HP Updates on New Dealer Progress, A3 Managed PageWides, Accessibility, Security

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New HP PageWide Managed Color MFP-P77940

On April 18th, HP Inc. held an online Webinar for analysts, providing more information on its progress recruiting office-imaging dealers, as well as more information on its new A3 Managed PageWide copier/MFPs for dealers, new HP Accessibility Assistant, and new HP printer security, including a new HP Printer Security Plug-In.

Dealer-Recruitment Progress and New A3 Managed PageWide Portfolio

David Lange, vice president and global head of HP Inc.’s A3 and Contractual Future Product Marketing group, discussed HP’s plans to drive channel sales for its PageWide inkjet printers and MFPs. He noted that HP is expanding its A3 channel with qualified Samsung and HP Select partners, as well as with new partners, and is aiming for about 1,000 partners by the end of 2018 (currently HP has about 600 to 700 partners). HP’s also expanding its LaserJet portfolio in China, South-East Asia in the low-end monochrome category.

Lange commented: “It’s been a year since HP launched its A3 (LaserJet) products. Our goal is to achieve 12-percent market share in A3 by 2020. We’re ahead in Asia and Europe, but a little behind in North America. Our direct route is ahead of our plan, our mid-market is ahead of plan, but we’ve had mixed results with channel partners.

“Our Canon (-sourced laser printers and copier/MFPs) are stronger than expected, and single-function is better than expected.”

PageWide Sales Exceeding Expectations

According to Lange, HP has been very successful with its PageWide single-pass, color-inkjet printers and copier/MFPs, with PageWide sales exceeding expectations: “We’ve had an incredible response for PageWide, particularly in EMEA (Europe, Middle-East, Africa), Asia, and Latin America, but were slow in North America. But overall it’s being well-received in the marketplace. Our new Samsung-engine LaserJets are a little behind …what we expected.

“As for the BTA (dealer) channel, our success has been mixed, but we expected this and planned for it. We’re getting more partners for SDS (HP Smart Device Services for remote management of printers and MFPs). We’re expanding in China and Southeast Asia with our mono products, where we’ve been very successful with low-end products….There’s some great success stories with the BTA channel. There’s progress happening, but just not as fast as HP would like.”

Lange noted that HP – which purchased Samsung’s printer business in November 2017 for $1.05 billion and is integrating Samsung dealers – has categorized Samsung dealers into three groups: the first group met HP criteria and has already been added; the second group will likely be added, while the third group doesn’t meet criteria and won’t be added. Lange noted though that HP is lowering some of its requirements to attract forthcoming Samsung partners.

New Managed PageWide P774 and P779 series for HP Premier Partners

Lange also discussed HP’s new A3 Managed PageWide P774 and P779 series that were announced last week. The new Managed PageWides are designed for the small and mid-size business segment and for HP’s partner channel. The key takeaway is that HP has priced and configured them so that HP partners can enjoy higher margins versus PageWides sold on the open market (for instance, on the Web). (HP PageWide models are sold through both open and closed channels).

The new Managed PageWide P774 and P779 series for closed-channel HP premier partners are essentially differentiated from open-market PageWide models in that partner-sold models feature HP’s complete remote management (via HP Smart Device Services [SDS]; see video below for more on SDS). They also feature HP’s complete security portfolio; offer lower cost per page than open-market PageWides; and offer lower-hardware costs (SMB duty cycle scanner, no mass storage, cloud-solutions focused) for HP partners versus open-market models.

Highlights of the new Managed PageWide models include:

  • As with HP’s other inkjet-based models, service costs are said to be lower versus toner-based (laser/LED-array), as there fewer replaceable items, fewer costly service trips to the device, and more customer up-time.
  • They feature HP’s enterprise-security portfolio, including unique self-healing run-time intrusion detection, firmware whitelisting, and SureStartbios.
  • Internal document-finishing options that are available now, and external document-finishing options that will be available in July.
  • Embedded job-accounting for collecting statistics, and managing quotas through local authentication.
  • Enhanced copy features, including more flexibility on job originals.
  • Accessibility enhancements, including new handicapped accessibility (section 508 in the U.S.) options.
  • Lower-prices for SMBs.

