Technology: Why the time has come for integration platforms

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A few days ago, Four Pees presented its cloud-based integration platform Atomyx. The solution developed by the team around CEO Tom Peire is exciting. Why? Because it provides print service providers with the right tools to successfully make the transition from mass production to mass customization – without having to throw all the tools they have been using overboard or having to study them first.

But one thing at a time. First of all, you need to understand what Atomyx is all about. In short: Atomyx is an integration platform (iPaaS = integrated platform as a service) that is completely cloud-based and is designed to enable uncomplicated integration, interaction and data exchange between different data sources (online platforms, SaaS applications or on-premise data), production tools and workflows on the basis of low or no code. This means that existing solutions, programs or even cooperation and collaboration tools such as Slack can not only continue to be used, but can also be transferred to a standardized service via Atomyx and the data can be controlled.

Connected Automation – Networked Automation

Four Pees calls the philosophy – or, if you prefer, the vision behind Atomyx – Connected Automation, a concept or mindset that brings together and optimizes information systems and connectors of all kinds, such as APIs, scripts or plugins, with automation mechanisms. It may sound complicated, but the aim is exactly the opposite, namely the simple connection and integration of all those involved in the printing process.

Three core products

The Atomyx integration platform comes with three products: Atomyx Manage, the actual production management tool that connects print service providers and the technologies, tools and workflows they use with each other and with online print platforms and print buyers to create a transparent end-to-end production workflow. The data is visualized via a dashboard; it is also possible to intervene manually. In addition to connectivity and visualization, the main focus here is on interaction.

Atomyx Prepare, on the other hand, is a complete SaaS API that revolves entirely around the processing and optimization of print data. It is based on Callas’ PDF Toolbox technology and is designed to offer dynamic print data checks, conversions, proofing and functions for separation or color management, to name but a few.

The third pillar of the integration platform is Atomyx Layout, which is intended to offer automated layout planning for the best possible use of the printed sheet – if it is available. While Atomyx Manage and Atomyx Prepare are already available and some of them are already being used by customers, Atomyx Layout will not be launched on the market until a little later.

By the way: If you want to delve deeper into the details of the new platform, you should take a look at the Atomyx website.

And what are the benefits?

Reduced integration costs, increased automation and transparency – that’s a brief description of the benefits that the new integration platform is supposed to bring. But of course there’s more to it than that. Not only can integrations based on no- or low-code be implemented more quickly and easily, the automation functions can also minimize manual intervention and therefore potential errors. As a 100% SaaS platform, Atomyx also allows production to be scaled without exploding infrastructure or license management costs. Simplicity is king, so to speak.

This is particularly advantageous because print service providers must be able to react ever more flexibly to changing customer requirements. One of these requirements, for example, is the desire for completely individual products – and the resulting megatrend towards mass customization.

Print shops are becoming independent of print production runs

Mass customization is a real game changer for the printing industry. We are on the threshold from the age of mass production to the age of mass customization. Not only because we now have the technical means to do so thanks to inkjet and other digital printing processes, but above all because people have understood that print is worth more in this way – and can convey added value better than any other medium.

Thanks to mass customization, print is becoming independent of print runs – but this also poses new challenges for data handling and production. And this is precisely why we need solutions like Atomyx, which make it extremely easy to integrate different data sources, workflows and processes in the cloud and bring them together in one tool.

The great thing is that Atomyx gives print shops the freedom to choose applications and tools and brings together everything they need to be successful with mass customization. Integration platforms are therefore exactly the right answer to this trend.

My Take: Four Pees – like other software and infrastructure providers – has understood what it takes to enable mass customization, this new way of printing, publishing and connected automation. I’m sure we’ll see more infrastructure platforms like Atomyx in the future, because that’s exactly what the market needs to successfully make the transition from mass production to mass customization. Incidentally, you can also find out more about mass customization, online print – and artificial intelligence – at the Online Print Symposium on 14-15 March in Munich.

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Technology: Why the time has come for integration platforms
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Technology: Why the time has come for integration platforms
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A few days ago, Four Pees presented its cloud-based integration platform Atomyx. The solution developed by the team around CEO Tom Peire is exciting. Why? Because it provides print service providers with the right tools to successfully make the transition from mass production to mass customization - without having to throw all the tools they have been using overboard or having to study them first.
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Beyond-print.net

Founder and CEO of zipcon consulting GmbH, one of the leading consulting companies for the print and media industry in Central Europe. The technology and strategy consultant and his team actively support practical implementation in a wide variety of customer projects. His work involves developing visions, concepts and strategies for the players active in the print production process across a wide range of industries. His areas of expertise include online print, mass customization, strategy and technological assessment for print, and the development of new strategies in the print and media environment. Bernd Zipper is the creator and chairman of Initiative Online Print e.V. and, in addition to his consulting activities, is an author, lecturer and sought-after speaker, orator and moderator. His visionary lectures are regarded worldwide as trend-setting management recommendations for the print and media industry. (Profiles also in Xing, LinkedIn).

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