There’s no denying that key decision makers look at trends recommended by industry analysts when making important business decisions. Lexmark customers want solutions for their company that are built to last seven to 10 years.
Considering that developing industry-leading hardware, software and solutions can often take up five years or more, this statistic means our research and development teams need to be able to anticipate 15 years worth of trends when developing new products and solutions.
When Lexmark engineers set out to develop the recently announced next generation of A4 color laser printers and smart MFPs, they designed them with these six major industry trends in mind.
Consumerization of IT
Consumer mentality is helping drive IT purchases in companies everywhere. Employees and IT professionals alike want office equipment to mirror the devices used at home.
One of Lexmark’s new A4 printer key features is “next generation e-Task” interface. The printers have a tablet-like touchscreen, designed to resemble a mobile device, making them easy to use and requiring minimal training, all while enabling future integration of business process solutions, such as the new Kofax Onboarding Agility.
Lexmark mobile print is also easier. Customers and employees using an Android device on the network can now print from their photos directly to the printer or through Lexmark Print Management using dynamic near field communication technology, as long as they are within a certain proximity to the printer.
Operating systems taking control
Print drivers, pieces of software that converts the data to be printed to the form specific to a printer, as we know them are going away. Computer and mobile operating systems will now have control over printing experiences and what users can and can’t do.
Lexmark designed for this trend by supporting the latest mobile standards for mobile print and AirPrint.
Moving to the cloud
Companies want the flexibility to take their applications and run them in the cloud so they don’t need on-premise servers, support staff and all the other expenses that come with running software on their own.
Lexmark’s new A4 printers are designed with a cloud solutions framework (cSF). With cSF, applications run on a Web server hosted by the customer, Lexmark or a third party, giving them the same benefit as if they were running the software on their own but without the hassle.
Customers wanting an embedded solutions framework (eSF) will still have that option. In fact, they will have the option of both embedded solutions framework (eSF) and cSF.
Internet of Things
Analyst firm Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. In 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day. They estimate that the Internet of Things (IoT) will support total services spending of $235 billion in 2016, up 22 percent from 2015.
Customers are expecting all their devices to be connected to the IoT and to be able to make decisions from the data collected.
With Lexmark’s new color printers and MFPs, we are able to collect and analyze data from more than 200 sensor data points in each device. Our system detects trends, predicting errors before they happen. It will then automatically and proactively initiate service requests—keeping devices up and running and reducing help desk calls.
While sustainability might not be a new trend, it is a trend that continues to be of utmost importance to customers around the world.
Here are a few of the sustainability elements included in our new color devices:
Lexmark’s new two-piece cartridge design separates the toner cartridge from the imaging unit, cutting down on waste every time a customer changes the toner cartridge.
A proximity sensor installed on the CX825 and CX860 Series MFPs allows them to wake up when someone approaches and turn off when they leave.
All devices have the latest energy compliance certifications including ePEAT Gold, Blue Angel and Energy Star 2.0.
Security is no longer a few line items on a request for proposal; it has its own section, and some customers believe it to be the most important.
Lexmark’s new devices now have a more industry-standard Windows-like security setup, making it easier for IT administrators to add users to a network—essentially moving from template-based to role-based security.
Lexmark’s new secure element allows the printers to use a 1024 bit encryption key code—with room to grow—making it difficult to break. (The longer the encryption key, the harder it is to break.) As hackers get better, Lexmark devices are built for stronger and stronger encryption.