Category: Digital Transformation

How Virtual Reality Can Keep Workplace Collaboration on Track during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Colin McMahon
Mar 19, 2020

To subscribe to our COVID-19 feed, click here and sign up!

Every day brings more troubling news of the coronavirus. What at first seemed like a distant problem has quickly turned into a global event affecting nearly every aspect of business and personal life. As many adjust to a new routine of social distancing, many executives and decision makers are left wondering what they can do to ensure productivity while simultaneously keeping employees in good spirits.

Enter virtual reality—a relatively new tool that has experienced enormous breakthroughs over the last several years. While VR has yet to catch on commercially, it has found success in multiple business verticals. The coronavirus has given businesses a new perspective on VR and its capabilities, which is in turn helping businesses to shift into the digital economy and allow employees to work from home more efficiently.

Read more »

Are You Touched by CCPA?

Pat McGrew
Jan 2, 2020

You might be surprised at how much data is flowing through your company. Accounting data, bank accounts, EDI accounts, names and addresses are all data. In the eyes of the State of California that data is now subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act  (CCPA) and it poses some challenges companies doing business in California, but also companies who do business with constituents in California.

Let’s start with the baseline. CCPA only applies to companies that earn more than $25 million in gross revenue. The other hurdle is that it applies to companies who have data on more than 50,000 people or who earn more than 50 percent of their revenue from selling (or bartering or exchanging for advertising) consumer data. For every company that meets these criteria there are myriad paths to compliance. In fact, because the law is so new, there is some disagreement on who has to comply and how.

Read more »

What Print Service Providers Can Learn from Netflix’s Personalization Strategy

Colin McMahon
Jul 23, 2019

At first, print service providers (PSPs)—including mailing companies and direct mailers—might wonder what they have in common with Netflix. Although the service started out as a direct mail offering, it has since become more associated with online digital streamlining. Nevertheless, a recent technology blog from Netflix has shed some additional light on how the company is pushing its personalization practices forward, making them more advanced and better synced to each individual Netflix user. While this level of personalization is quite advanced now, it will likely become increasingly commonplace in the years ahead.

Many firms, including PSPs, can benefit from absorbing and understanding how Netflix continues to personalize its offerings in today’s digital age.

Netflix logo

Read more »

Hymmen Saturn – Innovation in Digital Décor Printing

Ron Gilboa
May 1, 2019

On April 8th, Germany-based print technology manufacturer Hymmen announced a new partnership with Ricoh to create a new product family in addition to its long-running Jupiter printing line. Keeping with its astrological naming pattern, Hymmen named it Saturn digital printing line – aimed toward addressing the needs of decorative paper printing. This new development comes on the heels of Hymmens’ ongoing growth in print volume with the Jupiter product line. According to Hymmen’s estimates, it printed 90 Million M2 in 2018 in a range of applications – including foils, flooring, doors, decorative laminates, and digital lacquer embossing.

Hymmen Digitally Printed Décor

Hymmen Digitally Printed Décor

Read more »

WHEN DID SNEAKERS BECOME ACCEPTABLE BUSINESS ATTIRE?

Deborah Hawkins
Feb 11, 2019

I haven’t done the rounds of many exhibitions the last few years. My focus area of office print is generally served by Vendor specific events and the one global event the industry had, CeBIT has now finally been put to bed. So I was quite surprised at my first visit to ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) 2019 in Amsterdam. It was full, thriving and so many people were wearing sneakers.

Does this have something to do with the meeting of two worlds that ISE has emerged from?  The vibrant Audio Visual (AV) high tech hardware focussed industry and the IT world that can integrate practically anything without having to heed to standards or obligations?

