Get your instant photography back on with the Kodak Printomatic Instant Print Camera

Carrie Sylvester
Jan 17, 2018

Remember the days of using an instant camera to take pictures of your family or friends and excitedly waiting for the picture to “develop” in front of your eyes? It was cool, right? Well there are some companies out there trying to make instant photography cool again. Enter Eastman Kodak and its licensee C+A Global, who introduced the Printomatic, a point and shoot camera with built-in printer, in September 2017. Read more »

How is Your Firm Getting Into the Solution?

Sheryne Glicksman
Jan 12, 2018

In Q4 of 2017, we surveyed 179 IT decision-makers within the indirect channels for office equipment deployed across the United States. Respondents included office equipment dealers (OED) and IT resellers. For this survey, we used revenue ranges to define the size of establishment. Those with annual revenue of less than $10 million were grouped as small OED and IT Resellers while large OED and IT resellers have revenues of at least $10 million.

It’s Time to Get Inside the Solution
Software is on average only 11% of total revenues. As you can see from the chart below, software is a higher percentage of sales among the large IT resellers (17% of total revenue). What can you do to increase your software revenues? Based on our last two dealer surveys, we know that solutions selling has been a growth priority for dealers in our channel for the past two years. So why is this number not increasing faster, and what are you doing differently this year to change your strategy? What’s working well for you, and what can you improve on? The software solutions that you market to your customers are the tools needed to effect change within an organization. It’s not about the name of the software solution. It’s all about how the software solution tool can help improve something that is challenging to your customer. What stories have you told to help your customers realize you understand their pain? How educated are your sales reps on how these tools help customers in specific ways?

Figure 1. What is the percentage of revenue for the following areas of your business?

Revenue Growth Areas

Workflow & business process solutions, managed IT services, security service and mobility were noted as the top four areas for revenue growth. Workflow and business process solutions are intended to help companies be more efficient and eliminate manual processes. Are you speaking to your customers about their frustrations around manual processes? The software tools available to eliminate these frustrations are the catalyst for change. Are you developing your own managed IT division or partnering with an expert in managed IT? When it comes to security, are you having discussions around security infrastructure, ransomware, and security around print behaviors? These discussions will certainly lead you down the path of making recommendations to alleviate your customers security challenges. Our forecasts show that mobile print is expected to grow to a $118 million-dollar business by 2020. How are you planning to capture some of this revenue?

Figure 2. What areas do you see the greatest opportunity for revenue growth in next 3 years?

Leverage Your Partners

How do you message your expertise to potential customers? What vertical markets have brought you success? If these are areas of growth for your establishment, how will you align sales and marketing efforts to reflect these new focus areas? What areas are part of your strategic initiatives this year? Technical sales support, more education and training, sales enablement and data analytic tools all ranked at some level of importance for our survey respondents. When it comes to sales enablement tools and data analytics, this got me thinking about all the tools each of you have access to in our channel ecosystem. Are you leveraging all the information in these tools? Bringing data to life is real. I believe we all want immediate insights into data that help drive business decisions. We want the data up to the minute, in real time, in motion. We also want it simple to understand so we can act on it. We can help you improve your software revenues. Contact me today for a complimentary executive briefing to discuss how #icanhelpbringyourdatatolife

Workflow in 2018: What’s Included in the Package?

Pat McGrew
Jan 10, 2018

In 2017 we walked the workflow, followed an audit trail, and ended with the admonition that your workflow is not proprietary. That last post might have seemed odd, but the reason for the post evolved out of countless conversations with printers who see their workflow as their Intellectual Property. It is understandable to want to protect processes that make a business unique and provide a competitive advantage, but when broken down the optimized workflow process has four components: Creating the content, getting the print job on-boarded, manipulating and managing the job files through to the RIP, and the RIP and Digital Front End (DFE).

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A Snapshot of the Photo Card Market from a Door

David Haueter

Most of us get photo cards around the Holiday’s but not many of us save them. My girlfriend is an exception, as she has the interesting practice of keeping all the cards she receives over the Holidays on the door to her garage for the rest of the year. It’s a nice tradition; because it spruces up an otherwise dull door and lets you see pictures and memories from your friends and family all year long. To me, it also provides a touchstone for how the photo card market is doing. Although one person is not a solid benchmark, my girlfriend’s door serves as a good reflection on what I believe is happening in the overall market for photo cards.

Of the 32 total cards on her door, 16 included a personal photo and 16 were off-the-shelf greeting cards (mostly Hallmark). All 16 of the photo cards were flat, with not a single folded card to be found in the bunch. There was only one 4” x 8” photo card out of the 16, as her friends have moved predominantly to larger format cards, and several of those larger format cards were printed on heavier stock paper. The majority of the photo cards she received were ordered from Shutterfly.

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ECi Software Solutions Acquires PrintFleet

Steve Pearl
Jan 5, 2018

Consolidation in the document imaging space continues, with ECi Software Solutions adding PrintFleet to its portfolio of business-management tools for office equipment dealers. That makes ECi the purveyor of two of the leading fleet-management platforms that underpin MPS (managed print services) practices. The company acquired FMAudit in 2011 to expand its dealer-focused software portfolio. According to ECi, this latest acquisition represents its commitment to the field service industry by expanding its service offerings and providing a global reach in print and service management. The President of PrintFleet, Chris McFarlane, will continue in his position—as part of ECi’s Field Service Division. Ron Books will maintain his role as ECi’s CEO.

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2017 Camera Wrap-Up – Where Have all the Cameras Gone…

Carrie Sylvester
Dec 22, 2017

Where have all the cameras gone….

For the past several years we have done a year-end round up of the cameras that were introduced. It’s always an interesting exercise to look at what features and technologies camera vendors have chosen to feature in their products.

This year, the list of features was long but the number of camera models was not. You may think – is it just me or were there not as many new cameras introduced? Well you’d be right to think there were fewer cameras coming to the U.S. market. There were 33 new camera models that came to market in the U.S. since January 1, 2017 – 24 fewer than in 2016. In 2016 the US market saw 57 models introduced, 72 models in 2015 and 98 models in 2014. (Source: Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends U.S. Camera Model Tracker**).

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Impact Makes an Impact!

Sheryne Glicksman
Dec 21, 2017

I had the pleasure of attending Impact Networking Fall Technology Showcase in Chicago last month. What a wonderful event this mega-dealer puts on for their customers and prospects who attend the show each year.

I was told that Impact started in a garage back in 1999 and in less than 2 years moved to a 6,000-square foot location in downtown Chicago. Flash forward to today, they are now one of the top mega-dealers with several locations in the United States and revenues over $100M.
Talk about business transformation! Here’s what Cory Carnes, Illinois General Sales Manager & Partner had to say: “While Impact’s business in the office equipment industry is thriving, we will continue to heavily invest in our internal resources to grow our market share in Managed Services. Evolutions in technology demand robotic process automation and cybersecurity and as a result, we project aggressive growth in areas of Managed IT, Design and Marketing and Business Process Automation.

Check out their website: http://www.impactnetworking.com/ and the photo taken during my evening walk after the event.

At the Fall Technology Showcase, the hospitality was spot on. I was informed that it was a good thing that I came early because they were expecting over 600 people in the two days of the Chicago location show. The energy and professionalism showed throughout the day. Young talent and old school professionals coming together for a common theme to show customer appreciation, support and thankfulness. All attendees were given a turkey when they left! Since I was flying back to Florida the next day, I asked that my turkey be donated to the homeless.
Vendors were on site to show their support and to highlight some of the new features related to platforms and applications on the MFP and the benefits associated with them. Scanning was top of mind with customers asking about more sophisticated scanning workflow options and security associated with the MFP. There was excitement around inkjet and production. Specialists were there to support the sales reps and customers with great dialogues around workflow, business process optimization and IT processes.
Many of the sales reps and sales managers raved about our BLIQ tool that they use for business on a regular basis and they were happy to introduce me as a business partner. I was more than thrilled to be at the event this year and I’m looking forward to continued collaborations with the team at Impact Networking.
As mentioned in a recent Chicago Times article about another Impact meeting, “fun events fuel corporate and personal growth.” This is what Impact Networking culture is all about and it showed at their Fall Technology Showcase 2017.

What are you doing to show your impact in today’s market?

#icanhelpbringyourdatatolife

Sharp #Pulse17. The Next Revolution

Sheryne Glicksman
Dec 6, 2017

Did you know that the S-Curve is used to determine performance regarding time and effort?  It assists in determining the level of maturity of an industry or a product. We have moved from an evolution of people following processes supported by technology to technology driving processes supported by people.

This is where we need to carve out our next S-Curve. After attending Sharp’s National Dealer meeting in Phoenix last week, I can see where Sharp is nicely positioned with their view of the Smart Ecosystem and the Evolution of Work.

Said Doug Albregts, President and CEO, “Foxconn closely partners with the world’s leading IT tech organizations such as Apple, Amazon, Intel, Google, and Microsoft, and in aggregate knows very intimately, the direction and future of the IT industry. With Foxconn being Sharp’s parent company, we now have a seat at the big table and has access to technology and a stronger “pulse” of IT.”

Starting today, Sharp has 20+ new MFP’s  that provide the customer with the same user experience regardless of the make and model of the product. This uniformity of design, common user interface, common accessories and supplies with same toner, developer and drum provides significant benefits when it comes to streamlining operations and stabilizing cost per copy for managed print services programs. It was stated that the multi-functional copier is still important to the ecosystem today and into the future. Sharp’s core business products start with the multi-functional copier and display because of the synergy of both products sitting on the network which is perfect for the SMB space.
The bridge of investments into the future consist of robotics, water generation, 8K, monitors and NAS. The access to this technology will drive the future of the Smart Home & Smart Office giving us more flexibility, collaboration in the workspace and ability to work anywhere. This equates to the Smart Life concept that Sharp has its pulse on since Foxconn makes almost 50% of the world’s electronic devices.

