However, the biggest promise offered by blockchain might be in the area of Variable & Transactional data printing.
Most of us know that finding a secured printing partner then performing a pre-contract audit, is time and resource intensive, with no guarantee that the right choice has been made. Servers can be hacked, job sheets can end up in the trash, and print files can be opened without any hope of an audit trail. Print jobs can even be processed as part of a VDP/Transactional data run when they’re not valid anymore because the recipient's behaviour has changed (paid bill, signed insurance, canceled order, etc.).
What if we could work without a centralised location for job information data storage? What if we could open ‘bits’ of print job information step by step during the print & finishing process? What if we could change the requirements of an order anytime, even during shipping?
Blockchain technology shows promise in making all of this possible.
Serverless pull printing using blockchain technology makes file transfers obsolete. The data lives in the chain, and by using blockheads/hashes in a closed string, the information is not accessible for anyone without the necessary permissions.
By using a hybrid model, the print job can only be opened by the RIP or print management console of the digital press. During shipping preparation, no address is printed, just a code for the shipping provider to interpret. Even during delivery the delivery address can still be changed at the last moment by adding a row to the blockchain information.
Using this ‘single source of truth’ keeps a print job alive only as long the behavioural status of the recipient remains the same. If that status it changes it cancels the order or generates a different order.
These are some of our initial ideas on how blockchain technology might be used in VDP and Transactional data printing. It's not yet a clear vision and certainly not a concrete plan. Just the start of a discussion here. Please share your comments and ideas and help us help you, our customers, make the best use of all available new technologies in fulfilling your printing needs.