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2013 Print & Imaging Industry Predictions(February 04, 2013)
Managed Print Services continue to evolve into a managed workflow offering at the high end, with suppliers looking to secure soft revenues in the areas of consultancy, support and training while also delivering increased customisation of the existing MPS services including third party support and servicing capabilities.
Mobile Printing morphs into 'just printing' as the user community, empowered by smartphone and tablet technology, becomes more savvy and increasingly used to anywhere anytime print capability. As an example, HP has recently expanded its network of ePrint public print locations, bringing the number of worldwide HP Public Print Locations (PPL) to 30,000 sites. Expect the competition to follow shortly!
Print Consumers will continue to look for cheaper third party alternative consumables for their devices as the economic downturn continues to impact upon disposable incomes - increasing the challenge to printer manufacturers to secure their own aftermarket annuity stream. Dell recently acknowledged that users will on occasion use non-original cartridges in its print devices, and while not supporting this trend they stated that these cartridges will work within the Dell devices. More importantly, use of non-original cartridges will not invalidate the warranty as is the case with some other hardware providers. Is this the beginning of a trend?
Less Paper will continue to become reality. For some time now many industry watchers have predicted the decline and ultimate removal of hardcopy from the office as the drive towards a paperless office gained traction. However, this has not happened. Although users are printing less as increased education of users and the increased capabilities of devices to print duplex and "n" up as a basic function have limited what was (and remains) an uncontrolled cost within the office, we are still seeing strong page volume production across both the SMB and enterprise environments. Page production growth within the general office has slowed, and in some markets has declined, though we must also consider the number of users within offices has also declined dramatically over the past three years, with unemployment in the UK currently standing at close to 7.5% (2.5 million) and in Spain by contrast a massive 26% compared to an EU27 average of around 10%. Whether an upturn in employment will bring about an increase in printed pages remains to be seen, though for now we seem to be stuck with a scenario of less users equals less paper.
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