For this installment of our series of interviews with AFPC leaders, we spoke with Hans Christensen, Engineering Specialist, Production and Transaction Printing, Xerox, to discuss how the AFPC helps the architecture and the industry grow together.
Q: What do you see as the single most important value AFP capabilities bring to an organization?
Hans: AFP has always been about production and control. The architecture sets the standard for production printing, and that’s a true strength.
Q: Why do you feel the AFPC is important to the print industry?
Hans: The AFPC keeps AFP current with the print industry. As vendors we have a unique sense of the pulse of the industry. When we hear about trends or what’s on print service providers’ minds, we bring that valuable insight back to the AFPC to keep the standard current and relevant.
Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest value the AFPC brings to the print industry?
Hans: The AFPC promotes and evolves the AFP standard in a collaborative effort. This translates into a unified vision of the print environment.
Q: How do you see the marketplace in ten years? How will AFP and PDF work together? Will there be more options for organizations to look to?
Hans: There will be even greater seamless conversions to and from PDF, and we’ll also see PDF making inroads into the transactional print area. In terms of collaboration, I see AFP and the architecture as a bigger umbrella, where PDF is more successfully used in specific areas where it fits the best.
Q: What is the most innovative application you’ve heard of that leverages AFP technology?
Hans: Some direct mail applications can be very innovative when, for example, output goes directly into a mail tray for delivery, and page accounting is used to weigh each job to make sure the right amount of paper is in the tray before it goes out.
Q: In your opinion, what was the most important evolution of AFP you’ve seen over the years?
Hans: One of the best things was moving the Consortium to an open standard. There have been a number of evolutionary steps for the language itself and the architecture, but this was pretty profound. Now, it is a collaboration, with more ideas coming in from different parts of the print industry. The perception of AFP as a more open standard, instead of a proprietary one, is important.
Q: In what industries do you see AFP being leveraged the most today? Where do you expect its adoption to increase in the next five years?
Hans: Ten years ago, predictions were that print would no longer exist, and that’s not the case. We’re seeing the high-end, continuous-feed market growing and color continues to be in high demand.
Q: What, in your mind, sets AFP apart from other presentation architectures?
Hans: The architecture itself. It scales well; it’s really well constructed and easily extends to any environment – even as that environment changes and grows. These are the reasons the architecture remains relevant today; anything that’s based on the architecture is going to plug and play well with it.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish through your efforts with the AFPC?
Hans: Through my efforts with the APFC, I would like to advance the AFP standard by bringing requirements to the table while adding my input to current change requests. Also, I would like to maintain the collaborative atmosphere created among all the different vendors, which at times overflows outside of the AFPC, alleviating what could be an adversarial atmosphere.
Q: Do you have any closing thoughts, or anything you’d like to add?
Hans: It would be great to see AFP be as well-known as PDF.