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Merger ends schism between NGP & CIP4

Wednesday, 23 January 2008
By Print 21 Online Article

Mark Wilton plays pivotal role in resolving one of the industry’s longest running disputes.

The announcement by the expatriate Australian of the convergence between the two bodies responsible for JDF compliance – Networked Graphic Production Partners (NGP) and organization for the International Cooperation for the Integration of the Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress (CIP4) – brings an end to one of the industry’s most intransigent standoffs.

From being the advocate of the original Creo-supported NGP scheme, Wilton, as director of partner initiatives for Kodak, became the education & marketing officer for CIP4 in 2006. He is credited by Judi Hess, general manager, Kodak GCG Enterprise Solutions, (former Creo president) as the individual most responsible for resolving the often rancorous dispute.

The stoush began before drupa 2004, when Creo, unhappy with the glacial pace of the development by CIP4 of standards for JDF compliance, formed its own organization to bring together companies already working with one another’s systems. This market-based initiative with over 50 partners, was seen as heresy by the Swiss-based standards organization, which preferred a more technical approach.

Over the years, cooperation between the two groups floundered even though all members of NGP were members of CIP4. The result caused confusion among printers as to which suppliers’ equipment was truly JDF compliant.

As a result of the new agreement NGP will cease operations, and all NGP operations will be assumed by CIP4 during a transitional period between now and drupa. “The convergence of NGP into CIP4 will allow for involvement from a broader base,” said CIP4 CEO, Margaret Motamed of EFI. “During the transition all CIP4 members will have the opportunity to get involved in Business Networking Group activities. For instance, we will be working on a major update to the Integration Matrix and development of new programs that will all be revealed at drupa.”

The new Business Networking Group will focus on ‘integration through cooperation’ and it will provide CIP4 with market communications and business development functions.

“CIP4 has been successful in the development of the JDF and Printtalk specifications, the development of software development tools and technical education programs,” said Thomas Reichhart, CEO of Hiflex Group and NGP Chairperson, “and I believe that the addition of the Business Networking Group fills a void for CIP4 by providing market outreach programs and an environment for the non-technical leadership of membership companies to come together, exchange ideas, and address the business issues of print process automation.

“This is a great fit and I know there is great support for the convergence on behalf of all members of the NGP Steering Committee.”

The NGP website (www.ngppartners.org) will remain active and operational until drupa. During that time, the functions, documents and work of NGP will be transferred to CIP4 and will be assumed into its operations and website. In addition to the Interoperability Matrix, other NGP functions such as summit meetings, the Process Automation News and industry mingle events will be assumed by CIP4. The first “summit meeting” of the Business Networking Group will be held in Spa Belgium during the week of March 10th in conjunction with CIP4’s Interoperability Forum and working group meetings hosted by GamSys GmbH.

Questions regarding the convergence of NGP with CIP4 should be addressed to CIP4’s Executive Director, James Harvey, at executive_director@cip4.org

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