Konica Minolta’s “bizhub MarketPlace” MFP apps
As cloud services and mobile apps grow in popularity, vendors are increasingly offering apps and cloud connectivity for their printers and multifunction peripherals/MFPs (devices that print, copy, scan, and fax). Accessible via the print device’s touchscreen, these apps enable users to print directly from the cloud, scan directly to the cloud, and in some instances perform other tasks such as connect to a predefined workflow or business process, purchase office materials, and access document templates.
While there is significant variation in the kinds of apps being offered, their installation process, and their cost, InfoTrends is seeing a greater manufacturer focus on adding value to the print device, providing cloud support, and enhancing the usability of the printer touchscreen and its applications. InfoTrends believes these are necessary steps in cementing future relevance of the device at the heart of the office workflow.
InfoTrends also believes that apps on business devices should be largely focused on business-related matters, such as document workflow, document management, storage, collaboration, industry-specific workflows, and departmental processes. If the apps are of limited value, there is a very strong possibility that customers will investigate them no further and institute ways of working with cloud services that are external to the device.
In addition, InfoTrends urges vendors to provide the apps free of charge (or at a minimal cost) wherever possible to encourage acceptance and adoption. The greater the value customers can obtain from their document imaging devices, and the greater the number of jobs that can be completed from these devices, the greater the likelihood that imaging and printing will still be pertinent on the other side of the technology shift that is currently being experienced.
Vendors that currently offer cloud-connected apps include Brother, Canon, Epson, Fuji Xerox, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Lexmark, Oki, Ricoh, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, and Xerox. For more recommendations and insight on this topic, consider purchasing InfoTrends’ Cloud-connected Printer and MFPs Apps report. For more information about the report or InfoTrends’ Digital Peripherals Solutions consulting services, contact Scott Phinney at Scott.Phinney@infotrends.com.