I decided the take the opportunity to ask the founder and director of Image Computer Systems, John Poole, a few questions about the company and the software they publish.
I’m aware you make more than one type of software. What are they all called and could you summarize their different applications?
EnLabel is a general purpose labelling software which will operate with any printer that has a Windows driver. This includes colour, laser, plotter, inkjet etc. Feedback from users of a wide range of labelling software complement it on its intuitive user interface and minimal mouse clicks to design and print.
LabelDirect is easier to use and understand for Zebra, Datamax, SATO, Toshiba and TSC labelling printers as the printer setting are part of the design interface. Printing is in the printers native language so throughput cannot be any faster because we send less data. For examples barcodes are generated by the printer rather than sending graphics so they are in spec and faster.
With each of the different software you make, which would be more suitable for what environments?
EnLabel suits printers other than the most popular roll labelling printers. LabelDirect is easier to use and understand for Zebra, Datamax, SATO, Toshiba and TSC labelling printers as the printer setting are part of the design interface.
What makes Image Computer Systems stand out against other, larger vendors such as Seagull Scientific and Codesoft?
It is British. Feedback from users of a wide range of labelling software complement it on its intuitive user interface and minimal mouse clicks to design and print. On first impression its ease of use for simple tasks gives the impression that it is not as comprehensive as the main competitors but it has features that the others do not including “datastore” which allows user to create their database directly from within the print screen. LabelDirect also has a version for the TSC range for making powerful SOLO standalone printing systems.
Is there anything new in the pipe work that you have coming out soon?
Our new software is EnLabel X. see www.enlabelx.com This is designed from the ground up taking advantage of our 25 years of experience and also providing the familiar Microsoft Office type user interface which is familiar to so many Windows users. It is likely to be very competitively priced in order to reach a larger market.
Is the software easy to install and do you offer onsite support?
Installation is simple from download. First line support is generally given by dealers who know the printer and media used but high level support is provided by us to dealers or direct to users if integration is necessary.
What is SOLO? How would people benefit from using this system?
SOLO is primarily for factory environments where PC’s would be inappropriate both because of complexity but mostly because of tampering. It is unique in its ability to provide complex labels with database.
Where do you see labelling technology going in the future?
Our emphasis will be in addressing vertical markets more specifically with special plugins and setups for specific industries like chemical, food, hazard, retail etc.
Do you think Image and companies like it would be better off staying in the EEC or coming out?
For our own dealing in selling and buying from the EU and rest of World it would make very little difference to our business. We invoice USA in the same way as we invoice Germany. I think UK will be more prosperous without the burden of European legislation and bureaucracy.
What do you think of the UK labelling market at present?
As is always the way with technology the prices get lower and the support gets worse. When I started in this industry a car at £2000 was the same price as a computer printer. Now the car is £20,000 and the printer is £100. But there is always a small proportion, god bless them, that appreciate a good product.
I think a huge thank you is in order to John Poole for his time and valuable input. It certainly is interesting to see the market from different perspectives and Image Computer Systems certainly isn’t one to be forgotten. Don’t forget that LabelDirect also works with our LabelStation systems.