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Innovation and the future of print

At Samsung’s European Printing Partner Summit held last month in Budapest, PITR caught up with Kasey Kim, Vice President and Head of R&D at Samsung Printing Solutions Business, to find out more about the company’s plans for print.

Samsung has a history of innovation in diverse markets, from semiconductors to smartphones and from household appliances to offie automation. After three decades in the print industry – it launched its fist fax in 1982 and its fist laser printer in 1989 – Samsung is drawing on its deep and varied expertise in the development of new printing solutions designed to fi seamlessly into the IT and smart offie ecosystem.

This approach is clearly evident in the company’s decision to use the Android platform as the UI on its MultiXpress and ProXpress series of MFPs. The devices’ Smart UX Center colour touch screen display features the same touch-based, customisable UX technology and tactile, vibrating haptic technology as Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets.

“Leveraging our strengths in mobile for the fist time, we have been able to provide users with the same UI they use on smartphones and tablets on their printers, making the user experience the same across both mobile and print,” explained Kim.

The Samsung UX Center is one of Samsung’s IoT projects, converging mobile technologies for an improved offie experience. It completes the offie printing ecosystem, allowing users to work seamlessly from one device to the next.

Kim points out that this industry-fist development was driven by Dr. KiHo Kim, Executive Vice President and Head of Samsung’s Printing Solutions Business, formerly head of Corporate R&D at Samsung Electronics.

“Dr. Kim really understands the market and was very clear in the direction that we would take as a company. He chose the cloud and mobile as Samsung’s USPs and this is where we differentiate from other brands,” Kim explained.

App development

With a suite of hardware supporting easy customisation and improved productivity, the obvious next step, says Kim, was to create apps that can be installed on the devices. “It was the simplest way to create customised solutions for our MFPs to address customer pain points,” he said.

For the channel, apps offer huge opportunities for resellers to differentiate themselves and create an incremental revenue stream.

Last year, Samsung introduced the Smart UX Center SDK, an open interface kit for Smart UX providing a comprehensive suite of features and tools that allow app developers to integrate a wide range of printer functions into an easy-to-use user interface. The most recent update introduces exciting new features including mobile compatibility.

The Smart UX portfolio includes a total of 36 apps so far, and there are currently 330 active developers signed up to the SDK.

Future plans

Kim says that the functionality offered by apps is integral to Samsung’s future growth plans.

From 2016 to 2018, Samsung aims to increase its share of the B2B printing market and shift its main focus from Segment 1 and 2 to Segment 3 and 4 and A3 devices
From 2016 to 2018, Samsung aims to increase its share of the B2B printing market and shift its main focus from Segment 1 and 2 to Segment 3 and 4 and A3 devices

“Samsung’s primary focus is on continuing to increase its share in the office market. Looking ahead to the future, we will continue to be responsive to market requirements and develop value-added solutions that integrate multifunction devices for smart office environments,” he said.

From 2016 to 2018, Samsung aims to increase its share of the B2B printing market and shift its main focus from Segment 1 and 2 to Segment 3 and 4 and A3 devices. The launch of the MX7, the fist A3 MFP on the market powered by a Quadcore CPU, was part of Samsung’s strategy to push into the A3 printing market and strengthen its position in the enterprise space.

Cloud and mobile

The combination of Samsung hardware and print services is already making waves in the industry. In its MarketScape report on the managed print and document services (MPDS) industry, IDC recognises Samsung as a major player, highlighting its use of emerging cloud and mobile technologies, as well as its intuitive hardware products and value-added services that extend beyond print. These include business process management, mobile print, mobile capture and digital signature services.

Not surprisingly for a company with its heritage, Samsung will continue to pursue a mobile-fist strategy with its printers.

“Mobile printing will continue to gain traction, but we are not there yet,” said Kim. “The data we collect via PrinterOn shows it is growing exponentially and we are confient it will become mainstream in the future. We want to be the number one vendor and we are setting the standard, leading the paradigm shift towards the smart and mobile offie.”

In the meantime, Samsung will continue to invest heavily in R&D. It commits ‘signifiant’ investment to research and development each year and has research labs sited worldwide, enabling it to tap into local expertise across the globe, develop innovative solutions to customer pain points and exploit new opportunities as they emerge.

One of these could be 3D print. Whilst there are no immediate plans to enter the 3D printing market, Kim hints that Samsung is looking closely at the technology. “We believe the biggest usage will be in replacing consumable parts,” he said. “We will continue to monitor the market; develop IP and 3D technology; and, when the scale is right, we will look at entering the market.”

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