This Week in Imaging: Solving Printer, Copier Pain Points to Get an Edge; Toshiba, Ricoh Troubles

Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

Among the many analysts in the office-imaging industry, Wirth Consulting is one of the very few that have decades of experience in the actual nitty-gritty, hands-on testing of printers and copier/MFPs, giving us a unique perspective. That hands-on experience has involved everything from timing duplex-printing speeds, to writing user manuals showing how to use touchscreens, to recording service visits, to comparing image quality using standard test methods.

These pain points typically come down to two everyday perhaps “boring” things, but things that leave a big impression: a clunky, frustrating user experience and lots of downtime. The frustrating user experience can include touchscreens and control panels that aren’t intuitive to use – instead, the user has to spend time figuring out where control buttons are, what they’re for, and has to dig deep into the touchscreen’s menu system to make settings. Moving on, is mobile printing, easy, intuitive, and secure, with, for instance, guests able to easily print without having to get access to the company network? Can scan, process, and distribute processes be easily set up?

On the mechanical side, there’s also hard-to-access misfeeds, and difficulty replacing consumables – from figuring out how to remove and install toner cartridges, or even waiting hours for service to show up to replace them. The other big pain point is when the device just can’t be used at all, which involves downtime, waiting for service, and waiting for service personnel to do their thing.

Other big pain points include slow First Page Out Times, slow waking up from sleep mode, and, at the extreme, getting your printer or MFP hacked, the last of which can just result in inconvenient downtime, to, at the worst, extreme damage to a company’s reputation and even financial repercussions.

While these pain points may seem mundane, the bottom line is that if your printer or MFP is a big pain point for users and customers, no amount of marketing or PR is going to fix that. And, while the office-printing market is still “a big pond” with sizable market opportunity, the big race will most likely be won by those that can best eliminate these pain points.

For the most part, we’re big fans of HP’s inkjet printers, and this week, HP released its DeskJet 2600, a printer targeted at less tech-adept senior citizens. While we like the idea, there are some things we’d like to see addressed:

  • There are buttons, codes, and indicators instead of a message display or touch screen.
  • We’re fairly certain that seniors probably print more photos than the average SOHO user, as they may be less likely to go online to view photos. That said, there’s no dedicated photo paper tray as with the Envy series.
  • The DeskJet 2600 doesn’t support HP’s ePrint remote-printing service. ePrint is really easy to use and doesn’t require any apps or print drivers.
  • On the plus side, there’s compatibility with the HP Instant Ink program with its high-yield ink cartridges, and 3.3¢ to 6¢ ink costs (regardless of area coverage).

Office-Imaging News

  • Epson Has Sold over 20 Million Ink-Tank Inkjet Printers – Read more here.
  • Epson Announces Three-Year Warranty for its Commercial Document Scanners – Read more here.
  • Samsung Adds New Features to Soon-to-be-Released Printing App Center v.2 – Read more here.

Financial News

  • Toshiba Reports $5.9 Billion Loss, Warns of Ability to Continue as Going Concern – Read more here.
  • TABS CEO Reassures Clients in Wake of Toshiba Corp. Difficulties – Read more here.
  • Ricoh Reports Impairment Loss, Lowers Profits Forecast for Fiscal Year – Read more here.

Commercial- and Production-Printing News

  • Kodak Won’t Be Selling its PROSPER Commercial Inkjet-Printing Business – Read more here.

Other News

  • Konica Minolta Launches Integrated Global Client Services Organization – Read more here.
  • European Regulators Give Green Light to HP’s Acquisition of Samsung Printer Business – Read more here.

Consumer-Imaging News

  • New HP DeskJet 2600 Omits ‘Bells and Whistles’ to Appeal to Seniors – Read more here.

3D-Printing News

  • Xaar Opens 3D-Printing Research Center Focusing on Sintering Technology – Read more here.

Executive-Management News

  • Xerox Appoints Former Tech Data Exec to Lead SMB Drive – Read more here.

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March 2017

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