| It appears to be a great idea to standardize data exchange between the different manufacturers, systems and components. However, some vendors tend to spread the impression that no work can be performed without JDF workflow management tools and the latest and greatest JDF enabled production equipment. Vendors, in their ever lasting quest for primary market shares, induce the fear in Printers that no shop can be competitive, no price can be low enough, without the intended removal of human influence and the automation of data collection by the production machines themselves. In fact, the truth is far from that. If we look at the current state of development of the JDF “standard” and the required skill sets and infrastructure to operate an entirely JDF controlled and enabled print shop it becomes very clear very quickly that JDF solutions are truly High Tech … and high cost!
Infrastructure costs for JDF enabled data collection include adequately sized hardware. Servers that can handle the giant flood of data produced by the JDF enabled machines. Networks that handle the ongoing information exchange between the different entities and applications that can make sense of the data that each node produces. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s not forget that all of the data needs to be stored in databases on server operating systems that cost small fortunes in licenses all by themselves. On top off the primary infrastructure cost issue you have to implement all of it in a fault tolerant manner that eliminates all single points of failure in your production JDF systems. After all, you are completely depending on the system being operational and fully functional at all times.
“So why is JDF so great?”, you may ask. The answer is simple: “it is the future way to exchange data between heterogeneous vendor environments and equipment”. After the noise has died down and a few failed implementations, what remains is likely to be what JDF started out to be: A standard pipe for exchanging data that all subscribers to the system can understand.
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