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Samsung: Smart Printing for the Connected Workplace – Part 1/2

To Apps World at XLR8 2017 at Excel London, and a briefing on Samsung’s vision for the connected workplace, with Brent Richtsmeier, VP of Solutions and Mobility.

A first observation was that Samsung appeared to be the only exhibitor in this vast hall talking about print solutions, and certainly the only representative of the major printer OEMs with a stand there. That may say something about Samsung’s different approach to linking print and workplace solutions, which reflects their heritage in mobile technology.
That is not to say that other printer OEMs are not developing apps to manage workplace solutions, but the fact that none of them chose to exhibit at Apps World may hint at their view of apps, as being add-ons to their hardware, rather the key element in their proposition to customers, which is how Samsung sees Apps – with the added advantage that theirs are based on the ubiquitous Android mobile platform.

A bit of background. By now everyone in the print industry is coming to terms with the fact that print volumes really are in decline, at least in the office, and this is being driven primarily by the digitisation of workflows.

As an interesting aside, the entry into the workplace of millennials, who have grown up with screens, was thought likely to herald a generational change, driving down print volumes further and faster, but that at least now seems not to be the case.
A recent InfoTrends report included research showing that 18-29 year old office workers had an equal, if not slightly higher preference for paper documents, compared with their older colleagues.
Nevertheless print volumes as a whole are going down, and that is squeezing revenue and margins for both printer OEMs and their channel partners.

So of course one of the hottest topics of discussion throughout the industry is how to replace the lost print revenues, with a lot of attention focusing on workflow solutions and apps, to try to get a share of the growing digital activity.

A central element in this thinking has been how to redefine and broaden the role of the office MFP, to leverage not only its printing and scanning functionalities, but also its processing power and connectivity, to make it into a hub for communications and workflow management.

HP has long talked about the MFP as the on-ramp for office documents, and has built on this idea to develop a range of workflow solutions targeting vertical market segments.
This year has seen major announcements from Konica Minolta, with their new concept of the Workplace hub, and Xerox, with its launch of the new VersaLink and AltaLink product families, with Connect Key technology to facilitate workflow management, and development of apps to support this.

 

To succeed in capturing a bigger share of workflows and associated revenues, the print industry needs to take account of some of the big changes taking place in the office and the way people work.

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This article was written on 04 Jul 2017, and is filled under Point of View.

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