InfoTrends Takes a Close Look at Customer Requirements and Market Dynamics for Digital Front-Ends

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Key Highlights: • Ease-of-use, output quality and consistency, and performance/RIPing speed are the top three DFE buying criteria. • Overall market share shows that for most vendors, the internal EFI DFE is the most popular type. • Color improvements, integration, and requests for compatibility (e.g., data formats and workflows) topped the list for future requirements.

Infotrends study

Note: Continuous-feed color printers from vendors such as HP, Kodak, Océ, Ricoh/InfoPrint, Pitney Bowes, Screen, Xeikon, and Xerox all use 100% OEM DFEs. These solutions are covered in the research, but are not shown in this chart.

Understanding customer requirements, combined with actual share data is an important mechanism to identify and justify future product investment decisions.

InfoTrends’ announces the completion of a new multi-client study addressing critical issues surrounding digital front-ends (DFEs) - an important component of a digital print workflow. Digital Front-Ends: Understanding Customer Requirements and Market Dynamics is designed to help DFE vendors, RIP technology providers, digital print manufacturers, workflow management vendors, or other companies that have an interest in DFEs to navigate this market and develop products and solutions that make their customers operate more effectively and efficiently.

Based on an extensive analysis of Web surveys for 585 U.S.-based print service providers and a dozen interviews with members of the vendor and provider community, InfoTrends covers the following aspects of the DFE market:

  •     DFE buying preferences and satisfaction levels by environment, company size, and application range
  •     DFE market shares for color products by type (server versus embedded) and vendor (OEM, EFI, Creo) across duty cycle and speed range
  •     Software ownership and investment outlook; adoption of Page Description Languages
  •     Importance and uptake of integration of DFE with other workflow solutions
  •     DFE brand preferences; fleet consistency, switching, and migration
  •     RIP technology, native PDF rendering adoption, and usage
  •     Importance of having multiple DFE choices and the importance of DFEs in the overall purchasing decision process
  •     The role of DFE in the wider print production workflow; expected shifts in the next two years
  •     Statements on hybrid and automated workflows
  •     Future DFE requirements

“It does not come as a surprise that EFI is the leading provider of DFEs for the printing industry, considering its product portfolio and its many partnerships,” commented Kaspar Roos, Associate Director for InfoTrends’ Production Workflow & Customized Communications Solutions Services. “However, this research showed that vendor OEM solutions, most notably Xerox and HP, have gained ground and are serious contenders for EFI. Kodak’s CREO DFE also showed strength in commercial print markets.”

Digital Front-Ends: Understanding Customer Requirements and Market Dynamics aims to provide insights in the DFE market by providing market share by duty cycle, speed breakdown, vendor and environments. Understanding customer requirements, combined with actual share data is an important mechanism to identify and justify future product investment decisions.

This study is available for immediate purchase. For more information, contact Scott Phinney at +1 781 616 2123 or e-mail scott_phinney(at)infotrends(dot)com.

InfoTrends, a Questex company, is the leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions industry. We provide research, analysis, forecasts, and advice to help clients understand market trends, identify opportunities, and develop strategies to grow their businesses. Additional information about InfoTrends is available on the Web at

Copyright 2012 InfoTrends. All rights reserved. Reproduction or reuse of InfoTrends materials is strictly prohibited without prior written consent.

For media inquiries contact Donna O’Malley at +1 781 616 2116 or donna_omalley(at)infotrends(dot)com.


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