Thursday, November 17, 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

What’s Next for Graph Expo?

What’s Next for Graph Expo?

Jim Hamilton
Oct 13, 2016 Graph Expo’s first visit to Orlando can be considered a qualified success, in part based on the low expectations that most exhibitors had for the show. It followed drupa, and a drupa year will always be a challenge for Graph Expo. What the future holds for this venerable show is up for discussion.

Let’s first consider attendance in Orlando. Thayer Long, the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) president, said in a WhatTheyThink interview that the number of visitors (including booth staff) exceeded 13,000. This is down significantly from Graph Expo 2015 in Chicago, but is more or less in line with a reduced show that had at least 30% less exhibit space than in 2015.
Another factor is cost. Chicago is a great city, but it is expensive for exhibitors not just for the hall space but for the related costs including booth set up and extras (for example, food and drink at a press conference or reception) as well as downtown hotels, restaurants, and taxis. Orlando, though hot and steamy, provided a lower cost experience in many ways while also offering a range of restaurant and entertainment options.
Ultimately it is about the quantity AND quality of audience. Going into the show I thought that the organizers would be delighted to get 15,000 attendees, but 13,000 is not too shabby all things considered. Exhibitors’ reports of seeing new leads that previously might not have trekked to Chicago were encouraging, though the crowds I saw seemed mainly concentrated in the big booths up front. Smaller exhibitors may not have gotten nearly the traffic they had hoped for.
All in all, 13,000 seems like an acceptable result. However, in comparison to SGIA (only the week previous in Las Vegas), Graph Expo’s size and buzz felt like a letdown. So, the big question facing the show’s organizers is “What’s Next?”
For the next three years the dates and location are set. Chicago will be the site for Print 2017 (September 10-14) and Graph Expo 2018 (September 30–October 3). The show organizers plan to bring Graph back to Orlando in 2019 (September 22–25), and will likely cite the 2016 performance to support the return.
Looking further out, 2020 will be another drupa year and likely create big pressure on the vendors as well as the GASC. With digital printing expanding well beyond general commercial printing, many Graph Expo exhibitors are also taking space at other shows to reach their target audiences. Canon, EFI, Epson, HP, and others now regularly exhibit at one or more other shows that occur around the same time as Graph including SGIA, Label Expo, and Pack Expo. Trade show budgets aren’t necessarily increasing, but instead they are being shifted and stretched in many cases. Attendance at these shows have been growing or holding steady.
Show attendance comparison table - 400
After that, what comes next? I believe that short of a radical rethinking of the show (see more on this below) that varying the show location makes the most sense. A West Coast swing to Las Vegas or Anaheim in 2020 could fit nicely in a rotation with other cities. A regular return to Chicago clearly is appealing (as long as reasonable dates can be secured – overlapping with the Jewish high holidays in 2015 was not a good solution). Orlando could become a regular stop but New York (very expensive) or Philadelphia could be attractive East Coast venues as well. Even Miami could be an option since it would be a more attractive draw from South and Latin America. Such a move would encroach into territory traditionally held by Graphics of the Americas, but it may be inevitable.
Graph-Print attendance table - 400Becoming a traveling show assumes that the event’s organizers are content with the continued downsizing. Are there other potential options? Certainly there are, but they would require some adjustments that may not be possible given the ownership, economic factors, and logistical constraints of the various shows. Some possibilities include:
  • Merge/acquire another show – ISA or SGIA would be logical matches, but could a deal be struck?
  • Alternate years between the U.S. and Europe – The model followed by LabelExpo could conceivably provide a fit for Graph Expo although this would depend heavily on a European partnership (IPEX?)
  • Move to an every-other-year schedule – This would be a relief to exhibitors but would probably not be a desirable choice for the show’s organizers.
In the end I believe that rotating locations in the U.S. is the most likely option, though it is certainly not the most imaginative one. The simple fact facing GASC is that consolidation in the graphic arts market and the expansion of production digital print into adjacent applications has resulted in fewer traditional attendees and more overlapping events. This trend is unlikely to change soon and could best be resolved by mergers of existing shows.
The next few months will be very interesting ones as exhibitors assess the results of Graph Expo 2016 and consider how their marketing dollars are most effectively allocated in the coming years. To be seen is whether show organizers look at this opportunity creatively or instead fall back to more conservative strategies.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

