The digital revolution and the arrival of print-wary millennials haven’t changed the fact that printing remains a “mission-critical” function in many businesses. What the print industry is seeing, however, is a major transformation in its mentality and in its routes to market—including an increased emphasis on services, mobility, security and integrating with a wider range of office workflows, and with the help of Blue Dog Ink, we tried to work out the best possible trends to watch out for in 2020.
MFP As A Workflow Hub
Xerox has had a particularly aggressive push around bringing powerful apps to its multifunction devices. Through its ConnectKey interface, Xerox aims to turn the multifunction device into a smart workplace assistant, with access to apps for simplifying and improving business workflows. Recently, Xerox’s line of ConnectKey-enabled devices added support for key business apps such as Salesforce, QuickBooks Online and Concur. In addition, Xerox is endowing printers with software solutions focused on key verticals that can help teachers to give exams and help hospitals with patient care, for instance.
Moving Into New Markets
The lack of growth in the print market has meant that many of the major industry players are transforming their businesses to add new markets. Xerox, a juggernaut in the massive A3 market, has turned more of its attention to growing a business in the A4 market. HP Inc. has gone the other way around, building on its prowess in A4 to pursue share in the A3 market.
Focus On Security
Traditionally an overlooked area of cybersecurity, print security has risen to prominence thanks in large part to the awareness-raising efforts and print security offerings from HP Inc. The company includes security technologies in its commercial printers such as Sure Start, which provides self-healing for the device’s BIOS from issues such as malware and corruption. Last July, meanwhile, HP announced the first-ever bug bounty program for the print industry.
Cutbacks And Acquisitions
Xerox has been taking steps to reduce costs with measures such as staff cutbacks and office closures. The company is in the process of closing many of its 186 Xerox Business Solutions field offices, forcing sales teams to work remote, and laying off support staff, CRN reported in February. What Xerox is going through now is what HP Inc. already went through following its split from HP Enterprise.
Managed Print Services Evolution
Now commonplace in large enterprises, managed print services are continuing to make inroads into the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market. Even companies with as few as 50 employees can benefit from some kind of MPS engagement.
Focus On Sustainability
Vendors such as HP Inc. are seeing that a thriving print business and sustainability efforts can—and in fact, must—go hand-in-hand. In March, HP announced an expansion of its sustainability initiative with a commitment to “forest positive” printing—in which all HP-branded paper will come from trees that are planted to become print paper. The company also introduced a new energy-efficient printer and toner–with the launch of the HP LaserJet A4 printer and EcoSmart black toner–and pointed to other achievements in carbon emissions reduction (in part through expanded managed print services) and recycling (including the use of recycled plastics).