Konica Minolta to Provide MWAI FORZA ERP Platform for Easier Dealership Management, Expands EFI Offerings

art of disruptionFebruary 17, 2015 – At its annual dealer conference being held in Los Angeles, California, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. made a number of announcements, including a new strategic alliance with MWA Intelligence (MWAi), an SAP Gold Partner and provider of enterprise relationship planning software (ERP). The firm also announced it was expanding its distribution agreement with Electronics for Imaging (see below).

Through the partnership, the firm says it and MWAi will offer the first and only open-architecture, true ERP solution, MWAI FORZA, built specifically for the imaging channel. MWAi FORZA with SAP Business One provides a single sign-on, single database business-management platform designed for office dealers and resellers. The system is designed to help dealerships unify, manage, and control their entire business across financials, sales, customers, and operations. A cloud-based version is also available. For more information on FORZA, visit MWAI here.

Konica Minolta says the MWAi FORZA solution contains “unprecedented” channel infrastructure and “big-data improvements,” delivering the necessary power capable of fueling growth in expanding sectors, including managed services.

“The power of MWAi FORZA combined with Konica Minolta’s expert IT infrastructure will accelerate the SAP integration and system readiness for our dealer community,” commented Sam Errigo, senior vice president of Business Intelligence Services for Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. “This all-inclusive system is designed specifically for imaging-channel dealers so that they can unify, manage, and control their entire business, from customers and operations, to sales and financials, on a single database business-management platform.”

MWAi FORZA, which is built on SAP Business One, and was designed and developed by MWA Intelligence to provide office-equipment dealers an alternative to their current business system and third-party software programs. It’s said to capture all critical information across sales, customers, operations, finances, service, and mobility, making the information instantly available company-wide.

Expanded EFI Distribution Agreement

At its dealer meeting, Konica Minolta also announced that it was expanding its existing partnership with Electronics for Imaging (EFI). Under the expanded agreement, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. (KMBS) and its authorized dealer network will service and sell EFI Wide Format LED and UV inkjet printers.

The non-exclusive agreement expands the market presence for EFI to KMBS’s customer base of North American digital-printing providers. The firm says it also provides it with a stronger wide-format production offering, using printing technologies from EFI.

The two companies already work together to develop digital front ends that provide advanced color imaging and production capabilities on Konica Minolta digital presses and printers.

EFI’s hybrid roll/flatbed wide-format printer, the EFI H1625 LED, will be the first printer available in KMBS sales channels through the new agreement. The 65-inch wide printer gives KMBS uses four-color grayscale print heads said to produce near-photographic image quality. The printer can also use EFI’s white ink, a differentiating feature that expands applications, such as printing on backlit signage, aluminum and aluminum composite signage, window clings, and other offerings printed on clear, metallic, or colored media. The printer is also equipped with EFI’s “cool cure” LED technology for reducing energy consumption and costs compared to arc-lamp UV and latex inkjet printers, plus it gives users the ability to print on a broader range of substrates, including media that cannot withstand high-heat drying or curing methods.

KMBS and authorized KMBS resellers will begin selling EFI LED Wide Format hybrid printers in May. For more information about EFI Wide Format printers, visit www.efi.com.

EFI_H1625_LED

EFI H1625 LED printer.

New Partnership with Robin Powered

At the annual dealer event – called the “Art of Disruption” – Konica Minolta also showcased its products said to serve the future of mobility, cloud computing, content management, and security, along with products from its Business Innovation Center located in Silicon Valley. It also announced a new partnership with Robin Powered, which develops solution for more efficient workplaces.

Robin, which primarily focuses on sensing technology, was created out of digital agency One Mighty Roar, and is focused on sensor-based technologies and workplace automation. The company’s aim is to build a smart office, and among its software’s features are shared calendars and responsive conference rooms that sense an employee’s arrival and “push” that information to fellow employees (a team member who may have forgotten a meeting, for example). The company has products in development that range from an employee’s favorite song playing when they walk into a room, to the practical, such as specific-to-a-person phone chargers popping out of desks when the person arrives in the office.

Robin is currently working with 150 organizations and opened up its application programming interface (API) for other companies to develop new and interesting uses with its smart-office technology. By joining forces with Robin, Konica Minolta says it’s will be working to develop more connected offices.

For more on Robin Powered, see this video.

The firm is also exploring partnership with various other tech companies. At the show, which it said was attended by some 1,000 dealer personnel and analysts, it showcased these emerging technologies and programs:

  • STEAMtrax is a new curriculum offering that integrates engineering and 3D-printing technology with core academic knowledge in science, math, language arts, social studies. Each lesson embeds 3D design, printing and scanning technology as an integral part of the STEAMtrax Engineering Process. The curriculum modules are designed to be integrated into current science programs or can be used for after school or summer programs.
  • Knightscope: Knightscope robots can see, hear, feel and smell and “watch over” corporate campuses and neighborhoods. Knightscope’s robots are fully autonomous, and are used to predict crimes in schools, businesses, and neighborhoods. Development was inspired by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and to prevent future crimes. The K5 robot detects crime using a variety of sensors including video camera, thermal-imaging sensors, laser-range finder, radar, air-quality sensors, and a microphone. If the K5 robot detects abnormal noise and temperature change, or known criminals, it will alert local authorities.

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