Jan 25, 2017
Ricoh announced on January 18th that they had taken their strategic investment into Avanti Computer Systems to the next step by acquiring the company. The acquisition is not a surprise for those that have been watching the workflow story develop at Ricoh. The company acquired MarcomCentral (formerly known as PTI Marketing Technologies Inc.) in 2014 and expanded its software partnerships in recent years.
Avanti is best known as the provider of the Avanti Slingshot print management information system (MIS) targeted to exactly the types of print shops where Ricoh finds success for their Pro C product lines. With Slingshot, Ricoh now has a JDF-certified Print MIS that can be on premise or cloud-based. Its modular, open platform lays the groundwork for integration with other Ricoh software solutions. The platform also provides the ability to distribute business intelligence, plan production and integrate into fulfillment and logistics. For Avanti, they now have the resources of Ricoh to support expansion into Europe and then worldwide.
From the workflow perspective, this acquisition gives Ricoh a tested, mature print MIS. Coupled with the MarcomCentral acquisition and their growing professional services offerings, Ricoh is better positioned to grow their commercial customer base and become more deeply entrenched with the mix of customers they support today. This graphic from the Avanti web page illustrates the modular nature of Avanti’s solution and, as important, the partners that connect into it.
Both companies have stated that the acquisition does not change any existing partnerships, but does this acquisition open the door to some other partnerships for Ricoh? Avanti has a slate of automation partners, including Ricoh competitors Xerox, HP, Esko, EFI, CREO, Aleyant, Konica Minolta, Agfa, Fujifilm and Kodak. Aleyant gives them a path to large format automation with a refined set of prepress tools. Esko opens doors into packaging.
The big question is if this is the slow continuation of an acquisition spree for Ricoh. Avanti makes Ricoh one of the few digital printer vendors who can claim a viable commercial print MIS product in their software tool kit. That gives them a strong foundation to move deeper into the general commercial print market with both their color toner and color inkjet products.
While it will take some time for Ricoh to fully integrate the power of the Avanti solutions into their workflow talk track, it is hard to believe that this is the last stop on the acquisition path Ricoh has been following.
Dec 6, 2016
For the last several years we have done a year-end round up of the cameras that were introduced. It’s always an interesting exercise to take a look back on what features and technologies vendors have chosen to feature in their products.
57 models were introduced between January and December of 2016. Although 57 models is a respectable number, it is a marked drop compared to the 72 models introduced in 2015 and significantly fewer than 2014 when 98 models hit the U.S. market. (Source: InfoTrends U.S. Camera Model Tracker**). Although there were fewer models released this year, there is no shortage of cameras for those looking to buy or upgrade.
We have broken out the introductions by popular features and functions, including Wi-Fi connectivity and mirrorless. Read more »
Nov 30, 2016
LeEco is already established in China, but is bringing its products to North America for the first time, with what it hopes to be market disruptive pricing. In November, a pair of new smartphones (Ecophones) were introduced by LeEco, the Le Pro3 and Le S3. Read more »
The News and Facts
The leadership at Lexmark began a process to explore “strategic alternatives” for the future of the business back in October of 2015. In April 2016, the company announced it would be sold to a consortium of Chinese investors led by Apex Technology and PAG Asia Capital. Now, on November 29th 2016, Lexmark announced its sale has been completed and decisions have been made regarding the strategic decisions of the company.
While Lexmark’s corporate headquarters will remain in Kentucky, long time President Paul Rooke will no longer be leading the company. Instead David Reeder, former Lexmark VP and CFO, will be the company’s new President and CEO. Lexmark also announced two of their key initiatives going forward. The Enterprise Software group, now undergoing rebranding as Kofax, will be split off and subsequently sold. The Imaging Solutions and Services (hardware) division will now focus on “growing the imaging business, particularly in China and the Asia-Pacific region.”
Read more »
Nov 7, 2016
Today, the Mopria Alliance announced that its mobile print technology is now integrated with Samsung Galaxy devices—either through pre-installation or automatic update.
The Mopria-powered “Samsung Print Service” will enable Galaxy users to “easily and intuitively” print content (e.g., photos, documents, web pages) from their mobile device to more than 88 million printers, regardless of printer brand.
Steps for Printing with the New Samsung Print Service (Android Nougat)
Source: Mopria Alliance Read more »
Oct 25, 2016
Since, several of the leading companies in the photo industry have U.S. headquarters in the New York metropolitan area, the PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) is a great “home show” for many industry insiders and professional photographers. PPE draws a healthy contingent from the surrounding metropolitan region and has become one of the must attend events for the East Coast. The show included more than 200 exhibitors and was expected to draw 21,000-plus attendees to the show.
Canon, Nikon and Sony once again were PPE show floor anchors, as they were the vendors closest to the main floor entrance, and occupied the largest exposition real estate.
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Sep 12, 2016
HP Inc. announced today they are set to buy Samsung’s printer business for a reported $1.05 billion. HP Inc. went public with a number of announcements today during their Global Partner Conference in Boston, Ma continuing for the next few days. As part of the Samsung announcement, HP is set to gain about 6,000 Samsung employees once the deal is finalized. HP sets its expectation to close within 12 months (according to Enrique Lores HP, president of imaging and printing). Of the 6,000 employees, approximately 2,000 are research and development engineers, 1,000 are sales and support staff and the remaining are in service and manufacturing, Lores said. As of this writing, Samsung has not shared the revenue that had been generated from their printing business.
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Sep 8, 2016
A week passed since the successful conclusion of the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta on August 27, 2016. With over 25 product categories such as custom wood working, veneers, flooring, doors, and accessories spread over more than 500,000 square feet. The show drew over 26,000 participants and 1,080 exhibitors some attended educational sessions and most walked the show in search for new product, innovations, as well as sourcing materials for their projects.
IWF 2016 – Home for digitally produced decorative surfaces
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Aug 26, 2016
Lexmark’s National Dealer Show, May 9th – 11th, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida absolutely DID NOT SUCK. This was my first time attending a Lexmark event as an analyst and no offense to Lexington, Kentucky but did I ever luck out that my first Lexmark event was held in sunny Florida and bonus, just a few hours from home in lovely Orlando. Winning!
I arrived early on the 9th and was greeted by this scene right outside my room, which I thought was a great way to kick things off because Lexmark Dealers owned the beach that week, absolutely owned it!
Lexmark literally owned the Ft. Lauderdale Beach.
Mike Johnson, VP of North America Business Channels, kicked off Day 1 thanking the members of the press for their support, management for their support, dealers for their support…which I thought was a really nice touch to do in an in depth fashion, discuss how each of the mentioned groups uniquely contributes to Lexmark’s overall success.
I know the theme of the event was overwhelmingly about color and A4 potential for dealers. But one of my key takeaways from the event overall was Read more »
Aug 8, 2016
Canon U.S.A., Inc., announced today Version 2.0 of its ADVANCE Cloud Portal for compatible imageRUNNER ADVANCE systems and the availability of uniFLOW Online, a multi-tenant, cloud-based print management solution. uniFLOW Online enables small and medium sized businesses a way to manage their print environment without the need for a local server. ADVANCE Cloud Portal V2.0 helps users directly scan, store and print documents to and from their cloud file services.
Read more »