January 2017


Behind the blessings and merry-makings of the Chinese New Year lays a very essential bedrock of creativity, one that transcends standards set the year before, and one always striving for better.

From the design of greeting card layouts, to adding matt and glossy varnishes to your new Chinese New Year coasters, Canon’s Océ Arizona does all the heavy-duty work to make your accessories shopping all the lighter.

Sitting proudly in Kreative Labs’ offices, the Océ Arizona 460 GT waits to be powered up, while the staff prepare the foundation; coming up with the creative ideas, and ready the sheer intricacy of the end product through precise arrangement.

The preparation begins; outlines are made for the plexiglass pieces to be placed and printed on. And of course, it has to be made sure that the plexiglass pieces are spotless, for that perfect shine and gloss.

Now that’s done, it’s time to commence with the printing. Hardly a simple task; layer by layer, colour by colour, and different types of varnish, toying with the different permutations the Océ Arizona offers, coming up with the perfect one that sets the product.

To give more perspective of the work and precision involved in making a seemingly simple coaster, additional layers are printed onto them to make sure they’re equally beautiful and functional on both sides of the plexiglass.

And then the penultimate, and the most crucial step of the printing; colour. The coasters begin to take shape, from an ordinary and dismissive plexiglass pieces, the colour now gives it life and flavour. Accurately printed, the now technicoloured product is almost ready to set in with the festive moods.

Almost, because the final step adds the varnishes; both matt and glossy, showcasing versatility and finesse of the Océ Arizona, for your satisfaction.

Kreative Labs is specialised in highly customized printing and cutting solutions; from high-end teak and plywood to acrylic and metal to meet any client’s requirements.

For enquiries on customized gift ideas, please contact info@kreativelabs.com.sg or visit www.kreativelabs.com.sg.


Canon’s Short-Throw Projector and Presenter Show A Promising Glimpse Into the Future

The future of interactive teaching and learning is about to go through makeshift changes with the Canon’s Short-Throw Projector (LV-WX300USTi). This state-of-the-art interactive technology allows its users to create an immersive, engaging, and collaborative experience that promises a new dimension to educational and corporate presentation, and teaching and training programs.

It’s taught by Training Industry that the average adult’s ability to sustain attention lingers around the 20-minute mark, risking the subject’s learning capabilities to meander off after just 20 minutes.

Canon’s innovation with their projector and presenter pairing revolutionises how presentations are given, and how information is presented, all by enhancing and encouraging audience interactions.

In a conversation we had with Sebastian Tay, Creative Director at DW WORKSHOP, light was shed on day-to-day constraints that disrupted common workflow necessities.

“Having a new setup, we faced problems with our space configurations, which led to limited ways of presenting information,” said Tay, which emphasised the useful Ultra Short-Throw feature of the LV-WX300USTi projector. This feature eliminates space limitations by its ability to project 80” diagonal images when the projector is placed just 11” from the screen.

The other features that come with are equally cutting edge. The projection essentially becomes a huge writing board, and with its one touch solution. This grants the ability to make real-time edits to documents, be it an Excel spreadsheet, or a PDF file. Up to four users can write or draw on the projection at the same time with its Finger Touch module, creating a more engaging and interactive experience in a team environment.

Live recording of any presentation makes it all the easier to share the presentations right away, and the integral brightness of projection is powered by 3000 lumens, adding the necessary force to the presentation. That, in turn, is matched by the sensitivity of the projection, making each edit and presentation seamless.

“With the latest technology, it helps us with productivity and the ability to adapt to today’s fast moving information world,” continued Tay, adding on to the immediacy that Canon has provided. “We’ve known Canon for their ability to produce good colours, from their cameras, printers, and down to their projectors.”

“It is important that we don’t spend unnecessary amounts from our budget on products that are unable to support us in maximising needs, efficiency, and the ease of use.”

Quite rightly so; the LV-WX300USTi starts you off with impeccable ease in installation and calibration, making the interface all the simpler to access.

Mr. Tay paid homage to Canon’s innovation and service excellence, the qualities that have kept him a loyal patron of Canon from 2004.

“We have good support from the Canon staff who have helped us in introducing the right projectors by duly understanding our challenges,” Tay ends. “We appreciate the long term support that we have been getting from Canon since our days of using their copier back in 2004.”

Along with the LV-WX300USTi projector, Canon’s Presenter (PR-1000R) allows for easier transition between slides and pages in a document more coherent and flawless.

In today’s world, where the paradigm of presentations is bordering on change, Canon’s short-throw projector and presenter force the issue with interactive learning experience, almost creating a new-age learning environment.

Such innovation in a constantly improving world doesn’t come about without Thinking Big. With Canon, the future looks all the brighter.

We’ve all seen through steady changes in our everyday lives over the past few years, with innovations and inventions setting us free from the shackles that once held our imaginations back. 2016 was no different, this time pushing for change in things we’d already gotten comfortable with; case in point, Apple’s push towards wireless earphones.

Let’s take a look at what 2017 may have in store for us.

Augmented/Virtual Reality

Admittedly a trend that started a while back, utilising high resolution mobile phones, the idea of augmented or virtual reality still looms over the wait for that one perfect app, one that will further change and enhance how we experience entertainment, or even get ourselves educated.

Ideas and innovations have been expressed through the year’s TV and film, and Pokémon Go did tremendously well to set some exciting precedence. So whilst the ideas are in place, we are hopeful that 2017 will go one further to materialise them.


