Canon Solutions America … Execution and Growth

Jeff Hayes
 Feb 25, 2016

CSA LogoCanon Solutions America (CSA) hosted about 50 industry analysts in Boca Raton, Florida this week to celebrate the third anniversary of the company’s formation, as well as to discuss their progress and direction. The company demonstrated increasing momentum in the critical areas of:

  • Enterprise solutions and services
  • High-speed production inkjet printing
  • Large format graphics and technical printing

Based on presentations, product demonstrations, and access to the Canon Solutions America management team it is evident that CSA has a robust product line, is tightly coordinated across business units and geographies, and is supported by highly data-driven field operations.

Toyo Kuwamura, President and CEO of Canon Solutions America, citing 2% revenue growth in 2014 and 2015 (and even better profits), stated “we are in very good shape now”. Mr. Kuwamura revealed that CSA’s 3-year plan calls for 3% revenue growth in 2016, 5% in 2017, and 6% in 2018 with a goal of being 20% larger in revenue and profits by 2018. CSA’s recent growth rates stand in sharp contrast to other large competitors that have been experiencing revenue declines in the mid to high-single digit range.

Toyo Kuwamura - CSA

Much of CSA’s success can be attributed to solid execution across all aspects of the operation, including product development, solutions selling, field service, and customer engagement.

Read more »

Huawei and Leica Partner to Reinvent Mobile Photography

Carrie Sylvester
 

logos2What’s the News?

Huawei and Leica Camera AG announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership to reinvent smartphone photography. The companies used some very interesting and rather untraditional wording in their press releases; embracing a more holistic sound and approach. Huawei’s press release spoke about combining a shared ethos in a long-term commitment to the art of craftsmanship, meticulous engineering, and the spirit of winning collaboration to create a powerhouse that will reinvent smartphone photography. These are no small promises, particularly since neither of these companies are household names in the United States! That said, the companies are major players in their respective markets and geographies. Read more »

Activity Brewing in the Zone of Disruption

Jim Hamilton
 

Inkjet is having, and will continue to have, significant impact on the production digital print market. One of the most active areas for inkjet is in the “Zone of Disruption.” It’s a busy segment, and it will only get busier as drupa 2016 approaches, so now is a good time to revisit the product activity there.

In defining the Zone of Disruption, InfoTrends has in mind inkjet products with a capital acquisition cost of less than $1 million, very competitive running costs, and high levels of productivity. This puts them at speeds faster than current cut-sheet color toner devices, and at a capital acquisition cost lower than most 20” roll-fed color devices. To be truly disruptive there are some other important aspects. These devices must compete in quality and ease of use against the mainstream cut-sheet toner devices. This requires sound design, effective feeding & finishing, as well as workflow software that automates production. Success within niche markets is certainly good, but being disruptive in the marketplace means that these products must address the needs of mainstream cut-sheet and roll-fed color users. As this market progresses, InfoTrends is closely watching for broad levels of success by products in the Zone of Disruption. As of today, only a relatively small number of products fit there and relatively few placements have been made.

Zone of Disruption

The Zone of Disruption fits below the gap between Read more »

The YSoft Difference – Distinction in a Crowded MPS Space

David Ramos
 Feb 22, 2016

YSoft_v2_RGBWith headquarters in Brno, Czech Republic and offices around the world (including Asia, Australia, The U.S. – Dallas, Texas and multiple locations in Europe), the YSoft Group employs over 285 experienced professionals worldwide. Annual double-figure revenue growth has become a tradition at YSoft. It’s become their own personal benchmark in growth and nothing less than excellence today is an expectation.  Over 90% of their revenue is generated abroad, and now YSoft has a dedicated team making an impact in the U.S.  YSoft develops and supplies the YSoft SafeQ solution, which empowers large companies and organizations of any size to optimize their printing, copying and scanning needs.

