By Harry Lewis

The AFPC will be having our Fall 2016 meeting in Boulder next week. Members from CDP, Compart, Crawford, EFI, ISIS Papyrus, MPI Tech, Océ-Canon, Pitney Bowes, Ricoh, Solimar and Xerox are planning to attend in person, with additional members participating remotely. Our last meeting in Aix-les-Bains earlier this year resulted in formation of an active Tagging working group. Proposals based on our recent Metadata-1 (Print File) and -2 (Object) architecture will form the basis for, among other things, a possible AFP/UA standard in the future. At the Boulder meeting we will evaluate architectural approaches with the goal of optimizing for critical use cases such as those evolving around the mail piece. We are currently at an early stage in the architecture, but there is no doubt this will lead to powerful solutions in the future for end-to-end AFP workflow as well as enhanced PDF transforms.

In Boulder we will also be working on encryption options for AFP. We are developing a text-based solution aimed at the payment card industry and also investigating the broader notion of object encryption in AFP.

Metadata (beyond TLEs) continues to emerge as a powerful enabler. We will be reviewing conventions for top level metadata in the ISO AFP/A environment. One perpetual question is whether or not metadata will ever flow (via IPDS) to the printer and, if so, for what purpose and under which limitations. We are approaching this topic cautiously so as not to undermine several core strengths of AFP: absolute awareness between the print server and printer and fine control of the production environment. Stay tuned for more on this controversial topic as we refine our approach.

Be sure to check back for an update following the Boulder meeting where I will share more progress in our continual shaping of the future of AFP!