HP Inc. to buy Samsung Electronics’ Printer Business

HP Inc. to buy Samsung Electronics’ Printer Business

Anne Valaitis
Sep 12, 2016




HP Inc. announced today they are set to buy Samsung’s printer business for a reported $1.05 billion. HP Inc. went public with a number of announcements today during their Global Partner Conference in Boston, Ma continuing for the next few days. As part of the Samsung announcement, HP is set to gain about 6,000 Samsung employees once the deal is finalized. HP sets its expectation to close within 12 months (according to Enrique Lores HP, president of imaging and printing). Of the 6,000 employees, approximately 2,000 are research and development engineers, 1,000 are sales and support staff and the remaining are in service and manufacturing, Lores said. As of this writing, Samsung has not shared the revenue that had been generated from their printing business.


In addition to the acquisition announcement, HP Inc., announced today their next generation A3 printing portfolio aimed at disrupting the $55B copier segment with 6 new next generation Pagewide and LaserJet platforms.

InfoTrends will work to develop a detailed analysis piece to be published in the coming days as more information is gathered and the HP Global Partner Event concludes.

Samsung is said to be divesting the printer business as a means to focus on its core smartphone, television and memory chip businesses. HP will grow, with this acquisition, in areas such as Asia and will gain intellectual property such as a patent portfolio that includes approximately 6500 printing technology patents. In addition the obvious nature of eliminating a rival cannot be dismissed in what is a very competitive market that has had its share of challenges.

Dion Weisler, President and CEO of HP Inc. was emphatic in today’s Global Partner Conference presentation webinar that HP and the industry in which is competes must innovate, and change “…in order to grow, we must embrace change…keep reinventing everyday…” Dion was also joined by Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft who echoed many of same sentiments regarding change and innovation. Satya stated that we need to look differently at IT, “IT is not an enabler of office work, it is at the core of business…” In addition they both agreed that the industry has been lacking innovation with too much emphasis on a single product or area “…no longer can you over index on just the software, or just the hardware…”.

We look to share more information, insights and predictions to the ramifications of the HP Inc acquisition of the Samsung printing business in the next few business days.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kyocera partners with major ECM provider

Kyocera partners with major ECM provider


Alliance between Databank and KYOCERA Document Solutions America delivers business process improvement and timely access to mission critical information, optimizing business performance.
King of Prussia, PA and Fairfield, NJ – September 13, 2016 – Today, DataBank, North America’s leading business solutions provider, and KYOCERA Document Solutions America, one of the world’s leading document solutions companies, announced the formation of a business alliance, designed to provide business process improvement services to their mutual customers.

The alliance represents a distinctively unique partnership between a business process solutions provider and a global document imaging company, created to offer customers a new level of consultative expertise in simplifying complex workflows, managing mission-critical information, and optimizing business performance. For both firms, joining forces represents a significant leap forward in capabilities, and an exceptional opportunity for companies across North America.
For over 15 years, DataBank has delivered award-winning solutions to organizations of all sizes and in all industries, simplifying processes and streamlining the flow of business information. In many industries, documents represent the primary source of that information. As a global leader in document imaging technology, Kyocera provides an extraordinary range of document imaging hardware, software solutions, and related services. Combined, the alliance of these leading companies delivers broad capabilities and expertise across the entire spectrum of business information.
Additionally, DataBank is the single largest North American reseller of Hyland OnBase, an award- winning global enterprise content management (ECM) solution platform. With Kyocera’s seamless integration to OnBase through its custom-developed HyPAS business application, the alliance will deliver one of the most comprehensive end-to-end business process improvement (BPI) solutions available on the market today from any hardware manufacturer or ECM provider. The alliance further supports Kyocera’s ability to be a true Total Document Solutions (TDS) provider by encompassing data on a much broader scale, beyond the document.

The alliance will also offer business process outsourcing (BPO) services in 10 centers across the country. Companies can save time and lower operating costs by outsourcing database services, including data entry and validation, as well as many other routine business processes. Collectively, the 10 centers can handle over 1 billion documents a year.