YSoft’s Enterprise Print Management products, including the SafeQ product suite, allow clients to dramatically reduce costs, streamline workflows and increase document security via completely scalable solutions and licensing models.  Combine these product facets with extremely flexible dealer pricing structures, top-notch 24x7x365 service capabilities from YSoft directly, and an indirect-only sales model to create a relationship where your clients enjoy a low-cost, competitively priced, highly-rated product, and you enjoy a healthy recurring revenue stream, making for a great partnership for independent dealers to capitalize on.

Benefits of working with YSoft:

  • YSoft has been very successful in partnering with the leading MFD and MPS providers on a global basis.
  • They are a Xerox Platinum Partner that has been validated through the Xerox Direct Organization, with similar relationships with other OEM vendors such as Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Samsung, Toshiba, and Sharp, just to a name a few.
  • YSoft cost recovery products have a large install base among many of the largest companies in the U.S., and is now extending their focus to SMB; with very competitive modular offerings.
  • Simple and competitive per device licensing, allowing for fast quote responses –  Compliments and expands the value of your current MPS offering.
  • Purchase or subscription agreements available.
  • YSoft has a strong partner focus, with 20 YSoft U.S. employees dedicated to channel support.
  • YSoft manufactures the total solution for hardware and software to create a single point of contact for quality and assurance.

Read more »

2016 Development of Digital Ceramic Printing in China: A CEO’s Perspective

Ron Gilboa
 

InfoTrends has been tracking the ceramic tile industry’s adoption of digital printing technology for several years. China is the primary producer of ceramic tiles on a worldwide basis. According to an industry review by the China Building Ceramics & Sanitaryware Association, there are now over 3,600 ceramic tile production lines in operation in China in just under 1,500 facilities. With about 12 billion square meters produced worldwide 2014/2015 this market is estimated to grow at about 3% in subsequent years. Asia-Pacific region accounts for the majority (70%) of the total most is produced in China.

This market was destined to take advantage of the benefits inherent to digital printing technologies such as reduced make ready, design latitude, timely manufacturing and cost reduction. Spearheading these efforts are companies such as Xaar and Fuji Dimatix and few others. These companies, along with ceramic ink manufacturers, developed by a range of ceramic inks that meet the unique characteristics needed for inkjet printing. The initial success in Europe naturally spread to the Chinese market as well which is the focus of this blog.

We had the privilege of sitting down for an interview with Stella Hu, CEO of Shanghai Teckwin Technology Development Co. Ltd., a leading Chinese supplier digital printing technologies. This interview provided an unique perspective on the current market status and future expectations for the digital ceramics printing in China.

Stella Hu, CEO, Shanghai Teckwin Technology Development Co., Ltd

Stella Hu, CEO, Shanghai Teckwin Technology Development Co., Ltd

In 1994, Stella set up a successful print shop in Shanghai that offered top-quality local services. Compromising on quality was never an option, so the company ran top-of-the-line VUTEk and Scitex machines. At that time, there were very few local manufacturers of wide format printers. Stella spent the next 6 years studying the machines and developing applications.

Once Stella had fully experienced the fun of digital printing with extensive applications, she set her sights on developing a new brand of digital inkjet solutions based on her insights on industry and client needs. She launched Shanghai Teckwin Technology Development Co., Ltd. in 2001. The Shanghai-based company developed and introduced its first wide format solvent printer in 2002, and has since continued with product innovations. The company now offers digital inkjet ceramic printers, grand format solvent UV flatbeds, and roll-to-roll inkjet printing systems for graphics and industrial applications.

During our interview, Mrs. Hu offered her perspective on digital printing within the Chinese ceramic tile market.

Read more »

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.

 

Google Shutting Down Picasa

Ed Lee
 Feb 16, 2016

Google PhotosOn February 12, Google announced that it would be retiring Picasa, its photo management software program, and
Picasa Web Album, its  online sharing service, to put more focus on Google Photos. From my perspective, this is a bit of sad news. I have been a user and fan of Picasa since before it was officially launched almost 14 years ago. Read more »

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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