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 user 2006-06-06 at 12:42:00 pm Views: 72
  • #15778

    A tale of two technologies
    Colour is the word with 88 percent of medium businesses deploying colour printers-inkjet or laser.Printers are a crucial segment in the information technology sector.
    It is volume-driven both in terms of revenues and units and also among the most dynamic. The concept of printing in the last couple of years has undergone a paradigm shift. One of the major reasons for this can be attributed to the rapid growth in printing technology. Rapid technological changes, reduced costs (both of printers and consumables), high usage of Internet, increasing functions and features in printers and multi functional devices (MFDs) have contributed to the growth of imaging and printing devices.

    Strong hold of network printers
    Organisations are investing in network printers to enhance cost efficiencies. This is an encouraging trend and will have implications for printer manufacturers. The most common network printing implementation is a print server accepting print jobs from clients tied to the server via a network cable.Says Samir Shah, Country Category Manager, Shared Printing and Connectivity, IPG, HP India, “Improved productivity along with reduced cost of network printers have led to the technology being favoured by medium enterprises. The increased IT adoption phenomena along with the use of the Internet have also aided the penetration of network printers.”Most respondents agree that efficient management of printing activities can save time and cost, and network printers provide these features. Informs Anand Sengupta, Head of IT Department, Daikin India, “We prefer network printing as it reduces our running cost and saves time. Our employees are using more than five network printers and these printers are helping us to reduce our running cost. Investing in network printers lets us monitor and control the cost of printing.” Mid-sized organisations with over 500 employees are realising that printing costs can be substantial if they aren’t controlled. Costs can escalate when organisations expand.A couple of years ago aspects like speed, functionality, and availability of printer drivers were the basis for choosing a product. The features that most enterprises now consider are workflow enhancement and degree of control from the desktop.

    Inkjet scores over laser
    The key driver for growth would be PC bundling by major vendors. Medium enterprises and homes will remain the biggest buyers of bundled offerings. As per the survey, penetration of inkjet printers is relatively higher (85 percent) than lasers (55 percent) in the colour printer category. 88 percent of medium business houses are using colour printers. Colour inkjets have a stronger presence amongst medium businesses. This segment is slowly shifting to personal laser printers due to high printing and maintenance cost and lower print quality of inkjet printers and all-in-ones (AIOs). Ajay Tyagi, Manager, Systems, Relaxo Footware informs, “We look out for good after sales and service support as well as price and technology. Printers should consume less ink which reduces our running cost.”This segment uses a mix of both lasers and inkjets. Their buying pattern is centered on current and future printing requirements, the cost of printing, option of networking, and sturdiness and performance. The users of this segment, besides looking for low-cost printing, also demand a number of in-built features. Features like multiple card readers, ability to be networked and security are all important. Says Som Gangopadhyay, Marketing Head, Office Systems and Solutions, Canon India, “The high penetration of inkjet printers is on account of the fact that medium businesses are cost conscious. Though inkjet printers have better penetration, these companies are shifting towards laser printers. Enterprises should not look at the cost of purchase of printers but at the TCO (total cost of ownership). The various efficiencies that are introduced due to the use of printers are also important.”There has been an ongoing debate on which of these two technologies (laser and inkjet) is superior. However, many analysts believe that the two technologies will co-exist for sometime. Says Natesh Mani, Executive Director, New Office Group, Xerox India, “We see a major shift from inkjet to laser printers driven by the low equipment cost which makes laser printers extremely affordable. Laser printers have emerged as solutions which vendors and partners can position as a must-have for most corporate buyers.”
    Research highlights
    * In the colour printer category, penetration of inkjet printers is relatively higher (85 percent) than laser printers (55 percent).
    * Penetration of colour printers among medium enterprises is 88 percent and is as high as 91 percent in manufacturing.
    * Colour MFDs have the highest penetration in IT/ITeS (26 percent).

    MFDs find middling acceptance
    It is primarily the medium businesses and SOHO segments that are driving the consumption of MFDs, since large corporates with heavy-duty usage usually prefer standalone devices. Going forward, this segment will contribute substantially to the growth of laser printers and low-end MFDs.Explains Shah, “The various functionalities of MFDs along with the reduction in prices have led to better penetration of entry-level MFDs among medium enterprises.”In laser printers, SOHOs and SMBs are standardising on entry-level standalone and MFD models. This is primarily driven by low acquisition costs and low cost per page. Informs, Mahesh Chand Gupta, Senior Manager, IT, Jagatjit Industries, “We have seven plants and 13 depots where we are using eight MFDs. These MFDs are for both entry and high level. While making any decision to purchase MFDs we will consider the quality and the price.”Reasons for going colour with laser MFDs are convenience, increased security, fast turnaround and savings on cost. Ability to connect as a network printer and reduced total cost of ownership are also key factors. Gangopadhyay informs, “Lower TCO, easy availability, proper after sales and services support and advanced technology have helped the adoption of high-end MFDs.”Other factors spurring the growth of high-end MFDs in the document management space are decreasing acquisition and operation costs. With prices falling to affordable levels, MFDs are today seen as the first choice as an input device for many document management solutions.