The DataBank / KYOCERA Document Solutions America alliance is available to businesses and organizations throughout North America. Services are offered through DataBank’s nationwide
team of BPI specialists, through Kyocera’s Direct Sales Organization, and through Kyocera’s Enterprise, Strategic, and National Accounts Division.
To learn more about the alliance and the many business process solutions it provides, please visit http://info.databankimx.com/kda-databank-direct-ops.

ABOUT DATABANK
DataBank (www.Databankimx.com), simplifies your business processes to help you meet your organization’s objectives — reducing costs, saving time and increasing productivity each step of the way. Our scalable offerings range from document scanning, data capture solutions, enterprise content management software, business process outsourcing, staff augmentation, and workflow design and implementation. These highly configurable, ‘a la carte’ solutions can be out-of-the-box for hassle-free deployment, customized to address unique business needs or completely managed by our team of experts, allowing you to focus on your core business.

ABOUT KYOCERA DOCUMENT SOLUTIONS AMERICA
KYOCERA Document Solutions America, Inc. (www.usa.kyoceradocumentsolutions.com), headquartered in Fairfield, N.J., is a leading provider of computer-connectable document imaging and document management systems, including network-ready digital MFPs/printers, laser printers, color MFPs/printers, digital laser facsimiles, and multifunctional and wide format imaging solutions. KYOCERA Document Solutions America is a group company of KYOCERA Document Solutions Inc., a core company of the KYOCERA Corporation, the world’s leading developer and manufacturer of advanced ceramics and associated products, including telecommunications equipment, semiconductor packages and electronic components.
KYOCERA Document Solutions America, the first document solutions company with third-party certified sales data, has received numerous honors for its products’ high performance, reliability and cost efficiency. KYOCERA Corporation’s consolidated net revenues exceeded $13.32 billion for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2016.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Major Announcement – HP Launches A3 Printing Portfolio.



New portfolio delivers affordable color, maximum uptime, and leading security for customers and partners
News Highlights:
  •   Launches 16 next generation HP A3 multifunction printers (MFPs) based on award-winning HP LaserJet and HP PageWide technology
  •   Introduces HP Smart Device Services (SDS) to reduce downtime and transform the service experience through the cloud and smart devices
  •  Built with best-in-class printer security including real-time threat detection and automated monitoring

BOSTON, Sept 12, 2016 – Today at its Global Partner Conference, HP Inc. announced an extensive line of A3 multifunction printers (MFPs) and services aimed at disrupting the $55B copier market. As part of its strategy to reinvent business printing, HP is revolutionizing the traditional copier with a new breakthrough portfolio that enables its partners to sell and service more cost effectively while delivering customers affordable color, reliable performance, and industry-leading security. Visit hp.com/go/newsroom for more details.

“For decades, the copier industry has lacked the technology to improve efficiency of service, make color affordable, and keep up with security requirements,” said Enrique Lores, president, Imaging & Printing, HP Inc. “HP is changing this with next generation A3 multifunction printers that bring to life a reimagined print environment that maximizes uptime, delivers color, and offers best-in-class security.”

Next Generation A3 Multifunction Printers
Today, HP is announcing a full portfolio of A3 MFPs, including three PageWide platforms and 13 LaserJet platforms that will be available as 54 different SKUs with a range of finishing options, including an in-cave stapler stacker, hole punch, high capacity staple / stack and booklet makers. By providing a broad range of device options, HP is providing channel partners robust possibilities and pricing flexibility to meet the needs of their customers.
The HP PageWide Enterprise and Pro platforms will finally make color affordable, along with best in class print speeds and lower energy consumption than in-class laser devices. The simple architecture of HP PageWide – with only three components that may need replacing – will help lower servicing costs for channel partners. The single and multifunction devices will have print speeds ranging from 40 ppm to 60 ppm (up to 80 ppm in General Office mode). The HP PageWide Pro devices will be available beginning in spring 2017 while the HP PageWide Enterprise devices will be available in fall 2017.

