Sunday, July 31, 2011

MFP Copier Wars and the Last Crusade

Sooner or later everything comes to an end, right? 

If you're a scifi buff like me, you'll understand that that technologies that we saw in Star Trek will eventually come true. Things like the replicator can now be directly tied to 3D printers, the tablets that Kirk and Picard used to view an sign are here now (ever wondered why you never saw a sheet of paper on the Enterprise), and how about the transporter (teleporter), it mas not be here now, however it's estimated that we'll have a transporter within 100 years.

Right, so what does the future hold for copiers, mfp's and printers? We all understand that page volumes are dropping due to the use of scan2email, scan2folder, and LAN fax along with software applications that will allow for markups, notes, and the ability to merge documents from different software applications and create one document. We also understand that there is no growth of the printed page, there's growth for manufacturers to capture additional printed pages by taking them away from Printing Presses.

The future whenever it comes to pass looks grim for Chester Carlson's invention of xerographic technology in 1938. Our beloved butt of office jokes, copied butts and breasts will be all but a memory in years to come.

I'm not big on all of the tech products and services offered on the market today, however I am familiar with one product that I believe will move us a step closer to the paperless office. That product is the eWriter from Ricoh.

The eWriter is a tablet based product that can improve remove traditional paper from a cumbersome work flow and direct it to an online process, thus saving tremendous amounts of time which translates to money.

The eWriter offers all of the quality of paper, with documents in a digital format that will be more secure than paper, reduce paper and increase efficiencies in the work flow of documents.

Point noted about the eWriter is that the tablet is priced around $500 however, it's my understanding that there is also a 3 year subscription service (SAS model) that need to be purchased. Along with that Ricoh already has additional apps that are available on it's eWriter web site.

As these devices gain popularity we will see another downturn in the printed or copied page. For the person who thinks that this will not be the norm in 5-10 years, I'm thinking that they'll be on the outside looking in.

Our industry is migrating to SAS solutions with a combination of hardware and software.

Dealerships and salespeople alike need to understand that what we do today will be gone tomorrow and if you're a new rep in the business and you are fortunate enough to stay in the industry as long as I have in 30 years you'll be making jokes about machines that once printed and copied documents onto paper.


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