Web-Enabled Print with HP Innovation

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Dec 12, 2008

The Open Innovation Forum is a new HP initiative focused on sharing new HP projects with members of the analyst, educational, and business communities. As part of the innovation initiative, HP has comprised eight teams that focus on addressing major technology problems in today’s consumer, office, and production environments. The first of an ongoing series of open innovation forums for analysts was held as Webinar earlier today and I thought I’d share a few of the new ideas coming from HP:

  1. HP + Social Media: In October, HP announced that it was teaming up with MySpace to build a “print” button in to all MySpace pages, making it easy for any of the 120 million MySpace users to print photos. HP Photo Cube technology will enable users to create prints, photo books, or gifts from any of the 400 billion photos posted on the site. The new relationship enables MySpace to provide a streamlined method of printing for users and HP hopes to become synonymous with MySpace photos by managing all of the printed output. It’s still unclear who will produce the printed collateral that is ordered through the site.
  2. MagCloud — Publishing for the Masses: This new Web application brings publishers, consumers, and printers together in an effort to streamline the publishing process for short-run magazines. Publishers upload a PDF and pay a flat fee of $0.20 per page for production. The production is managed by a print service provider who mails the finished product directly to subscribers. Consumers can use MagCloud to subscribe to their choice of publications, paying a regular subscription fee. MagCloud has been in private beta for five months. Standford University has used the technology to produce short-run magazines about their athletes. Other examples include custom publications for a day care center or a non-profit venture. These types of publishers wouldn’t normally have the infrastructure required to produce their own niche magazine — and that’s exactly where MagCloud comes into play.
  3. Consumer Printing: HP quickly covered some new concepts focused on consumer printing. Leveraging its Tabblo acquisition, HP hopes to make it easier for consumers to print pages to their desktop printer from an internet browser or mobile device. Tabblo technology, which is know known as HP Smart Web Printing, will transform browser-based content into a format that looks clean and organized on a letter size printed page.

It’s exciting to get a glimpse of some products that are coming out of HP’s “Print 2.0” initiative. One of the main driving forces behind these products is to drive print volume. Through its MySpace partnership and Smart Web Printing technology, HP hopes to drive print to its own desktop inkjet devices, but has an open approach to be vendor agnostic. For more complex MySpace jobs (posters and photobooks), as well as MagCloud jobs, HP can drive volume to print service providers with Indigo and wide format inkjet devices. These types of services help print service providers take the leap into a business-to-consumer business model, even if they’re typically business-to-business oriented.

More Open Innovation forums from HP are planned in the near future. Topics include: Analytics, Cloud, Immersive Interaction, Content Transformation, Information Management, Intelligent Infrastructure, and Sustainability.

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