Founded in 2004 and boosting 3500 visitors that year, the exhibition has grown to some 1400 exhibitors and an expected 90,000 visitors in 2019. For me, it felt far more than that. The growth has undoubtedly been supported by the portfolio breadth of AV boasting 8k, curved as well as inflatable screens and flashy displays and its acceptance across many horizontal and vertical sectors. What attracted me most to the show however, was the connection to IT and looking at how the AV industry hooks up with business IT, the hub of our digital world today. I see a lot of parallels to the office printing industry and I knew this industry was in a similar stage of disruption when I saw the likes of Google & Uber speaking about workplace trends at ISE 2019. Read more »

Smart Package Manufacturing: HP One Package Workflow Suite Brings New Levels of Optimization

Pat McGrew
Jun 25, 2018

Corrugated product producers have traditionally thought in terms of square meters and board feet. The goal: keep corrugated products heading out the door. For corrugators that meant keeping the corrugator online and in production which was managed with a Manufacturing Execution System tied to standard business management software suites. Corrugated board manufacturers often use their business systems to manage their manufacturing requirements, augmented with process-specific tools. The advent of digital corrugated production options adds many more requirements to the production workflow, most of which are closer to traditional commercial printing than traditional converting. With experience born from implementations of both digital liner preprinting ahead of corrugation and digital corrugated board printing (“post printing”) comes the HP One Package workflow suite targeted toward users of all HP PageWide Industrial corrugated presses.

HP PrintOS Site Flow Drives End-to-End Print Production for HP Corrugated

Source: HP

Read more »

The Smart Workplace, According to Konica Minolta

Deborah Hawkins
May 24, 2018

The traditional work environment is fundamentally transforming, and visions of the future Smart Workplace are emerging. Through the combination of the Internet, mobility, cloud, sensors, and the Internet of things, work can get done virtually anywhere people can communicate, collaborate, and transact.

To better segment and organize the “Smart Workplace,” Keypoint Intelligence has created a taxonomy of services related to our industry. This taxonomy helps define and categorize disparate technologies and services into a more concrete and comprehensive view of the Smart Workplace solutions and services. Read more »

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

DirectMail2.0 Launches Their Inaugural Market-Edge Event

Pat Nolan
Nov 6, 2017

Market-Edge 2017: Direct Mail, Digital, and Beyond

From October 26th to October 27th of this year, DirectMail2.0 hosted their inaugural Market-Edge conference at Wyndham Grand Clearwater in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Sponsors included Pitney Bowes, Konica Minolta, AccurioJet, Alesco Data, and Enthusem. Discussing Market-Edge with DirectMail2.0’s Marketing Coordinator, Iris Shalev, I was able to shed some light on why they wanted to put on a conference and what they hoped that their business and attendees would take away from it.

The purpose of the event, she said, was to act as a hub for direct mail marketers and printers that is more personal than a trade show and to provide a face-to-face networking opportunity for attendees outside of the usual competitive context. DirectMail2.0 wanted to strengthen this community with Market-Edge, and bring stakeholders with different expertise together to learn from each other for a 360-degree experience, Shalev continued.

In his opening remarks, DirectMail2.0 CEO Brad Kugler also touched on his company’s intended outcome of the event. They wanted to host an open forum for printers and direct mail marketers to come together and solve their common problems. What is the root of those problems? The answer is represented both by what DirectMail2.0 does as a business – they are an integration platform that offers online services to printers and direct mail marketers – and by the theme of Market-Edge: to bridge the gap between offline and online, to bring print into the digital world.

Read more »

Does Your Company Need a Technology Refresh?

Sheryne Glicksman
Oct 17, 2017

After missing Print17 and BTA in Philadelphia because of Hurricane Irma, I was more than thrilled to travel out of my home state of Florida to attend Loffler’s Tech Fest 2017 in St Paul, Minnesota this past month!  Tech Fest is a one-day annual event that Loffler hosts bringing partners and companies together to learn about the latest technology trends and tools. Their focus on educating the audience about a technology refresh, message of helping customers and giving back to the community was clear throughout the entire day. If you haven’t heard of Loffler, you might want to check them out at https://www.loffler.com/. They started their business in a garage in 1986 and have grown to become one of the mega-dealers in the United States.

As quoted by James Loffler, Vice President – IT Solutions Group, “At Loffler Companies, helping our customers succeed is the “Why” behind what we do.  Tech Fest is an example of that commitment.  The day is spent sharing best practices, educating on the latest technology and leadership trends and strengthening customer relationships.”

