HP innovations help channel simplify print fleet management

NEW YORK, NY — Hewlett-Packard Co.‘s (NYSE: HPQ) FutureSmart Firmware and Open Extensibility Platform (OXP), two of ten innovations announced at the HP IPG Innovation Summit on Monday, are meant to simplify printer fleet management and extending the life of multi-function devices within enterprise environments.

Combined, the firmware and application layer will allow HP and its partners to develop advanced applications for multi-function printers (MFPs) that run off a server as opposed to the internal memory or processing power of individual devices.

“Everyone is talking about streamlining and simplifying the paper-based processes – that’s where we are going,” said Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice-president of HP’s Imaging and Printing Group (IPG).

Processing speed, user interfaces and network connectivity are dynamics now taking place in the printer space, said Bruce Dahlgren, senior vice-president of managed enterprise solutions at HP. “It’s kind of like the printer has gone from a peripheral … up into a strategic productivity tool,” he said.

FutureSmart “is a way to get a consistent firmware into all of those devices so you can start using networking abilities and applications” and OXP is the development kit “that allows us to start building applications onto those multi-function devices,” said Dahlgren.

The first two products to ship with OXP version 1.6 are HP’s Color LaserJet Enterprise CM4540 Multifunction Printer (MFP) series and Color LaserJet Enterprise CP5520 printer. OXP can also be retrofitted on HP MFP devices that started shipping in the spring of 2005.

With OXP, “you build the solution once and it can run on any type of device and as you upgrade your firmware, those applications will be able to run on multiple devices and newer devices as well,” said John Tomesco, vice-president of enterprise market development for managed enterprise solutions at HP.

HP currently has 83 certified solutions available and “hundreds of partner solutions that our partners are building based on OXP,” he said. Thirty-eight of the 83 solutions are industry-specific, he said.

Benefits for IT include the ability to manage their entire fleet consistently from a remote site and investment protection by supporting frontward and backward compatibility, as well as new capabilities, flexibility and functionalities, said Tomesco.

Applications range from authentication to capturing solutions to LAN faxing, said David Laing, director of future product marketing, enterprise LaserJet, HP. The “beauty of moving it off the device to the server” is that “you can run as may apps as you want,” he said.

“What we’ve done now is remove the solution entirely from the device. It runs entirely on a server,” said Laing. Two advantages are easier installation to MFP fleets and the ability to run the latest solutions on older devices, he said.

“You are no longer limited by the device’s processing power,” he said. “This gives us the ability to take those solutions completely off the device to the server and have very powerful solutions very simply installed and deployed running on all these devices.”

“Now instead of having to touch every device to install the solution, you just put it on one server and point it at all the devices and because it is on a server that has upgradable processing power and memory, you’ve essentially future-proofed it,” said Laing.

Follow Jennifer Kavur on Twitter: @JenniferKavur.

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