HP Smart Device Services

With HP Smart Device Services, partners can remotely diagnose, resolve, and manage supplies alerts via leading DCA tools:

 New Accessibility Focus

Jordan Ragan, accessibility lead for HP OPS Future Product Marketing, discussed how accessibility is becoming increasingly important in both the commercial and public sectors (there are about 1 billion people in the world with some kind of disability), and discussed how HP is focusing on providing accessibility solutions for its enterprise line. HP sees accessibility as a key core innovation – not a minor compliance issue – and has been introducing accessibility solutions over the last year.

HP introduced one of those solutions last week, its new Accessibility Assistant, which provides for conversational voice commands in English and which is designed for high-security environments, as it’s neither cloud-connected nor Bluetooth-dependent (so it can’t be hacked). It’s compatible with current (2015 and later) HP enterprise-class A3/A4 models.

With the optional, hand-held HP Accessibility Assistant (above), users may initiate voice commands to initiate copy jobs, or to activate pre-defined Auto Quicksets by pressing the Assistant’s Voice Command button. As noted, currently, English is the only language supported.

Examples of common voice commands include:  “Auto Quickset 2,” “Make 3 copies, duplex, color, tray 6,” and “Color copy, edge to edge”.

After pressing the Assistant’s Voice Command button, the Assistant repeats the command and waits for the user to confirm it.

As noted, using the Assistant, users can specify a variety of options for copy jobs, including one- or two-sided originals, one- or two-sided copies, number of copies, paper size and type, stapling, collating, black or color, and more.

The Accessibility Assistant is currently only available for English, but Ragan says HP will be expanding it to include other languages.

HP’s Screen Reader solution also reads out whatever message is currently displayed on the printer or copier’s touchscreen.

HP Print Security

Shivaun Albright, chief technologist at HP Print Security, discussed HP’s focus on security. One of the main take-aways in this discussion is that HP wants to “monitor and manage our printers using the same security tools (used) for our PCs.”

HP continues to stress that while much of enterprise security focuses on PCs, printer and copier/MFPs represent just as much a security threat as PCs.

The other key take-away from Albright’s discussion was that HP security is based “not just on protection, but on self-healing, so that the device (PC, printer or copier) returns to a protected state.”

On the PC side, HP says it features the world’s most secure and manageable PCs with HP Sure Start and the industry’s only self-healing bios, as well as Runtime Intrusion Detection, HP Sure Click, HW-enforced Web-browser security; and HP Sure View – the last of which disables viewing of PC screens when viewed from an angle or the side.

On the printer and MFP side, HP printers and MFPs feature HP Sure Start, keeping BIOS safe; whitelisting for keeping firmware safe; run-time intrusion detection (keeps memory safe); and HP Connection Inspector (monitors network connections).

New this spring is integration with McAfee’s SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) tool.

SIEM support provides an additional security layer, gathering logs from all endpoint devices, including printers and MFP/copiers. It correlate entries from across the enterprise to find anomalies, and provides real-time analysis and security alerts.

HP’s Albright explained: “What’s new is we’re integrating our device security events in McAfee’s SIEM solution. Essentially this is real-time monitoring of our devices. Security events will be forwarded onto security tools – providing real-time forwarding of security events.”

New HP Printer Security Plug-In – Industry-First Integration with Microsoft SCCM

For HP PCs, integration with Microsoft SCCM (Systems Center Configuration Manager) in 2016 streamlined security and BIOS administration, as well as image creation through an easy-to-use interface.

New for spring 2018 is integration with Microsoft SCCM for printers and copiers. SCCM integration is provided via a new HP Printer Security Plug-In, which is said to streamline security policy creation, and provide automated assessment and remediation, as well as concise reporting.

Overall, the new HP Security Plug-In is said to provide improved printer fleet security and compliance, minimizing data breaches and vulnerabilities across the printer fleet.

HP’s Albright explained: “It brings devices into compliance with security compliance. ..The HP Printer Security Plug-In is a free tool, and the world’s first and only security compliance tool for printers that’s certified by Microsoft.”

Our Take

HP’s new Managed PageWides continue HP’s two-fold strategy of dealer recruitment and bringing PageWide into offices and enterprises. Although PageWide sales in North America (where preference for laser still appears to hold sway) haven’t currently met HP’s expectations, it appears PageWide sales are making important gains in EMEA and Asia. However, offering an advanced feature set (full, enterprise HP manageability via HP Smart Device Services and full HP security) and lower pricing for partners should give HP easier dealer recruitment by providing partners with attractive profit margins versus retail and VAR suppliers.

Stay tuned for our next HP analyst update in June, when we’ll have more on progress at HP.

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