The HP LaserJet Managed MFPs will be available as multifunction devices, with color or monochrome printing and speeds ranging from 25 ppm to 60 ppm. The new LaserJets will have some of the longest life components and fastest repair times among A3 laser devices in the industry. These devices will be available beginning in spring 2017.
HP Smart Device Services

To maximize up-time of the HP A3 MFP portfolio for customers, HP is delivering HP Smart Device Services (SDS). SDS is a set of cloud tools and device-based sensing capabilities designed to integrate with industry-leading third party device monitoring and service management tools used commonly by channel partners. SDS will help channel partners dramatically enhance the service experience with HP devices.

Smart Device Services is compatible on HP printers and MFPs with FutureSmart introduced in 2012 and later, including the new A3 PageWide and LaserJet devices. As such, SDS will enhance service efficiency on partners’ fleet and improve up-time on customer’s devices. It will be available to qualified channel partners at no additional cost for all contractual devices using HP Original supplies.
World class printer security

Security is a key consideration in the engineering of the new HP A3 MFPs. Customers want to protect their IP and their customers’ confidential information. The HP PageWide and LaserJet Enterprise devices feature HP’s industry-leading embedded security features, Sure Start, Run-time Intrusion Detection and Whitelisting, making them the world’s most secure printers. The HP PageWide Pro devices will feature best-in-class security features, such as secure boot and firmware integrity checking.

All of the new HP PageWide and LaserJet devices can be used with HP’s security services and JetAdvantage portfolio of management and security software, including the recently announced JetAdvantage on Demand cloud platform, reducing the burden on partners to secure and manage these devices.

Channel partner programs and financing
As part of the broader strategy outlined at its global partner conference, HP has introduced a program to support partner success with HP’s A3 portfolio. Qualified partners will receive guaranteed pricing, sales tools and service support.
HP Financial Services (HPFS) will provide a variety of flexible IT investment options to help partners and their customers acquire, pay for and consume innovative A3 print technology.
About HP
HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through our portfolio of printers, PCs, mobile devices, solutions, and services, we engineer experiences that amaze. More information about HP Inc. is available at http://www.hp.com.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Are you Flying without a Seat Belt?



Are you Flying without a Seat Belt?


When either flying in a plane or driving in a car, would you ever dare to think twice about refraining from the use of your seat belt?  Why take unnecessary risks with your life or your family when a proven protection system like a seat belt is readily available. Wouldn’t you agree?

As business owners, your goal is to provide a predictable level of safety and stability to your employees and customers. Through the use readily available industry tools, vendor partners, and business strategies, you can provide a predictable stream of profitable revenues that will help your business grow and prosper for years to come. The question is…are you using them?

In the print environment, the sale, servicing, managing, and retention of MFP and printer assets are critical to your survival. As you know there are many moving pieces inside this equation which includes hardware, software, and services. Invoicing of your clients properly, and in an efficient manner is one of the key components that are often overlooked. Detailed, timely, and uniform invoices have a greater chance of being paid on time, thus lowering your DSO. MPS and Office Equipment providers often have end-user agreements that consist of one invoice for equipment, and another that invoices for actual services. Is this the most efficient method for you and your clients? Multiple invoices, reports, purchase orders, and collections efforts are redundant and profit draining for your operation and those of your clients.  Moreover, what is keeping your clients from cancelling service agreements and moving them to your competition? An efficient expense reducing approach that can combines lease financing and services into one unified approach, is a win-win for all involved. So why aren’t you doing it?

A “bundled agreement” or a single invoice that includes hardware and services is your safety belt and helps you to retain clients, improve your operational inefficiencies, reduce your administrative expenses and can grow the profitability of your business. Taking services up when funding a deal with your lease provider is not a long term or sustainable strategy. It`s time to think longer term. A bundled process that provides for: annual service escalations, equipment add-ons, pooled billing, individual asset upgrades, no termination or trade up fees, daily ACH remittances for services from your lease provider, and protection from competitive “take –outs”, is a long term solution that a real financial partner can provide.

  • So go ahead and fasten your seat belt and protect your business from unforeseen accidents. It’s time to evaluate your leasing partners, take control of your business portfolio, and use available tools as a differentiator and competitive advantage. It all starts with the assessment of your leasing partners and vendors and developing a strategic plan to smooth out your ride and take your business to the next level.