At the company’s dealer conference in Madrid in November, Toshiba Tec Marketing Director Jeremy Spencer hinted at plans for a brand new product line-up in 2018 and beyond. PrintIT Reseller caught up with him after the event to find out more
Whilst the finer details around the new product roadmap are still being finalised, Spencer was happy to outline the intended launch plan for next year and into 2019.
“There will be a major refresh of our A3 MFP line-up,” he said. The roll-out of the new 16 strong range that spans both colour and mono devices with speeds ranging from 25 to 75ppm (colour) and 25 to 85ppm (mono) is expected to commence in the summer with the high-end models towards the end of the year.
“One of the biggest changes we are making is across usability,” Spencer explained, adding: “The new models are designed to be even more user-friendly. Today, people are used to working on tablets and are looking for a ubiquitous experience across all the devices they use, that’s why we’re making the GUI bigger, with an embedded web browser on the front of all new devices.”
In terms of the look and feel of the new MFPs, Toshiba is making a few minor tweaks but retaining its black livery. “The design we unveiled a couple of years ago has been very well received, so we’re not planning to make any changes to that,” he said.
Customisation up to a whole new level
The new A3 range will feature a number of enhancements to the controller, a move designed to support more apps for customer workﬂows. “A big push for us next year is with customisation – the way end-users interact with the machines,” Spencer stated.
He added: “We’re looking at new ways for customers to engage with the MFPs and the typical buttons that appear on the screen won’t be in the same guise. Individual customers will beneft from fully customised screens whether they want a user interface that displays just two basic functions, or multiple buttons that incorporate all of the workﬂows they want to work from the device. We already have that functionality, but this next-generation will bring customisation up to a whole new level.”
The new range will feature a number of new connectors for customisation including Offce 365 as well as embedded OCR engines. The new devices will also support NFC (Near Field Communication) connection which is new for Toshiba.
Security also remains high on the agenda. Spencer said: “The advent of GDPR brings new responsibilities for businesses to protect individuals’ personal data and whilst our solutions as a standalone won’t ensure compliance, they will go some way in assisting companies with some elements of their GDPR compliance journeys.”
Highest security standards
All e-BRIDGE Next models fulfil the highest security standards to protect data from unwanted access. The new range will sport features including the self-encrypting Toshiba Secure HDD which provides top level security. The hard disk drive uses a complex encryption and authentication method which only allows the device it has been installed in to access the data stored on it. If removed and connected to another PC or MFP the data cannot be extracted. Instead the encryption key, which is stored n the HDD itself, will be deleted.
New features including hard copy device protection will ensure the systems are compliant with IEEE2600.1 and meet the EAL3 Common Criteria requirements. IPsec is also available to securely encrypt data sent to and from the MFP.
The A4 printer and MFP ranges will also enjoy an update early 2018. “There will be additions to the entire range that includes single-function and multifunctional printers. We will be releasing 11 new models in print speeds up to 50ppm,” Spencer confirmed.
Within its mobile and barcode printing business, there are also some new product launches in the pipeline. In June the company will refresh its mid-range 4-inch barcode printers, adding four new models which will feature an upgraded interface board, larger memory and improved functionality. And in November it will launch the FP2D mobile printer.
Whilst still a way off into 2019, Spencer confirmed that Toshiba Tec will continue to innovate. “We have a number of exciting new products coming out further down the line, timing wise this will probably be towards the back end of 2019,” he said, adding that this could possibly include some major new developments with Toshiba’s erasable print technology.
The company is also embarking on a recruitment campaign to appoint new partners. “We’re looking to expand our channel partner network in geographical areas where we have gaps in exposure,” Spencer explained, adding: “We are also looking to maximise opportunities within our existing partners by helping our MFP resellers transition into the barcode and mobile printing market, and for our resellers within this sector to grow their business by offering our mainstream printing solutions and services.”
Spencer said that whilst it is still early days – the Madrid event was the frst time the company hosted partners across both business areas in one dealer conference – there have already been some sales successes. “We have one MFP partner who has secured a new retail customer, providing traditional printing which then opened the door for them to have a conversation about barcode products and retail offerings. The synergies between the two businesses are signifcant, it’s a great opportunity for our channel partners, the feedback we’ve had to date and the number of partners looking at the opportunity seriously, has been really encouraging.”
In terms of market performance, Spencer confirmed that sales to date during the second half of the current fiscal year are outperforming projections. “This year has been a strong one for Toshiba and we’re confident with the new launches to come in 2018, that the next financial year will see us continue to gain further traction in the marketplace,” he said in conclusion.