Ten years ago, a lot of people were still feeling a sense of relief that the Y2K bug hadn't caused the collapse of society. Google wasn't very well-known as a noun, let alone as a verb. Blogging was in its infancy. Watching video on the Web generally meant downloading the whole thing first. And social networking was something that you did over lunch or at a convention.
The evolution of the Internet over the past decade has clearly impacted day-to-day life and business alike. According to Forrest Leighton, director of product marketing for the product systems division of Lake Success, New York-based Canon U.S.A., "The Internet has caused a fundamental shift in the way that organizations communicate both internally and externally."
This shift has certainly been felt in the world of commercial print. "With respect to the production-printing marketplace," said Leighton, "[the Internet] has had a great impact by acting as a job facilitator and increasing the level of automation in the job process."
"The Internet has really helped us speed up our process," said Gene Toepfer, director of sales for Foster Printing Service, based in Michigan City, Ind. "Project communications are faster and frequent … With the Internet and e-mail we can proof jobs today and get approval today."
But the Internet has done more than streamline the process for existing commercial printers; it also has created an avenue for new printers to enter the market. 4over, Inc., a Web-based printer headquartered in Glendale, Calif., was founded in 2003. According to CEO Zarik Megerdichian, "4over was built from the beginning as an online Internet business. All orders we produce come through our trade website." Due to the digital nature of its business, Megerdichian remarked, "4over is automated at every level that gives our customers a competitive advantage."