Category: Print

Lexmark Acquired by Apex

Allison Correia and Brendan Morse
Apr 21, 2016

Lexmark logo

Back in October 2015, Lexmark announced plans to explore strategic alternatives for its business which many took to mean they were exploring a major move like splitting the company in separate two entities, selling a significant portion of the company, or to sell the entire company as-is.   Six months later, Lexmark announced on April 19, 2016 that it entered into a definitive merger agreement with a consortium of investors led by Apex Technology Co., Ltd. (Apex) and PAG Asia Capital (PAG), under which Lexmark will be acquired for $40.50 per share, representing a 30% premium to the price back in October (the day before Lexmark announced they were exploring strategic alternatives). This makes for all-cash transaction value of approximately $3.6 billion, net of cash. Read more »

Xerox Making MFPs Smarter with New Enhancements

Allison Correia
Mar 11, 2016

Xerox ConnectKey User Interface

Yesterday, March 10th, Xerox announced advancements to its Xerox ConnectKey technology to expand what multifunction printers (MFPs) can do in the workplace. The Xerox ConnectKey-enabled i-Series MFPs are equipped with ready-to-use apps, speed up paper-dependent business processes and make it easier for users to collaborate and work more effectively. The technology also gives Xerox and its partners opportunities to better understand customer business needs and uncover new recurring revenue streams. Read more »

HP Printing Reinvented Event – 8th March 2016

Andy Carroll

This week saw HP host a large event in Lisbon, Portugal to announce their Spring 2016 product launches, themed around “reinvention”.
The primary focus of the event was the launch of the PageWide Business brand within their office lineup, but there were also significant updates announced for the OfficeJet Pro range, along with further refreshes of their LaserJet line, with more devices based upon the JetIntelligence engines that made their debut last year.

3-HP PageWide Enterprise Color Flow MFP 586z Printer

The HP PageWide Enterprise Color Flow MFP 586 (Image courtesy of HP Inc)

Whilst the OfficeJet ProX/EnterpriseX range shared the same printhead technology used in HP’s high speed Web Press devices, it now also shares the same branding. HP PageWide Business devices build on the platform established by the X range, but improvements to the ink formulation have allowed both higher speeds (now up to 75ppm) and increased page yields (up to 20,000 pages from a black cartridge). In addition the PageWide Enterprise range now shares the same security features that were introduced on the LaserJet Enterprise devices last year, so features like SureStart and whitelisting are now available to customers no matter which printing technology they choose to employ. The PageWide Business portfolio is expanded further still by the addition of specific products designed for managed environments, which employ cartridges that are both unique to the managed products and offer even higher page yields. It is expected that the use of derivative products for managed environments will be an increasingly common strategy, as it allows the channel more flexibility when costing out managed contract.
The next stage of the PageWide platform was also mentioned, with a very brief teaser of an A3 device offered only as “coming in 2017”.

The introduction of PageWide could have threatened to overshadow the long standing OfficeJet Pro range, but that has also received a significant refresh, with some significant improvements clearly inspired by developments made in the LaserJet family.

2-HP OfficeJet Pro 8740 All-in-One Printer

HP OfficeJet Pro 8740 (Image courtesy of HP Inc)

The paper path has been tuned so that two pages can be handled simultaneously, allowing for duplex speeds that get close to simplex, especially when printing longer documents. Single sided pages now also exit the device face down, and collect on an contained paper tray, as opposed to hanging outside the main unit as has been the case for most previous desktop inkjet devices. The input tray has been integrated more closely within the device body, aimed at reducing the risk of parts being exposed to damage under daily exposure to bumps and knocks, and supports up to legal sized paper.

The OfficeJet Pro 8730 also has the dual scanning heads present in more recent Laserjet MFPs, which allow for single pass scanning of both sides of a page, and also gains the option for an additional paper tray to double the input capacity. Finally, the user interface is presented on a much larger screen (5 inches) and features swipe and tap functionality that should be intuitive to smartphone and tablet users. The overall effect is that the newer OfficeJet Pro devices present a more robust appearance, with design cues that appear to make it less distinguishable from laser devices.

