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Transforming office printing for 40 years

Forty years ago, the launch of the Xerox 9700 – the company’s first commercial laser printer – gave rise to the digital printing industry, which today generates more than $120 billion in global annual revenues, according to Smithers Pira

The 9700 which was one of the most successful products in Xerox history – it routinely generated more than $1 billion in annual revenues – transformed office printing with generations of laser printers and multifunction devices using the technology. In the decade after its release, it was the printing press of choice to print bills and statements for credit cards, banks and utilities. It led the market for high-speed, high-volume production of other types of documents that use transactional data as well, including insurance policies and investment reports.

Computer driven printers
Computer driven printers

Last year, KeyPoint Intelligence cited the 9700 as the product that heralded the third wave of industrial automation (computer-driven printers) after steam-powered presses in the early 1800s and electric-powered presses later that century.

“The Xerox 9700 helped usher in the wave of computer-driven automation in the 1970s that transformed offices, data centres, copy departments and ultimately, the printing industry around the world,” said Jeff Hayes, Managing Director, KeyPoint Intelligence. “Much of how we communicate in hard copy today can be traced back to this remarkable product.”

Greatest invention

“The laser printer is arguably the greatest invention made in a Xerox research centre,” said Steve Hoover, Chief Technology Officer, Xerox Corporation. “The 9700 was the first in a long line of iconic products that were made possible by Gary Starkweather’s invention, including DocuTech and today’s iGen family”.

The 9700 also paved the way for variable information printing by personalising each document in a production run. The machine also could be outfitted with Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) toner for printing checks.

For Xerox, the laser printing innovation continues, most recently with the launch of 29 new Xerox ConnectKey-enabled printers and multifunction devices, which offer on-the-go capabilities, cloud connectivity, and access to productivity boosting features and apps that transform traditional printing devices into smart, connected workplace assistants.

Laser printing arguably the greatest invention!
Laser printing arguably the greatest invention!

The family of products, introduced earlier this year, includes a variety of sizes, speeds and capabilities to match the needs of small- and medium-sized businesses as well as large enterprises – and at the heart of ConnectKey devices is the laser technology Xerox invented 40 years ago.

Future of Work global tour

In the wake of the biggest product launch in Xerox history, the company traversed the globe to introduce its new ConnectKey portfolio. The Future of Work Global Tour visited 14 cities in Europe and North America in a six-week span, driving demand and sparking early sales of the company’s new line.

Xerox played host to more than 2,000 customers and channel partners at 16 events, from Milan to Montreal to Manhattan, discussing how the fundamental nature of work is evolving and why office technology must stay ahead of the curve to meet the changing needs of today’s modern businesses.

Future of Work forum attendees heard predictions from leading technology futurists and received advice from Xerox experts on a variety of topics. They also experienced hands-on product demonstrations and training sessions about the new Connectkey portfolio. The global series of events drove significant demand for Xerox technology and expertise, as well as complementary services and custom apps developed and delivered through channel partners.

Marketing muscle for channel partners

Xerox channel partners now have access to two new marketing kits packed with promotional tools. The kits help generate awareness in local markets and drive demand for Xerox’s broad technology portfolio, as well as the partners’ complementary services, custom apps and deep expertise.

The new Xerox VersaLink line reflects the needs of today’s businesses, ideally suited for smaller workgroups and in demand by channel
The new Xerox VersaLink line reflects the needs of today’s businesses, ideally suited for smaller workgroups and in demand by channel partners.

The new Xerox event and demand generation kits are the latest ways the company is helping prepare its channel partners to build closer, more lasting relationships with customers, leading to new and accelerated revenue streams.

The Future of Work Forum Kit provides all of the elements a channel partner needs to host its own Future of Work forum for customers, showcasing their views on the future of work, as well as how their experience and offerings can ready potential customers for workplace evolution. The kit includes suggested venues, sample invitations and agendas, presentation materials, imagery, equipment recommendations, logistics and budget guidance, social media assets and public relations support.

The Demand Generation Kit includes a host of marketing touch-points spanning online content and outbound emails – all designed to keep the partner and its offerings top-of-mind with current clients and prospective customers, as well as drive demand for Xerox’s 29 ConnectKey-enabled printers, multifunction devices and apps. The tool kit includes social media templates with images, suggested content to post, webpage elements, photography and inserts for customer emails.

Furnishing channel partners with sales and marketing tools is core to Xerox’s strategy to increase its share of the lucrative and growing small- and medium-size business market – as 75 per cent of office technology sales are made through indirect channels.

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