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110 years of global innovation and workplace transformation

Sharp Corporation commemorated its 110th anniversary in September this year. 2022 also saw Sharp UK celebrate an incredible 50 years of printer innovation within its document business and a new range of colour and monochrome MFPs. To top it off, the company is ending the year on a high after scooping several wins at the 2022 PrintIT Awards

In 1912, Tokuji Hayakawa established a metalworking shop in Tokyo, inventing the ‘Ever-Ready Sharp Pencil’ in 1915 – a twist-type mechanical pencil that would become the origin of the Sharp brand.

Fast-forward 110 years, Sharp is today an expert in innovation and continues its commitment to developing unique products and solutions. Its continued success is fuelled by a history of innovations, a forward-thinking portfolio, acquisitions, and a growing workforce driving transformation.

Following a significant acquisition in 2019, Sharp UK supports its customers with workplace solutions, centred around managed print and IT services. This has paved the way for significant growth potential for the company, supported by a team of over 700 dedicated and innovative minds.

Building a brand

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Over the years, Sharp has introduced several world-firsts. As one of the world’s largest photovoltaic manufacturers, Sharp is the driving force behind the use of such technologies globally. The manufacturer introduced the world’s first all transistor calculator in 1964. In 2000, Sharp delivered an industry-first camera-equipped mobile phone and 2019 saw the launch of the first commercially available 8k monitor. Today, Sharp also offers a leading range of Plasmacluster air purification and humidification products.

Sharp’s history has not only been filled with product innovation, but the development of the brand, its people, dealer support and portfolio. All of which have played a role in shaping the company today.

Transformation over stagnation

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The pandemic accelerated a transformation in the workplace and the technology needed to support it. Whilst this change created simplifications in workplace technology, it also created complexity. As the wants and needs of customers shifted, Sharp UK has proactively invested in extending its range of products and services, to continue to make technology easy for customers and dealer partners alike.

The acquisition of Dynabook created an offering of award-winning laptops, ideally suited for the hybrid workplace. Sharp met customers’ demands with a recently announced joint venture with NEC, which lead to a 500% increase in its display business in Europe.

Sharp also extended its offerings to IT services in 2019, with the acquisition of Complete I.T., continuing its journey to become a full-service technology partner.

Engineering 50 years of print

Innovation is in the very DNA of Sharp, and since the launch of the Sharp SF-201 wet-toner copier way back in 1972, it has continued to innovate in the printer space.

Sharp’s very first copier used the Electrofax (EF) method, where paper is given a static electric charge before being exposed to light reflected from the original document.

As the pace of technological change accelerated, the 1980s marked the introduction of the SF-750 – the first model to utilise an OPC (Organic Photoconductor) sheet.

The 1990s saw Sharp continue to add functionality to its copiers, including unique advanced mechanism RDH (recirculating document handler), an air-feeding mechanism, electronic sort function, fax, and network printing functions to support changing ways of working and the digital world.

The rise of cyber

As Sharp entered the millennium it launched its first security-certified MFP to achieve Common Criteria Certification, helping customers defend themselves against emerging cybercrimes.

Coupled with security, innovation remained high on the agenda.
Sharp introduced the 10.1-inch LCD touchscreen on MFPs, allowing users to command print previews and change document page orders.

In 2016, Sharp’s commitment to device security and data protection continued with the MX-6070N – the first MFP to achieve HCD-PP Certification.

Powered by people

Sharp UK’s expertise and recent success is fundamentally powered by people. Over 110 years in business and through acquisitions, it has built an innovative and experienced workforce, that drive transformation.

Teams combine both experience and young talent to accelerate growth, efficiency, and productivity. Now 700 strong, Sharp UK’s workforce covers a large proportion of the country to deliver exceptional service to both customers and dealer partners.

The future is now

After 110 years of ground-breaking designs, Sharp continues to release products that set the standard in making technology easy. The BP-Range includes the latest colour and monochrome MFPs released by Sharp, which contain technologies cultivated over 50 years and are the first MFP range to have an embedded Microsoft Teams connector. While industry-first innovations are still weaved into its latest generation MFPs, unsurprisingly Sharp’s portfolio and objectives look a lot different than 110 years ago. Sharp UK has built
out a complete portfolio of products, services, solutions, and a multi-award winning partner programme. An industry leader, Sharp UK recognises that the tech landscape has become far from simple; the workplace has changed and therefore so too has the technology needed to support it. That’s why Sharp UK is committed to continuously evolving in order to help its customers and dealer partners to grow their organisations through forward- thinking Sharp-powered technology.

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