In his introduction, David Ryan described the current portfolio as HP’s “best lineup in decades” and it’s easy to see why he holds that view. The last 12 months has seen some real innovation from HP on areas such as security and energy consumption, which play well in an Enterprise environment , but equally on user facing improvements like first page out times, duplexing speeds and single pass scanning. In a highly commoditized category these are real areas of potential differentiation from other OEMs, and with A3 devices now confirmed as part of next years plans it gives other industry players a lot to think about. HP may not have reinvented printing per se, but they may well have reinvigorated their position in the category.

Remanexpo 2016

Andy Carroll
Feb 18, 2016

Between January 30th- February 2nd the aftermarket industry came together again as part of the annual PaperWorld trade show in Frankfurt.  Hosted for the second consecutive year in Hall 6.0, this years Remanexpo show saw a noticeable shift in the mix of exhibitors, with the larger domestic European remanufacturers taking a much reduced share of the floor space, with brands such as Clover and DCI returning with a smaller footprint focused on interacting with existing customers.  Indeed some of the previous years largest exhibitors, such as KMP and Armor, decided against exhibiting but were present to take advantage of the newly introduced “Business Lounge” facility, which offered dedicated meeting rooms on the show floor to cater to the evolving needs to both exhibitors and attendees, therefore allowing industry players to meet with their customers without having to invest quite so much in their own stand presence.
However, whilst some vendors had reduced their footprint this gave the opportunity for others to become more prominent, particularly domestic German brands such as Pedro Scholler Printservice and WTA, who received the award for Remanufacturer of the Year during the show.

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Ninestar’s stand was indicative of the trend for prioritising meeting space over product display.

One common theme across the majority of stands at the show though was how little actual product was on display, reinforcing the trend that many vendors see the show primarily as a venue for cementing business relationships with existing customers rather than generating significant new opportunities.  In fact even the leading Asian brands such as Ninestar and Print-Rite had a much smaller share of their stands dedicated to showcasing their cartridges, with meeting space the clear priority. Perhaps as a result of this trend, or as a consequence of the hard work the industry has put in over recent years to promote respect for intellectual property, there was only a single incident involving German authorities seizing potentially infringing products.

Evolution was also a key theme across much of the event, with signs that the aftermarket is increasingly looking towards opportunities outside of the printer & copier market in order to maintain or grow their businesses.  The trend was most evident through the increased presence of 3D printing devices on display, which themselves continue to evolve in capability.  Print-Rite had first shown off their own 3D printers at last years show, but their ‘Colido’ range has already developed substantially since then to include more than five distinct models, from entry level through to industrial prototyping, and even a 3D printing pen.

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The Polaroid branded 3D Printer produced by EBP

However, perhaps the most impressive display of 3D print came via Environmental Business Products (EBP), a UK based inkjet remanufacturer, who have seen their traditional market begin to shrink as a result of the decline in the consumer inkjet category.  EBP have taken an intelligent approach to 3D print, developing the hardware in house but choosing to licence the Polaroid brand in order to give their products a recognizable name around which they can go to market.
Large brand names have been absent, to date, from the consumer/prosumer end of the emerging 3D print market, and EBP’s approach could help the market begin to reach a more mainstream audience. In addition to their branding strategy EBP have also been innovative their consumables offering, with a one time use sheet on the print area allowing for much easier removal of the final printed structure, and also the ability to print using both PLA and a wood based material.

Features such as a Wi-Fi enabled camera, SD card support and an easy to use print interface also contribute towards presenting a more consumer focused product, and while the size of the unit, and it’s initial price point, will unlikely allow for dramatic uptake in the home environment, it could provide an example for the wider industry of what is required to reach a larger audience.

