We work closely with many partners across the world and want to share their perspectives with you - so to kick it off Jordan Darragh, CEO of PrintReleaf has graciously written our first guest blog! We couldn't be more excited to share that with you!
--The word device used to be a words I only associated with my job in the print industry. It was a ‘catch all’ term for any printer, copier, or MFP. Now I find myself hearing it at work and at home. The ‘device’ is now a smartphone, a tablet, an iPod and the like. Moreover, we continue to read about how all of these devices are connected in the emerging marketplace: the Internet of Things (IoT). We’re only scratching the surface when it comes to this future reality. I still lock my doors with a key. I still turn on my lights with a switch. However, all signs point toward a future that is more automated.
This raises a few questions to answer as we contemplate this future both in our home and at work, namely: who is the company that is going to automate it? What is the engine, or the platform, that is going to connect all of the devices and synchronize their functionality, their automation? At home, companies like Google and Apple are competing for position and ‘a way into the home’. For example, Google recently acquired Nest, the most attractively designed thermostat to hit the market and… also a center piece to not only automate control of your heating and cooling but also the platform upon which additional home automation applications can be layered such as automated security and automated lighting.
These same questions exist in the workplace and, more specifically, in the print industry. Devices – printers and copiers – are becoming more intelligent and… more connected. I love how PrintFleet refers to this as the Internet of Printers (IoP). It’s true, the same concept and emerging model exists. Their software has been one of the market leading engines, or platforms, to automate Managed Print Services (MPS). Thousands of businesses rely on their software and, more importantly, the accuracy of their data to automate MPS.
In the early days of MPS, automation emerged as a means to replace manual meter readings and reactive (or manual) supply ordering. But, like the Internet of Things, the Internet of Printers has evolved. All of the downstream steps and links in the MPS supply chain were eligible for but now capable of automation. All of those steps require accurate data. All of those steps can be connected. And, through connectivity and automation, significant value can be unlocked…generating significant profit and competitive advantage.
The market leaders are no longer looking at the front end of MPS. They are looking end to end by linking:
- Device monitoring
- Supply alert
- Service alert
- Supply order
- Service order
- Meter read
…to the supply chain by figuring out ways to leverage technology, like PrintFleet’s LINK, to remove overhead that exists in midstream processes. For example, linking supply ordering to wholesale fulfillment or service calls to national dispatch. Through automation, savings generated through cost reduction can be reinvested in marketing and sales helping companies grow and achieve scale they otherwise could not.
The Internet of Printers requires a willingness to evolve and change, but for those that can seize it… it presents enormous opportunity to drive growth, gain efficiencies, even unlock automated environmental solutions. But, most importantly, companies can sharpen their competitive edge to win.
CEO / PrintReleaf