Article • December 14, 2017 • 7 min read
Here at Cloudprinter.com, we are increasingly interested in the potential value offered by blockchain technologies, both for our platform and for our customers.
Here at Cloudprinter.com, we are increasingly interested in the potential value offered by blockchain technologies, both for our platform and for our customers. Within the next three months, we will launch a beta version of decentralized distributed print files for regular Print API orders for our clients.
However, the biggest promise offered by blockchain might be in the area of Variable & Transactional data printing.
Most of us know that finding and securing a 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 behavior has changed (paid bill, signed insurance, canceled order, etc.).
What if we could work without a centralized location for job information data storage? What if we could open ‘bits’ of print job information step by step during the print and finishing process? What if we could change the requirements of order anytime, even during shipping?
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 as the behavioral status of the recipient remains the same. If that status 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. Please share your comments and ideas and help us to help you, our customers, make the best use of all available new technologies in fulfilling your printing needs.