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Apex are looking towards the smart home as the next application for their chip technology

The Internet of Things (IOT) could also be a target for some parts of the imaging aftermarket. Apex and Static Control held a joint stand for the first time, although still very much maintaining the presence of both brands individually.  Apex’s focus on their chip technology was no longer limited to applications in printer cartridges, with smart home devices such as light bulbs, door locks and environmental controls looking like a major area of potential expansion for the company.

The knowledge and expertise built up by the aftermarket, as a result of trying to keep pace with the technological innovations employed by the OEMs to restrict third party cartridge use, clearly now has applications that are much wider than the printer consumables market.

Overall the feedback from those attending the show was heavily positive, something that hadn’t necessarily been the case in recent years, and it is clear that, much like its participants, the show itself is evolving to meet the changing demands of its user base. It will be interesting to see to what extent wider opportunities take a share of focus as complimentary markets emerge, and whether that will create gaps within the printer aftermarket for other players to exploit.

 

Patent Trolls Harass Print Service Providers

James Hanlon
Jan 12, 2016

Starting in the fall of 2015, Dr. Harvey R. Levenson, Cal Poly Professor Emeritus, presented multiple conference sessions or webinars dedicated to the issue of patent lawsuits targeted at print service providers. These patent licensing operations, colloquially known as “patent trolls” or NPEs (non-practicing entities), are individuals or business entities that persistently purchase or file for patents, with the sole purpose of charging licensing and royalty fees. This blog builds on some of the key concepts in one of Dr. Levenson’s webinars and also summarizes some recent developments related to patent trolls.

Patent trolls are an increasing international issue, and continue to be active in almost every industry. According to UnifiedPatents in their Q3 Patent Dispute Report, over 67% of all patent litigation in the United States are filed by NPEs seeking monetary gain.

paterntrolls

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Keeping things Simple with HP Digital Capture

Anne Valaitis
Dec 4, 2015

On December 3rd, HP Inc. announced new offerings designed to create a more efficient and streamlined capture environment. According to HP Inc., these new solutions will target deployment of digital capture in a variety of business environments in a simpler, more cost effective manner. In addition to the benefits and economics of a digital capture solution, HP also made an announcement of new scanners and MFPs with advanced features designed to tackle paper-centric workflows.
Data from the recent InfoTrends Multi-Client study entitled, The Future of Scanning, revealed that of the 500 respondents, 47% stated that shifting from paper processes to electronic was a business priority. Paper processes, often thought of as antiquated and cumbersome are being targeted as areas of transition and automation. Vendors and providers are seeking not only to identify inefficiencies in processes but apply convenient low cost solutions as well.

HP pursues the goal of delivering a full featured digital capture solution without the need of investing in a complex, broadly featured system. In addition to a lower cost of implementation, a rapid deployment of the solution is expected with the help of templated workflows to common process areas.  The HP Scan Configuration Service, when bundled with an installation of HP Embedded Capture, provides for a low touch workflow process initiation. Template-based scan flows are available for industries such as healthcare and financial services with more said to come. These templates can be used for common, repeatable tasks within these often demanding process areas with little or “light” configuration. The new service functionality is embedded without the need for an additional server or heavy infrastructure burden. HP has set the pricing at a one-time fee of $25 per device, when bundled with the purchase and installation of HP’s Embedded Capture.

In addition to the new JetAdvantage Solutions, HP announced three new ScanJet devices and an expansion of their A3 MFP portfolio. The ScanJet model Pro 2500f1 and 3500f1 are personal desktop flatbed scanners replacing aging models in this segment class. The ScanJet 4500fn1 is an entry level network connected scanner with features such as scan to mobile via wi-fi and wi-fi direct, HP JetAdvantage Capture App and paper handling using HP EveryPage technology suite. The Scanjet 4500fn1 is also replacing aging models in the segment class of devices.

