The Glasgow European Championships has kicked off with Xerox continuing to provide networked printing services, continuing a line through major athletics events that stretch back to the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
At Glasgow this year the latest technology, including the Xerox Cloud accessed through the internet is linking 170 Xerox MFPs across 27 locations in the Scottish city. In Barcelona, state of the art was also used, but with no worldwide web and so no standard interfaces, there was no way to plug in digitally enabled printers. And there were no digitally enabled printers before Barcelona.
For the Olympics, Xerox provided Docutech mono printers, only recently launched as the first viable digital press. These were located at the different stadia around the Spanish city and in offices and the media centre. They were linked over an ISDN network so that a journalist in the media centre might print out the results from, say, the Men’s 100 metres, that had happened 2km away.
This was also the first Games were ISDN was used to transfer data at then unbelievable rates. Crosfield Electronics had set up two scanning studios, one for each of the major Japanese print companies, Toppan and Dainippon. These were used to scan transparencies from photographers who had queued to have their transparencies processed in the media centre. The images were sent back to Japan at relatively sedentary rates and could be on press within a couple of hours. It was faster and much cheaper than using satellite transmission and paved the way for connectivity that is now taken for granted.
There will be no film processing in Glasgow. All photography has become digital, nor any need for scanners to transmit data across the globe. Output will not be in limited resolution mono, but in high quality colour. And users will interact with the printer via a PrintbyXerox mobile phone, ConnectKey security, and adjacent PCs. This will ensure that only approved or accredited users have access to the printing and scanning capabilities.
Users will be able to upload their own content via the app which returns a notification and passcode so that it can be printed out at any device when ready. Back in Barcelona security was not a consideration. The network was very much what is now a VPN and while results sheets might be scanned in and stored in a data base for approved users to download and print, the limited access (and content) provided its own security. It was however the only way to get the most up to date information without either being there or finding a fixed landline phone and placing a call.
In 2018, all results are immediately available across any kind of mobile or internet connected device. But print remains crucial and the Glasgow printers will produce more pages than the Docutechs did in Barcelona. Some of the MFPs include a finishing unit to apply a staple, not possible in the printer of 1992.
This year too Xerox got involved with the marketing of the events to people in Glasgow and across the Strathclyde region. There are road closures to announce, flyers and posters to promote the events and brochures for the Games themselves: A Bonnie Guide to the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, featuring games mascot Bonnie the Seal. While Xerox managed the printing and sourced the envelopes for a direct mail campaign. Data processing, inserting, letter printing and mailing was back to Xerox using one of its print/mail delivery centres. Needless to say such print, let alone Xerox’s involvement with it, was simply not possible for the Olympic Games of 1992.
Xerox is providing printing services for a major sporting event, delivering a more sophisticated solution each time and a far cry from the 1992 Olympics where the Docutech was first put through its paces.