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DC Analysts Sharon McNee and Jacqui Hendriks share the main areas (not ranked in any order) where they see continued movement in 2019.

o Consolidation continues: Channel, hardware providers (not just devices but finishing equipment for example) and software providers;

o Acquisitions and strategic partnerships: to add skills, capabilities and customer base;

o Office page volumes continue to decline: through digitisation automation (impact of AI, Big Data Analytics etc.), evolving working practices;

o Shift to contractual from transactional: Enterprise and SMB;

o Emergence of new pricing models: subscription, licence, per seat, per user;

o Move into adjacent markets: IT services, workplace services, ECM;

o IT infrastructure outsourcing: including print, especially for large enterprises;

o Emergence: of new online MPS/BPS providers;

o Growth in the industrial print space: Textile, label and packaging, printing on substrates other than paper, digital signage, 3D;

o Inkjet technology adoption growth: office and production space;

o Security: increased print monitoring and management solutions adoption.”

Quocirca Research Director Louella Fernandes, outlines seven trends that will redefine the print industry in 2019.

1 Print security
IoT-type security vulnerabilities on printers will become a more common attack vector as cyber-attacks that exploit IoT devices show no sign of abating. Protecting today’s print environment is challenging due to its complexity, particularly with mixed fleets compromising outdated old and new devices. GDPR has driven some improvements in print security, but there is still some lack of awareness of the potential IoT security risks around printers and smart MFPs.

Print manufacturers need to expand their security assessment and monitoring services, along with partnering with traditional IT security vendors, particularly in the area of threat intelligence. This will be imperative to ensure that print security is treated with the same priority as the rest of the IT infrastructure.

2 Continued print and digital convergence

Print and digital convergence will drive increased demand for integrated document workflow in 2019. This presents a significant opportunity for MPS providers to articulate a clear proposition around integrated paper and digital workflow services. As businesses look for guidance with digital initiatives, MPS providers that have the digital workflow skills to drive efficiency and productivity improvements, will be best positioned to succeed.

3 Cloud MPS comes of age
Cloud-delivered MPS will become more prominent, reducing the burdens associated with managing print. Managing print on-premise is expensive. Cloud services offer channel partners, looking to improve profitability and deepen customer relationships, a flexible and low-cost approach to MPS and access to the SMB market. 2019 will undoubtedly see more MPS providers extend their traditional offerings to the cloud.

4 The big data opportunity will remain unexploited

The promise of big data analytics will not deliver in the short term. Although the big data opportunity has enormous potential for the print industry, most manufacturers have yet to capitalise on this.

Exploiting big data and predictive analytics will demand new expertise and competencies. This will need to be built through a big data talent acquisition strategy, driven either organically or through new collaborative partnerships.

5 IT services expertise will be key
Quocirca’s Print 2025 research revealed that businesses will favour IT service providers over traditional print suppliers by 2025. Channel partners must expand their IT expertise either organically or by partnering with experienced IT service providers, providing access to a broader product portfolio, for example, offering print security as part of an overall managed security service offering. For manufacturers or large channel organisations, acquiring IT providers can be an effective means of gaining the specialised sales and support expertise required.

6 Leading players will offer managed IoT services
The emergence of enterprise IoT platforms offering asset management, fault detection, smart analytics and remote monitoring presents a broader opportunity for MPS providers to participate in the IoT space.

Although managed IoT services offer a breadth of opportunities, providers also need to consider the security challenges. While most MPS providers offer robust security to protect print devices from external hacking and to prevent exposure of confidential information, the management of new IoT devices requires new competencies to identify and monitor device vulnerabilities. Collaborating and partnering with third-party providers to gain expertise in IoT device management and security is therefore the best way forward for those looking to extend capabilities.

Workplace technology
services will start leveraging artificial intelligence. 2018 saw rudimentary voice recognition capabilities emerge for smart printers and MFPs. We can expect to see enhancements of these in 2019. Momentum will largely depend on partnerships with companies like Google and Amazon, for example with the use of the latter’s Alexa for Business. For traditional print manufacturers, who need to be more relevant in the future workplace, developing capabilities in this area will be key.

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