Model Scanjet 4500fn1:


 

 

 

 

 

The HP MFP S965dn and HP MFP S975dn models are for light production printing environments and workflow onramp with support for HP Capture and Route. Each is 65 and 75 page per minute print speed respectively with a variety of finishing options available; fold, insert, trim, saddle stitch, as well as punching. The 10.1” touch screen offers a high resolution preview and retractable keyboard. Up to 150k pages monthly provide the highest print volumes in the HP MFP portfolio.
Model S900 Series:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An easy, low cost solution to digital capture, along with pre-built templates for common business process workflow automation is an attractive solution as businesses of varied sizes are working through activities related to conversion. InfoTrends believes businesses will continue to seek out ways to transition laborious processes to a more streamlined, automated approach. Offering solutions that can address this, in a low cost, uncomplicated way with paths to expand will serve as a successful strategy for vendors competing in our industry.

 

 

Xerox Announces Next Generation Workflow Automation Solutions and More

Allison Correia and Brendan Morse
Nov 17, 2015

On November 16th, Xerox announced two new workflow automation solutions for the insurance industry and HR departments, updated versions of two of their platforms (Digital Alternatives and DocuShare), and new components of their MPS strategy for the channel.

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The Dell-EMC Deal

Brendan Morse
Oct 20, 2015

The Deal
Though a little sticker-shock—to the order of $67 billion—is certainly in order, we should not be entirely surprised that Dell acquired EMC and its 81% stake in VMware. After all, it was an open secret that EMC was actively seeking buyers after the recent struggles with shareholders, and the failure to conclude a deal with HP. Though the acquisition includes a 60-day ‘go-shop’ provision that allows EMC to seek other bids with minimal penalty, competing bids seem unlikely. Dell has offered a substantial bid, and the number of other companies that would be seriously interested in acquiring EMC’s business is limited. Under the terms of the deal, EMC will go private as part of Dell, and VMware will remain a publically traded company.

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Take-aways of Canon Europe’s EXPO 2015 Keynote in Paris

David Stabel

Last week, Canon Europe opened its doors for EXPO 2015, its quinquennial global event, in Paris, France. The EXPO is a major event for Canon’s partners and customers within the EMEA region. This year’s EXPO  covered over 15,000 square meters of exhibition space. It demonstrated innovations in business areas within consumer imaging products, office equipment, print production, broadcast and communications, medical systems, and security solutions.

Fujio Mitarai, Chairman and CEO of Canon Inc., and Rokus van Iperen, President and CEO of Canon Europe, Middle East, and Africa, opened EXPO 2015 with a keynote speech that shared Canon’s vision on the future of imaging, as well as Canon Europe’s strategy. Here are the key take-aways from this keynote speech.

Fujio Mitarai, Chairman & CEO of Canon Inc.

Rokus van Iperen, President & CEO Canon Europe

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New Epson EcoTank Printers “Loaded & Ready With Up to 2 year of Ink”

Barbara Richards
Aug 4, 2015

On August 4th Epson unveiled five new EcoTank™ inkjet printers for the North America market. The new all-in-one printers feature large ink reservoirs or what Epson defines as “Supertanks” that come loaded and ready for up to two years of print without replacing the ink. According to Epson, compared with traditional printers, the ink included in the EcoTank is equivalent to about 20 sets of ink cartridges or more. Furthermore Epson claims about ninety percent of the pages printed in the U.S. today are printed in black and white not color.

Figure 1: New Epson EcoTank™ Printers

In the past, the major barrier to color prints has been the high cost of ink replacements with Epson’s new EcoTank printers, the cost is as low as $12.99 per bottle or $52 per set of bottles. Epson claims a standard home printer requires approximately 20 sets of cartridges to print the same number of pages included with the equivalent EcoTank printers.  The new EcoTank printers combined the latest in Epson’s advanced Micro Piezo print head technology with a large ink reservoir to create an entirely new printing system. The new models are ideally suited for the home and SMB (small-to-medium size business) environments. They all offer a two-year limited warranty and have built in Ethernet and wireless printing support through a variety of operating systems as well as through Epson Connect™ (Epson’s cloud print and scan service). The new models will be available in the September timeframe through major computer stores, mass merchants and office superstores.

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