The printer copier market is a mature segment that for the most part has been operating without true innovation for quite some time. Additionally, it is service intensive and complicated, which makes the return on investment and total cost of ownership of business-class printers a begrudging expense by organizations for a necessary tool. This has made the segment ripe for next-generation printing solutions, according to HP (NYSE:HPQ). The company claims to have delivered just such a solution with the new A3 portfolio of printers.
According to the company, the new line of A3 multifunction printers have been designed to disrupt the traditional $55 billion A3 copier category, $36B of which represents the small business market. This innovation is in part being driven by the acquisition of Samsung’s printer business by HP in a deal valued at $1.05 billion.
These devices are a long way from the small home office printers  with which many solopreneurs and other very small businesses might be familiar.
The Samsung portfolio of A3 multifunction printers have been developed with as few as seven replaceable parts compared to 24 for legacy printers. This is some of the disruption HP is talking about, because it now means A3 printers will be more reliable, and potentially much easier and cheaper to operate and maintain — which will go a long way toward making that begrudging investment more bearable.
The other form of disruption involves the type of services delivered in today’s business environment. The new printers are monitored using cloud and big-data analytics to proactively deliver the services and supply their needs proactively. Security, a concept that received very little attention in this segment has also been improved with world-class print security across devices, documents and data.
HP Smart Device Services
HP Smart Device Services takes advantage of smart technology and the cloud to deliver an intuitive service experience. The platform monitors and diagnoses the printers and it can anticipate parts in need of servicing before they fail — and anticipate the need for ink and toner replacement. This will dramatically lower the downtime of the printers while cutting costs.
Every connected device presents a potential vector for an attack, so security has to be a priority. The company revealed it has made printer security a key consideration in the engineering of the new A3 multifunction printers. Industry-leading embedded security features have been integrated, including Sure Start, run-time intrusion detection, and whitelisting. The burden of securing and managing the printers has been removed from partners by including JetAdvantage on Demand cloud platform, a portfolio of management and security software.
With small businesses making up the lion’s share of HPs target segment, the innovations being announced could represent a major shift in the kind of printers small businesses can afford. Access to enterprise grade IT solutions is now available to small businesses because of cloud technology, HP claims. The new line of HP A3 printers is aimed at small businesses by providing a piece of hardware that can be integrated with their cloud services. It thus makes high quality printing possible for small companies which may never have had access before.
In a release, Enrique Lores, president of Imaging & Printing, HP Inc. explains, “The complexity of traditional copiers makes repair and maintenance too inefficient for our partners and customers. By leveraging our superior printing technology, we can change the status quo with next-generation A3 multifunction printers that improve the overall customer and partner experience while also serving as a springboard for growth in managed print and document services. This is what we mean by reinventing printing.”
The New Line of HP A3 Printers
The new portfolio of HP’s A3 multifunction printers includes three PageWide platforms and 13 LaserJet platforms. They will include multiple options, including a in-cave stapler stacker, hole punch, high capacity staple / stack and booklet maker. This will give small businesses access to high-print capacity with tools for producing brochures, booklets, pamphlets and other documents without outsourcing the job.
The HP PageWide Enterprise and Pro single and multifunction devices have print speeds ranging from 40 ppm to 60 ppm, going all the way up to 80 ppm with General Office mode. The LaserJet Managed multifunction printers will feature color or monochrome printing. The speeds for these printers is also very high, ranging from 22 ppm to 60 ppm.
The A3 print technology will introduce new levels of efficiency for small and large businesses alike, and HP is going to recommend several flexible IT investment options to acquire, pay for and use the technology with its HP Financial Services (HPFS).
The HP PageWide Pro devices and LaserJets will be available beginning in spring 2017, and the HP PageWide Enterprise devices will be available in fall 2017.