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 user 2007-04-30 at 10:55:00 am Views: 29
  • #17918

    A Multifunctional and Colored World
    analysts say that more and more printing vendors are getting the memo
    that businesses want multifunctional color printers instead of just
    those that are single function and monochrome.With the amount of
    information increasing everyday, the printing industry has become
    important for businesses that have an array of printing
    needs.”Information is importantly internally and externally for most
    businesses as the amount of information increases everyday,” Susan
    Lyon, Research Director of the Framingham, Mass.-based IDC Hardcopy
    Peripherals and Document solutions, told eWEEK.When talking about
    printers in the business world, there are many different categories
    that a printer can fall into such as inkjet, laser, color laser, single
    function printer and multifunctional peripherals (MFP’s), which is a
    single device that serves several functions including printing,
    scanning, faxing and copying. Two important trends in the printing
    industry today concern color printers and MFP’s, as both combine to
    replace single function printers.According to IDC’s “Worldwide Hardcopy
    Peripheral Tracker Quarterly”, single function printers between the
    year’s 2005-2010 will decline about 3.7 percent per year due to being
    replaced by MFP’s.

    Two printer companies that are taking
    advantage of the MFP trend are Hewlett-Packard and Xerox Corporation,
    both of which launched MFP rollouts within the past year.IDC’s
    “Worldwide Hardcopy Peripheral Tracker Quarterly” included Xerox in its
    top five MFP providers, along with Canon Inc., Ricoh Co., Ltd and
    Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc.”Today, the MFP is a
    sophisticated device with all the power and capabilities of a server,
    including hard drives, operating systems, and network and Internet
    support,” David Bates, vice president of product marketing for the
    Stamford, Conn.-based Xerox, told eWEEK.This past February, Xerox
    released two color multifunction devices, the Xerox Phaser 8560 and
    Phaser 6115MFP, which enables business users to print up to 55 pages
    per minute (ppm) and also gives them copying, scanning and faxing
    functionalities.”The complexity of everyday work is driving customers
    to replace their local printers with MFPs because with the added
    functionality, end users now have the ability to make a quick copy,
    scan or fax without having to walk down the hall, increasing
    productivity,” Bates said.HP, not included as a top five MFP provider
    believes that they are right on the cusp of being a top MFP provider
    because they see the value that it brings to business
    professionals.”MFPs are a great value for businesses because they
    combine multiple capabilities in a single device and can also be used
    to improve workflow within a business,” Tom Codd, Director of Outbound
    Marketing for LaserJet Business for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP,
    told eWEEK.This past October, HP rolled out LaserJet MFPs designed to
    help businesses improve their “business agility, effectiveness and
    costs related to the imaging and printing ecosystem,” Codd said.The
    MFPs that were launched by HP in October, the HP LaserJet M3035 MFP,
    M4345 MFP and M5035 MFP, enable business users to print up to 35 pages
    per minute while also offering advanced digital sending with paper
    handling and finishing capabilities.”HP will continue to provide new,
    MFP solutions and services that optimize printing infrastructure and
    enable better management, as well as HP MFP solutions that help SMBs
    and enterprises transform their printing and imaging business processes
    and improve workflow so that customers can concentrate on profitably
    running and growing their business,” Codd said.

    Minolta’s, one of the top five MFP providers according to IDC, bizhub
    leads their MFP offerings and provides business professionals with the
    usual MFP capabilities but also adds security features such as hard
    disk drive overwrite and job erase, which enables users to overwrite a
    hard disk drive after each job while also featuring user authentication
    option that allows a user to enable or disable a user’s access to the
    device based on function whether it is copy, scan, print or
    fax.”Implementing the Konica Minolta bizhub solution not only saves IT
    support staff time, it streamlines document workflow and eliminates the
    need for redundancies, as Konica Minolta’s MFP products and software
    solutions deliver digital connectivity and improved workflow
    capabilities,” Kevin Kern, vice president of product planning and
    development for the Ramsey, NJ-based Konica Minolta Business Solutions
    U.S.A. Inc., told eWEEK.For the future, Konica Minolta hopes to keep
    adding to its MFP product line while also developing new MFP
    technologies that will allow their company to stay in the market.For
    example, Konica Minolta developed Printgroove, to be released in the
    Spring of 2007, printing software that allows business users to manage
    their print queues, monitor device status as well as the ability to
    preview jobs before they are printed.”Looking forward, Konica Minolta
    expects its MFPs to continue to grow in market share as these
    technologies continue to be exposed to in the market,” Kern
    said.According to the report done by IDC, another noted trend in the
    printing industry is the increased use of color in both laser printers
    and color laser MFPs. The report points out that the color laser MFP
    industry alone will be a 5.7 billion dollar industry by 2010, growing
    in unit at 17 percent in value and 10 percent per year.

