacted my profession positively.

Most notably regarding this trade is the late Ephraim Arazi, whom I first met once I did Software for Scitex. Years later, he requested me to hitch him, this time with a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell, as he based EFI. At EFI and with Efi, I discovered concerning the trade, the assorted gamers, mental property, and the magic steadiness between expertise and enterprise. For instance, one among EFI’s visionary thrusts was to allow the originators – designers and authors – to make use of coloration and specify the specified colours naturally, letting expertise mechanically handle all of the machine-particular, print-particular particulars. This imaginative and prescient echoed the basics of desktop publishing however expanded to paint. Not solely did I follow it as I led EFI R&D, nevertheless it profoundly influenced my method to the trade and affected the whole lot I did after EFI, particularly at XMPie.

Accepting such a humbling recognition from Xplor deserves feedback on improvements, merchandise, prospects, markets, and interactions. I discovered from Ephraim Arazi that asking prospects what they need – particularly what product they need – just isn’t a very good follow for prime-tech merchandise/companies. Instead, one should be capable of mix information of expertise, means to innovate, and understanding of markets (which incorporates studying from prospects or prospects) to carry significant breakthrough merchandise to market. Once a product is available in the market, intimate dialogues with prospects are crucial for outlining additional enhancements, refinements, or derivatives. Although following this technique is difficult, prospects will thanks for bringing them what they wanted however by no means knew to ask for it.

In closing

We recognize your funding of time in studying this interview. Please tell us if you happen to gained enterprise enhancement concepts from the interview. And, please share concepts for future articles and interviews.

Focusing on the enterprise facet of print,
Andy & Julie Plata

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