Products such as the world’s largest 70” wall monitor state of the art Aquos Board that you have to experience to understand it, Thecus networked attached storage device, Skywell water generation, smart signage and the security robot drew much attention in the product showcase. There were 10 new smart signage boards introduced that are simple and easy to use.
Sharp’s branding of AIoT combining artificial intelligence and internet of things together realizing a smart society with people oriented IOT with the product, platform and service at its core showed us examples of how 5G will allow us to connect our things at a faster speed soon. 5G will provide us with 10 times the download speed needed to use all the things we connect to the internet.

The future ecosystem will focus on 8k (the highest ultra-high definition television resolution) which is driving the need for 5G. Data collection analysis will spark new ideas for new business opportunities. With Sharp’s history of creativity of over 100 years, you can clearly see how committed they are to innovation with a new business vision that will change the world by creating the seeds for new industry advancements.

Sharps vision of the smart office was highlighted with the announcement of Alexaforbusiness with the concept of voice being the way people want to interact with a device. The Smart Office combines mobility, cloud and 5G starting with authenticating when you walk into a meeting room to connect to the devices you need that day wherever you go leveraging your existing infrastructure. It provides us all with seamless integration across our lifestyles again showing Sharp’s Smart ecosystem innovation.

There were 939 total participants with 605 dealership participants and 166 dealerships represented.

Today, it is apparent that Sharp has their pulse on the technology needed to win in business now and into the future. #Pulse17 was a fabulous event!

#icanhelpbringyourdatatolife

Fuji Xerox Iridesse – Two specialty colours is better than one

Ralf Schlozer

Less than a year ago, InfoTrends published a multi-client study: “Beyond CMYK: The Use of Special Effects in Digital Printing”. Not only did we find that many printers voiced a strong interest in specialty colours and the desire to have several effects as an option, they also indicated that having two specialty colour stations in the press is their preferred option.

Less than a year later, Fuji Xerox launched the Iridesse Production Press at the Fuji Xerox Premier Partner Conference on the 14th of November in Bangkok for the Asia Pacific market.

For the first time in dry toner production printing, a print engine has been equipped to print six-colours, adding two colour channels to complement process colour print with different specialty colours, including metallic, in a single pass. The Iridesse houses up to two additional specialty toners of gold, silver, clear and white, in addition to standard cyan, magenta, yellow and black. One specialty colour is in front of the CMYK units and one behind, therefore the Iridesse can underprint with one specialty colour, and overprint with another (or the same) in one pass.

Fuji Xerox also revamped toners. CMYK toners are made of Super EA Eco toner, which is Fuji Xerox’s smallest particle size toner to date, citing a particle size of 5 micron for the colour toner. The Super EA Eco toner is able to fuse quickly at a low temperature, and is able to evenly transfer six layers of toners. Another patented improvement is flat metal flakes being embedded into the metallic toner particles. The flat metallic flakes should improve the shininess of metallic prints, and some improvement over the gold toner of the Color 1000i can be noticed – although digital metallic print remains far less shiny than foiling or the like.

A unique feature of the Iridesse is being able to print hues of metallic tones in one pass, by printing silver or gold first and overprinting it with CMYK. Other toner printers would need multi-pass printing, and in offset printing each of the metallic hues would need to be mixed first. This can reduce the effort drastically in hitting metallic effects beyond plain silver or gold. The press supports metallic colours found in colour catalogues such as Pantone Metallic and Pantone Premium Metallic. By using these colour swatches, the operator can reproduce colours similar to Pantone metallic colours by simply designating the colour codes. Also, since the press offers more hues than found in the Pantone swatches, Fuji Xerox has a range of predefined metallic colours on top.

Print sample showing metallic overprinted with CMYK

 

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News Flash! Your Workflow is NOT Proprietary

Pat McGrew
Dec 4, 2017

As we approach the end of the calendar year, it is a good time to take a look at your workflow. If you have been following the earlier blogs, there is a road to travel to ensure that you have the most efficient workflow, from the point you begin to sell a job to the point where you deliver it. And while it is true that every workflow should be developed to meet the needs of the operation it supports, it is also true that it is very, very rare to find a workflow that meets the criteria to be proprietary.

Workflows have physical, data, and file-based components woven together to ensure that work that is sold is onboarded promptly and correctly, scheduled, and executed. Physical workflows are how you move substrates to and among your devices and through to fulfillment. Data workflows describe how data moves into the organization from customers, and then through the organization into accounting and production. Data not only includes the information needed for managing the order in the accounting system, but also the order and fulfillment specifications, as well as the data that follows the job through each workflow touchpoint. It is machine data as well as data captured from the production systems. In VDP printing environments it can also encompass the data used to create the VDP work if it isn’t delivered as a print-ready file. The file-based components areprincipally the print-ready files, but could also include font and graphic assets, dieline files or other supporting documents.

Read more »

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