    “Prices are falling and customers are appreciating the value of having color,” Lyon said.
    Grant, Managing VP of Printing Markets Research for the Stamford,
    Conn.-based Gartner, Inc. agrees with Lyon that color is important in
    the printing industry as he said that “Color is here to stay and
    vendors need to provide the right value for it.”Leading the way in the
    color print market is HP, who is also joined by Canon, Epson Corp.,
    Lexmark International Inc. and Dell Inc.”Color is applied to everything
    in the workplace from presentations to marketing collateral and more
    color documents are being created from spreadsheets to e-mails to
    flyers,” Codd said.IDC’s report also shows that color laser printers
    will grow at 17 percent and that growth will come from everywhere as
    even home users want color printing capabilities.This past October, HP
    also launched new color print platforms, HP LaserJet CM1015 MFP, HP
    ColorSphere Toner, HP LaserJet P3005 series and the HP Color LaserJet
    CP4005, all aimed at giving businesses a better way to manage their
    color printing needs.”Color is increasing in capability and value and
    everything on the Web is in color as customers want to print articles
    and information that is important to them,” Codd added on the value of
    color to the printing industry.

    For Konica Minolta, the user’s need for color quality has driven the company to produce more color printing products.
    the last few years, Konica Minolta has focused on offering high
    productivity color products – from the desktop to the print shop – to
    meet diverse needs of its customers,” Kern said.The company’s Simitri
    HD Toner strengthens the bond of color pigment particles and also
    reduces the effect of chemical change while also having the ability to
    withstand exposure to UV light. This enables Konica Minolta to offer
    users a wider range of colors.”By introducing breakthrough innovation
    and bringing down the cost of color, Konica Minolta has offered users a
    product line that meets a user’s color needs,” Kern said.In the near
    future, Konica Minolta will be introducing seven new color MFPs and the
    company feels this will help keep them in the color market.”Color – and
    technologies associated with providing the best images available on the
    market – have been important to Konica Minolta and will continue to
    play a pivotal role in it being a leader in the color market,” Kern
    said.Printer vendors are also trying to branch out by developing new
    technologies and integrating them into their printer platforms, giving
    business users increased capabilities.”Lots of changes are happening in
    the industry, especially with regards to speeds and prices which offers
    opportunities for some vendors and threats for others and drives the
    development of new technologies,” Grant said.”There are many innovative
    things going on in the printer industry as printers now have the
    ability to print barcodes, consumer goods, calendars, t-shirts while
    also developing new printer applications,” Lyon said.HP joined the
    innovative section of the printer industry by developing a universal
    print driver (UPD), which provides user with a single print driver for
    all HP printing devices. HP’s UPD uses simple network management
    protocol (SNMP) to talk to the printer and then creates a driver and
    user interface that can adapt to the features installed on the device,
    helping to provide the user with a common interface for all printers as
    well as the ability to access features installed on the devices.”A
    universal print driver allows a business user to consolidate and
    simplify print driver management and what HP has done with their UPD is
    extend their competitive advantage and has created a barrier for others
    to get in,” Grant said.”HP sees a tremendous imaging and printing
    growth opportunity in SMB (small and medium-sized businesses) and
    enterprise markets as you’ll continue to see innovative products,
    services and solutions for in-house market as well as enterprise
    solutions and services focused on particular business problems,” Codd
    said.Grant also pointed out that Xerox is trying to get into the UPD
    market because “Xerox has the resources and desire to solve support
    issues via a UPD.”Konica Minolta recently made available its
    Printgroove software, which provides businesses, central reproduction
    departments (CRD) and small- to mid-size print shops with software that
    can manage, monitor and set-up the company’s various bizhub
    multifunction printer (MFPs) platforms, as well as an all-in-one device
    that has printing, scanning, copying and fax capabilities as well as
    various management capabilities.”Printgroove’s modular design allows
    for an exact configuration to target a specific need with the right
    platform, including the ability to handle any traffic volume and
    accommodate as many printing steps and stations as business processes
    demand,” Kern said.All in all, the printing industry is one that
    continues to develop and is one that businesses will continue to rely
    on.”The proportion that gets printed each day may decline over time but
    because there is just so much information, printing is constantly
    increasing,” Lyon said.