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HP adds to product line, encourages managed print service providers

CloudInfrastructureMobility

BOISE, ID. – For channel partners looking to boost sales among their customers, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has launched a new line of printers and accessories leveraging mobile printing.

And if anyone’s questioning the future of printing, here’s something to consider – paper may be declining in offices in mature markets, but developing markets and consumers still use it regularly, said Todd Gregory, director of managed print services for HP’s marketing team. And that leaves the field wide open for channel partners, he added.

“Managed print services aren’t as simple as just charging for printing per page and basic services. It’s now about managing all their needs around printing,” Gregory said, adding that includes hardware, software, and services all bundled into one.

In February of 2012, HP CEO Meg Whitman spoke at the global partner conference in Las Vegas. She assured the channel that HP would be focusing on its relationship with channel partners – and Gregory didn’t deviate from that message on his talk on managed print services, held during a media tour on Nov. 12 at HP’s campus in Boise, Idaho.

He added HP cherishes its relationship with the channel – and with that in mind, many of HP’s new releases for the fall were centred around hardware, with printers and accessories for both small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and enterprise organization, presenting opportunities for the channel.

One of its big releases is the HP 1200W, an accessory geared towards SMBs. It plugs into older printers that aren’t currently mobile-compatible. Launching Feb. 1 and promotionally priced at around $50, the accessory allows for near field communication (NFC) printing on older HP LaserJet or Officejet mobile printer.

By tapping an NFC-enabled mobile device against the 1200W, users can print out any document stored on the device. They can also use the accessory for wireless direct printing, if they are carrying non-NFC-enabled devices, like Apple iPhones or iPads. The accessory will send data to HP’s cloud, Flow CM, or to other cloud storage services like Google Docs or Box.net.

(Image: HP). The HP 1200W.

(Image: HP). The HP 1200W.

While the 1200W isn’t truly aimed towards enterprise, as it doesn’t satisfy enterprise organizations’ desire for security, there were still other products on offer – and these still take advantage of mobile printing.

For example, HP also unveiled the LaserJet Enterprise M800 series, an enterprise-grade multifunction printer with a touch screen for printing and the ability to print directly through wireless technology. By tapping a near field communication (NFC) –enabled mobile device to the printer, users can start printing documents.

They can also choose to do that securely, something that’s key for enterprise customers who may not want to send their data to the cloud. For those customers, they can keep their data on the corporate network or send it to their Microsoft Sharepoint, balancing ease of use with security. That will come in handy for an IT-managed environment with hundreds of users.

(Image: HP). The HP Colour LaserJet Enterprise Flow M880.

(Image: HP). The HP Colour LaserJet Enterprise Flow M880.

Within the M800 series, the monochrome M830 became available Oct. 1. The M880, which prints in colour, was released Nov. 1.

With all the new products available, Gregory said the channel has an opportunity to move in and help its customers. Typically, businesses are divided into three categories – one group which is already using managed print services, another that has no interest in finding a managed print services provider, and finally a group of businesses that is considering managed print services for its printing needs.

“I don’t think there is rocket science here,” he said. “It’s about realizing technology revolves around a fundamental framework … In solving customers’ problems, the principles still apply. So how do we fill out that continuum?”

Customers save money by going through managed print services when they don’t have extra, unnecessary equipment sitting in their offices, Gregory said. He added they also benefit from the transparency provided by managed print services, as they are finally able to figure out how many devices and users they have, plus the issues that come along with that.

Using managed print services becomes especially helpful for organizations in verticals like the public sector, healthcare, financial services and insurance, manufacturing, and communications, media, and entertainment, Gregory said.

And for channel partners dealing with customers who are still on the fence, he added HP also offers an online managed print assessment tool, which can help them decide if managed print services is the right fit for them. The tool is available here.