AUSTRALIA:COLOR COMES DOWN

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AUSTRALIA:COLOR COMES DOWN

 user 2005-11-09 at 10:48:00 am Views: 78
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    australia:Colour comes down
    ENTERPRISE printing is rapidly developing a more colourful face, with the cost of a colour-printed page closing on its black-and-white equivalent, according to printer maker Lexmark.
    Australian managing director Graham Kittle said the market was moving from mono printing to colour faster than many analysts had predicted.
    As well as producing better documents, colour laser printing was becoming more affordable.
    Printers were increasingly able to switch between mono and colour, with smarter software managing output and use permissions, he said.
    Within about two years there would be little difference between the per-page price of a mono or colour page, he said.
    “Certainly, colour is becoming more accessible.”
    Colour units made up 23 per cent of Australian laser printer sales in September, according to IDC figures quoted by Lexmark.
    In September, total market colour sales came to 4434 units, but monthly sales have been as high as 7365 in 2005, according to IDC data.
    Mr Kittle said the amount companies spent on output was about 3 per cent to 5 per cent of total operating expenditure, or about 1 per cent to 3 per cent of revenue.
    Lexmark’s business was split 60-40 between enterprise and consumer, but consumer had “caught up” between 5 per cent and 10 per cent over the past five years, he said
    Nevertheless, the company had been building its resources for the enterprise and government market. This included the establishment of a North Sydney facility to showcase its wares and work with customers.
    Improved print management was a growth area, in a way similar to growth in data storage and management over the past five years, Mr Kittle said.
    “It’s quite strategic,” he said. “It responds well to being tightly managed.”
    As part of its “output optimisation roadmap”, Lexmark was working with customers in a number of areas, including workflow optimisation, he said. “The cheapest page is the one you don’t print.”
    The final progression of this strategy was printing as a managed service, he said. Managed services currently made up about 30 per cent of Lexmark’s business, up from 20 per cent two years ago, Mr Kittle said.
    Lexmark also offered managed services through the high end of its channel under an arrangement known as “wholesale total care”, he said.
    Partners that offered managed printing services typically had similar experience in another area, such as desktop, he said.
    About 95 per cent of Lexmark’s business in both consumer and enterprise had some level of channel involvement,” he said.
    “We have moved to a channel-friendly model,” he said.
    The company had grown its channel partner numbers by about 30 per cent in the past 18 months, Mr Kittle said.
    In the consumer market, more experienced users were heading towards better photo printing, while new entrants, which typically had little computing experience, were favouring more simple devices, he said.
    “There are a growing number of consumers that are not computer literate that want to print photos,” he said.
    People were also increasingly printing cameras taken with their mobile phones, which had already largely replaced disposable cameras, he said.
    Mr Kittle said Lexmark’s Australian revenue was up year-on-year, but he declined to reveal details.
    Growth areas for the company were high-end colour laser printers, high-end mono printers, and all-in-one print, fax and scan machines, Mr Kittle said.