Here are three best practices I would recommend for anyone considering their own Tech Fest:

Start with Having a Panel Discussion

Loffler’s Tech Fest started with a panel of four local business leaders representing the retail, legal, healthcare and hospitality markets. Discussion around top IT Security and Business Continuity concerns was kicked off by James Loffler and hosted by Jeff King. Security, industry regulation, more educated customers and IT governance came up during the panel discussions. It was noted that augmented reality will drive future sales in retail with the new iPhone coming out allowing shoppers to scan store aisles for specials.  It was also stated that small incremental changes based on needs are the best approach with technology. Most of the panel experts said we should pay attention to artificial intelligence and look at data around value based outcomes. Of course, security was top of mind for everyone who stated that companies like Loffler are key to helping businesses with specific strategies related to security needs. It’s ok to outsource some of your IT work to free up your own internal IT staff. What are you doing to leverage IT strategies and protect your business?

Highlight your Vendor Support and Do Breakout Sessions

Loffler partners with key vendors in the digital imaging channel and they have their own business units of expertise.  Scattered between the vendors, they set up their own specialty booths highlighting their experience in Managed IT, Managed Print Services and Loffler Consulting and Management Services. This company walks the talk of being more than just a copier company! I was pleased to see some familiar vendor partners such as Square 9, Xerox, Perceptive Solutions, Quest and networked with vendors I haven’t met such as Biscom, FR Secure, Artic Wolf, Communication Systems Specialists, Zerto and many more. I would suggest continuing to leverage your partnerships with key vendors and industry analysts, we can help drive business leads your way!

I found that Loffler’s Tech Fest breakout sessions were extremely educational. They prompted additional dialogues throughout the day around leadership, careers in technology, the importance of continued learning and the fact that we all need to be comfortable being uncomfortable with the pace of change in technology happening so quickly. Attendees were interested in how they can get more information on industry trends and blogs and they were also interested in learning more about how technology tools will help them solve their business problems. (I may have helped Loffler sell Square 9, not that they need my help).

They talked about the importance of IT. That it can no longer be considered a tactical part of business. That applications dictate our business processes and good data is important so we can mine it and make intelligent business decisions with it. Today, companies still lack the data they need or they must pull it from many places. What are you doing to streamline your applications and data to be more efficient?

It was noted that Shadow IT in an emerging challenge to pay attention to. Shadow IT is a term often used to describe information-technology systems and solutions built and used inside organization without explicit organizational approval. It is happening when departments choose to deploy their own solutions without involving IT.  The IT department must be at the table with the business units so everyone is on the same page aligning the business with the technology. I believe it’s one of the first steps in crafting a technology refresh for your company.

Commit to Partnerships, Culture and Diversity

Everyone has a mission statement and culture description on their website however how many of you really believe in this mission and support the culture you represent online? It was exciting to see that Loffler’s online persona and in person presence matched with their core values.

At Loffler, they believe in blending together voices from all types of people to move forward with one shared purpose of exceeding the expectations of their clients, employees, partners and community. Diversity in IT matters. This was even more apparent when key note speaker took the stage.

Their long-term partnership with the Minnesota Vikings and key note speaker Kevin Warren hit home for me. Mr. Warren spoke from the heart, showed passion for what he represents and does for a living. He spoke highly of the true partnership that Loffler has with the Vikings. He spoke about how important it is to evolve as a company, support diversity and streamline efforts on the business side to grow. I was blown away by the new interactive campus they are building in Egan. He showed us the new U.S. Bank Stadium where Super Bowl 2018 will be hosted. (I’m currently available to attend)!

Technology Refresh

In closing, it’s been noted that 3% – 7% of a company’s revenue will be spent on IT. Have you thought about your own Tech Fest? How are you leveraging your vendor partners? Have you looked at your own website lately to make sure it represents who you are today?  Are you having dialogue with your customers to understand their business challenges and prepare for growth while aligning the technology tools to help them? Do your sales reps know what challenges technology can solve? If so, you are on your way to building a technology refresh for yourself and your customers.

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux