PrintIT Reseller attended OKI’s Smart Colour Solutions launch event which took place October 5-6 in Milan
Terry Kawashima, Managing Director of OKI Europe opened the keynote presentations, he recapped on OKI’s global business strategy which the firm embarked on three years ago, expanded on achievements to date and shared OKI’s plans for the future.
He said that the company’s focus was on extending its business portfolio into both the professional print and office solutions market. “Whilst we were absolutely convinced that this was the right way forward, the journey has proved to be a little more challenging than we initially thought,” he admitted, adding that the company has already made significant progress in this direction through its relentless efforts to understand customer needs and pain points.
OKI has a comprehensive range of Pro Series colour printing devices specifically targeted at Graphic Arts applications and has already made a major impact in this market. Kawashima said: “Our Pro 9 Series for example, has enabled us to gain a considerable 30 per cent foothold in the Graphic Arts market within Europe.”
In 2015, OKI acquired Seiko’s wide format business unit. “This has made us as a brand relevant and unique to our target customers in the Pay for Print market,” said Kawashima. “Feedback from our customers has been extremely positive and we are confident that we have the right portfolio of products not only addressing the growing professional print market, but to also make a real difference in this space.”
Accelerating its penetration into the office solutions arena was another key objective for OKI and according to Kawashima the company has enjoyed success over the last couple of years. “Since the launch of our new MC800 Series of A3 colour smart MFPs in May last year, we are now consistently achieving over 30 per cent market share in this segment across EMEA,” he said.
Without disclosing any details Kawashima alluded to the fact that OKI has a pipeline of exciting developments that are very relevant to its target customers. He said: “Whilst our journey in pursuing professional print and office solutions opportunities continues, we are deepening our learning to address the specific pains and needs of our target industries such as retail, healthcare and graphic arts.”
He added: “One of the major strengths of OKI’s printer business is our unique LED printing system that enables us to deliver industry leading colour print quality and exceptionally versatile media handling flexibility. However, it is absolutely vital that we make these advantages relevant to our customers. That is why we recently brought in experts from those industries to help us accelerate developing our solutions relevant to customers in these verticals.”
Future for print
Tetsuya Kuri, Vice President of Marketing for EMEA said: “It is clear from the market response that we are on the right track towards achieving our business growth objectives, but where is the printing industry heading?”
He pointed to the fact that there is a common perception that the demand for print will significantly reduce due to the proliferation of digital media, easily accessible via mobile devices and tablets, allowing people to view documents in electronic forms, anytime, anywhere.
He said that this is a great example of how the evolution of digital technology is helping people access data and do business more effectively and efficiently, posing the question: “So where does this leave print?”
Kuri suggested that digital marketing communications are losing their impact as the volume of messages business users receive continues to rise exponentially, backing this up by citing statistics published in 2015. Technology research firm Radicati say that the number of emails sent and received per day worldwide reached over 205 billion. And this figure is expected to grow, to over 246 billion by the end of 2019.
With the increasing number of emails received, it is getting more difficult to capture attention, and with digital data laws in Europe set to become much stricter, Kuri said that businesses will need to find other ways to attract attention and communicate effectively.
“The way businesses communicate needs to change,” he said. “We expect the demand for printed communications to increase as businesses move towards more effective communications that are personalised and with eye-catching colour graphics, grabbing people’s attention, resulting in a higher conversion rate and a greater ROI than email marketing.”
He added: “With our range of new products, OKI will get even closer to customers’ printing needs by enabling on-demand in-house high-quality colour printing, producing effective documents for small businesses in a compact and affordable form or increasing business efficiency and security by tailored and secure document workflow integration for large corporates, or even enabling special applications on unique print media in the retail and healthcare environment, all effectively and efficiently done on a small A4 colour printer.
Empowering businesses to make a big impression
OKI has refreshed almost its entire colour printer range from the entry 3 Series to its colour A3 C8 Series, no product in its line-up is now more than three years old. The company has added greater functionality across the range, making it easier and more secure for customers to print and has further expanded the OKI smart product range, bringing smart document management within the reach of every company.
The new OKI range provides professional security features at no extra cost. Private Print enables users to send encrypted data securely to the printer, authenticate with either PIN or a card and choose which document to print from the print queue, the document is deleted automatically afterwards, while Wireless Direct allows for a safe simultaneous wired and wireless ad-hoc connection.
With Shared Print, users can store documents on a device for anyone to print without the need to authenticate and these documents won’t be deleted afterwards. Mobile Printing allows printing on the move and the new range is compatible with AirPrint and Google Cloud Print 2.0 ready. In addition, the MFP products also have USB direct print and scan at the front of the machine.
The new range features a simplified, three clicks set-up procedure, and with almost any OKI product, if new features become available, the end user can update the device firmware through a web portal. For dealers installing a bigger fleet of the new 5 Series products, cloning the settings and accessing the address book from the website, will save time and money.
Once the products are up and running, they are easy to maintain and troubleshoot. Users can follow the animated instructions on screen to change a toner cartridge, or fix a paper jam, for example and taking this one step further users can now input a problem code to the OKI FAQ part of the new OKI Mobile Print app to get directed to a video that explains how to solve the problem.
The new launch has widened OKI smart range of products featuring its open platform sXP. The OKI smart range will now cover A3 and A4 products, colour and mono devices and will cater for everyone from the SMB to the enterprise user, all of whom benefit from large colour touch screens and an easy-to-use menu structure.
OKI 5 Series
The 5 series is a completely new product, incorporating a smart MFP and printer, which OKI says makes it unique in the small workgroup segment. The products offer true 30/30ppm colour print, copy and scanning speed and 1200x1200dpi print resolution. The new models have a 7” colour touch screen, which is easily customisable and easy to use and for the more cost-conscious customer, there is also a smaller screen version available.
OKI 3 Series
The products are OKI’s strong entry models for SMBs and offer value for money. OKI has retained the same pricing making the new products the fastest in the price segment, offering all the functionality required by a small team, from duplex print, copy and scan to Gigabit Ethernet and wireless.
OKI 6 & 7 Series
Designed for busy workgroups that carry out high volume printing as well as companies who want to save on printing costs and produce marketing materials in-house. These models benefit from features that deliver enhanced connectivity like Gigabit Ethernet and Wireless Direct; compatibility with Google Cloud 2.0 and improved security features such as Private Print.
OKI 8 Series
This is the smallest A3 colour printer on the market. OKI says it is ideal for retail environments, where space is typically at premium. Users can produce leaflets, brochures, banners and shelf edge labels in-house and it will also manage all back office printing with ease. The models benefit from the same enhancements as the 6 & 7 Series including enhanced connectivity and security