Autonomous Cars

We enter 2017 with a better understanding of artificial intelligence than ever before, and that has allowed the likes of Google and Tesla to develop autonomous, or self-driving, cars. Coupling that with improvements in radar, GPS, and cameras, self-driving car have inched closer to revolutionising the automotive industry.

This clip of a Tesla Autopilot predicting a crash a second before it happened is both exciting and somewhat disconcerting, but autonomous cars looks set to take the next step in 2017.


The Internet of Things (IoT)

Smart technology has proved to be the staple of high-end houses, but now looks to be heading towards the egalitarian, and opening up the Internet of Things to all other consumers. 2017 promises to be exciting, in which you find ways to control your household appliances and gadgets with the swipe your phone, instead of having to walk or talk.

With that, there will be the competition amongst brands to be your smart home hub solution, with Google, Amazon, and Apple amongst the front-runners.


The Cloud

One more for the enterprises, something that will probably have elevated from a luxury, to a must-have. Dan Jones, contributing author at IT Pro Portal, predicts companies around the world to struggle with their digital transformation efforts, anticipating companies to take their cloud strategies to the next level in an effort to bridge the divide between the two modes of IT in 2017. This will include migrating workloads from existing public clouds to private clouds on-premises

To the everyday user of technology and Internet, the cloud essentially represents your private locker room. And whilst you can buy a 5TB hard-disk for $99, the cloud provides a whole ecosystem with the necessary security needed by enterprises.


Conversational Systems

The chatbot craze that ended 2016 looks set to follow through on to 2017, letting you interact with all sorts of apps by texting. “To what end?” you question, but research firm Gartner believes that this is all just the beginning. Texting to apps or speaking to devices (much like Amazon’s Alexa) to perform tasks for us has become more common than imagined, but one day all of our intelligent objects should have some form of conversational interface.

Business app giant Oracle is already building chat bots for its app, and TMA Associates believe that conversational user interfaces should lead to a $600 billion market by 2020. Healthy too, seeing as 2017 isn’t all too far away from the projected timeline.


Do you know what a dot matrix printer is?

If you have ever worked in an office setting a decade or two ago, you will know what it is — or at least have heard of it. A dot matrix printer is a printer that produces characters and illustrations by striking pins against an ink ribbon much like an old school typewriter. These printers are famous for making a ruckus in the office because they tend to be unbearably loud. They are also particularly troublesome because ink ribbons have to be replaced often (they are hard to come by these days) and they require special carbonless paper to print on.

Yet, many companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), still use dot matrix printers. Dawood Exports is a Singapore-based company that procures and distributes European grocery lines, such as olive oil, Italian pasta and coffee machines, around Southeast Asia. And because they do a lot of deliveries on a day-to-day basis, they, too, relied heavily on dot matrix printers for invoicing work — at least they did before they approached Canon Singapore last year for a smarter, better solution.

We spoke to Siti Khadijah and Zarina Castillo, the Administrative Executive and Account Assistant Manager from Dawood Exports, to find out more.

Question: What was the invoicing workflow like in the past?

Siti: Once we receive an order, we print the invoices out on three-ply carbonless paper using the dot matrix printer. Our deliverymen will then bring the invoices out with them on their delivery runs. Once the customer receives the delivery, he will sign the invoices. He keeps one copy as a receipt, and the deliveryman will bring the other two back to the office for processing.

Question: What about the processing workflow?

Zarina: Once back at the office, I would manually track the invoices, making sure that everything matches with the supporting documents. This is very important for accounting purposes. I also had to make sure that the documents were filed in running numbers, so it is easier for us to refer to them in the future. Everything was done manually.

Question: Before adopting Canon’s business solutions in 2016, what were your main pain points?

Zarina: Sometimes the deliverymen would forget to get invoices signed, or they do not bring the invoices back at all. This meant that I had to manually go through the delivery orders to check who made the delivery, track him down and chase him for the invoices. And because the invoicing process used to be manual, mistakes happened. It was also very tedious and time consuming. Hard copies of the invoices also quickly took up space in the office.

Siti: Dot matrix printers need special ink ribbons and papers to print, and we often had to manually staple them together, which wastes a lot of time especially if you consider that we have more than 100 delivery orders every day. And dot matrix printers are loud and distracting.

Question: With Canon Solutions now a part of Dawood Exports, how has that process changed for you?

Siti: Instead of printing invoices on dot matrix printers, we use Canon’s multifunctional printers, which print standard A4 paper. This means no more ink ribbons, carbonless paper and noise.

Zarina: For me, the biggest change is in the documentation process. All I have to do now is to scan these invoices, and Canon Solutions’ software will take care of the rest by automatically sorting and storing digital copies in the server. It is much easier to retrieve, and I can get an overview of the invoices via an Excel spread sheet. And since everything is stored in the server, it frees up space in the office.

Question: Was it difficult to transit from the old system to the new?

Siti: Of course. We had been using the old system for a very long time, so it was not easy to switch overnight. We had to relearn many of the processes. But Canon knew our challenges from the start and had a representative down to explain the entire process to us, making sure that we knew how to use Canon Solutions and its software.

Zarina: Every company is different, and Dawood has our own unique requirements too. What makes Canon different is that they were able to customise their solutions to our needs. For example, we already had a pre-existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Canon’s software is able to work seamlessly with what we have, and we didn’t have to purchase anything new. It was plug-and-play. Very painless.

Siti: And their technicians are always on call so if we have any problems, it is not difficult to quickly get in touch with someone and have a problem solved.

For more case studies and business solutions to power up your startup or SME, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn for the latest updates!