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 user 2005-09-29 at 11:07:00 am Views: 79
  • #12995

    Demand for color grows

    Security and scanning create competitive advantage

    Multifunction products
    (MFP) are making work processes easier and less costly for workgroups
    to copy, print, scan to e-mail, fax and perform general office duties
    on one consolidated device. Shared devices, however, create security
    concerns for offices, which has the interest of copier manufacturers.
    The manufacturers also are busy introducing copier-based MFPs with
    improved color and scanning capabilities.

    Don Dixon, a market analyst at Gartner, based in Stamford, Conn., says
    the copier-based MFP industry will see strong double-digit growth in
    color placements, while monochrome placements will remain flat.
    Suppliers historically strong in the monochrome segments of the market
    are replacing them with color devices, he explains. This year, Gartner
    reports the industry will ship 140,000 copier MFPs, compared to 100,000
    in 2004.

    Dixon says that average selling prices for both monochrome and color
    copier-based MFPs will decline. Prices are falling due to market
    demands and competition from printer-based MFPs. “There is a market for
    printer-centric MFPs with the same output speed, but less durability,
    so of course less cost,” he says.

    Cathy Lewis, senior vice president of marketing, IKON Office Solutions,
    a distributor of copiers, printers and MFPs based in Malvern, Pa., sees
    a 20% plus growth rate for copier-based MFPs this year. Digital
    technology in copier-based MFPs allows for improved scanning
    capabilities as well as for a strong copy function to move quickly to a
    printing function, she says.

    Along with Dixon, she expects price erosion of 5-7% on monochrome devices and 5-10% price erosion on color devices.

    Lewis says that although color is growing in the office, most companies
    are no longer worried about controlling color. “A few years ago, to
    print a color page was 30¢ to 40¢ per page,” she says. “Companies had
    to watch closely to who had access to print color. Today, that same
    color page is under 10¢. Companies are moving to MFPs, where they can
    count the pages and know what they’re spending because that is where
    the cost lays.”
    What’s new

    While corporate buyers move to consolidate de-vices, and more people
    work off a central MFP, security has become an issue, even for the
    general office. “Even a small business that wants to communicate with
    its bank is starting to be concerned with security,” says David Bates,
    director of product marketing at Xerox, based in Stamford, Conn. He
    says identity theft is everybody’s concern, and not just an issue for
    the government and large accounts.

    Not only are security options a trend among copier manufacturers, but
    new federal regulations make security a requirement. Federal
    regulations, like Sarbanes-Oxley, are designed to safeguard information
    reported on copiers and printers. Xerox has certified products that
    comply with government standards to meet growing customer demand, says

    In June, Xerox introduced 18 additions to its CopyCentre, WorkCentre
    and WorkCentre Pro lines of digital copiers and MFP systems. Security
    functionality added to document workflow in the WorkCentre and
    WorkCentre Pro encrypt data traveling on the network to ensure
    unauthorized viewers do not have access to scanned documents en route
    to file servers or other network repositories.

    Scanning is one of the biggest trends impacting office buyers and
    probably moving the fastest, says Bates. Color file sizes, in
    particular, get very large, he says. Enhanced scanning capabilities on
    the new products reduce file sizes of scanned documents up to 50%
    through the Master Raster Content and JBIG2 compression technologies.
    When people scan documents to file servers or fax machines, the smaller
    the file size will reduce network loads and decreases storage space
    required on the server.

    Toshiba is also taking security measures to accommodate customers. It
    announced the e-STUDIO multifunction series in June, which offers
    several optional security capabilities. The Scrambler Board, for
    instance, encrypts the data on the hard-disk drive to be unrecognizable
    if someone tried to steal the disk off the MFP. The Scrambler Board
    then decrypts the document when it is printed out. In addition, network
    authentication asks for a person’s name and password before they gain
    access to the MFP and its scanning and copying capabilities, which
    prevents unauthorized access.

    Another trend, according to Steve Rhorer, the director of product
    marketing at Toshiba, is the growing demand for high-speed color in the
    business environment. “We know that color is growing, and important at
    20-40 ppm, but we are seeing a lot of businesses looking for higher
    speed at 45-55 ppm, in full color. That is emerging right now.”

    Kyocera Mita announced in July its KM-C2630, which offers color imaging
    to meet the industry’s surging demand for color. One feature is its
    auto color calibration technology, which is built in to maintain
    consistent image quality page after page, according to Bill Cassidy,
    the product marketing manager for monochrome MFPs. He says drift color
    is a big issue with color environments, and the technology sets the
    machine to specific intervals so page one looks the same as page 201.

    Other technology on the KM-C2630 are virtual mailboxes. Up to 255
    mailboxes can be set up for mere security and convenience. Each mailbox
    is unique to a user with passcodes. Data can also be accessed directly
    from the control panel by entering the passcode. It only allows the
    person printing the documents to view any output.

    Canon is accommodating workgroups with its two new lines of color
    imageRUNNER 2620 and imageRUNNER C3170 series released in July. Both
    offer MEAP (multifunctional embedded application platform) technology,
    which now allows for more embedded applications. MEAP-enabled devices
    feature virtual mailboxes, which are a big advantage for customers. For
    instance, Greg Ryan, the senior manager for industry and alliance
    marketing for Canon, says that a salesperson traveling throughout the
    country, but still part of their company’s network, can search the
    virtual mailbox and access and print documents and sales presentations
    from any MEAP-enabled device.

    Other features include Universal Send, the PDF high-compression mode on
    the imageRUNNER 2620 series. It compresses file size by 1/20 to scan
    and send documents. Users don’t have to wait to open or send files with
    this option.

    “Canon is the only manufacturer to offer Web capabilities on the
    imageRUNNER 3170 series,” says Paul Albano, manager of product
    marketing for Canon. Users can browse Web pages and download PDF files
    from the control panel and print from the MFP. It’s similar to viewing
    Web pages via a cell phone. Canon’s imageRUNNER series also offers
    security features like encryptio