HubCast, an Amazon.com for Commercial Print Jobs, Takes a Traditional Process to the Cloud

8/31/10Follow @xconomy

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your marketing materials for physical distribution in a city across the globe, you can opt to get them produced at a printer in your destination city, eliminating shipping costs and preventing the hassle of a package getting held up in customs and not arriving on time, LaVigne says.

OK, so what if you’re a business that’s been working with the same commercial printing operation for a while now and they seem to have all your specifications down to a T and you’re concerned that other printers won’t get your signature company color right? “Coke red has to be Coke red everywhere,” LaVigne acknowledges. (Xconomy green always needs to be Xconomy green, for that matter.)

To address that issue, the HubCast system doesn’t just include the cloud-powered ordering technology and consumer interface, but also hardware for taking those orders and standardizing elements like colors across all printers in the company network. “Everyone is tuning into the same pitch,” LaVigne says, comparing the printing hardware to the music standardization.

Another component of HubCast’s patent-pending technology is real-time pricing algorithms, which make getting a quote on a commercial print job just as speedy as looking up the cost of airline tickets on sites like Expedia.com. Traditionally there’s much more of a lag if customers were to call a printer to ask for a quote on a job, LaVigne says.

Speaking of prices, a one-year subscription to HubCast’s pro service costs about $100 a year. LaVigne wouldn’t reveal HubCast sales figures, but says the company is “doing well” financially.

In much the same way that shoppers on a site like Amazon don’t have to worry about communicating with and managing individual merchants, but instead only focus on getting their products, HubCast is looking to do most of the back-end work of handling printers and print jobs. “As a customer, you don’t have to worry about communicating with printers,” he says. “Your only concern is HubCast.”

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