Partner Boost Seen As Xerox Unveils New Printer Line

Xerox is launching a new line of multifunction printers that the vendor says will allow its partners to create more personalized and customized services to clients.

The line, called the i-Series, is enabled with Xerox’s newest version of its ConnectKey technology.

According to the CEO of a Xerox partner, the new line of printers addresses a critical need.

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Xerox unveils new printer app tech for partners.

"To succeed in today’s business environment, partners must be able to provide their customers with services beyond hardware," Stefan Nilsson, CEO and Founder of Foxway International, a Swedish-based application development provider, said in a statement.

ConnectKey technology is a tablet-like feature on Xerox's multifunction printers. Its touchscreen interface utilizes applications similar to those in a smartphone to perform specific tasks, including those normally done by an MFP, as well as more complex operations that have been programmed into new apps available on the printer.

With the upgrades, the Norwalk Conn.-based company is also making it easier for partners to personalize the user interface with Xerox App Studio 3.0, or design their own apps with the Personalized Application Builder, to help meet their clients' personal business requirements.

Nilsson added that the Connect Key improvements and additions, specifically Personalized Application Builder, have helped Foxway create applications that have made the MFP more useful for many of his business clients.

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For example, Nilsson’s firm has created applications that are able to scan business papers, such as invoices, and recognize important information on those papers, such as total cost, tax and job title, then automatically, through the app, transfer that information to a cloud-based storage program, cutting down the time it takes businesses to transcribe such information into the database themselves.

Nilsson said that with his apps, he has been able to create a new source of revenue, which makes the MFP more than just a printer, what he calls a "business process kiosk."

The newest incarnation of Xerox's ConnectKey, which will be released in 14 new MFP models, will include pre-installed apps such as its Easy Translation Service App, which can scan a document in one language, translate it, and print it out in another, as well as its @PrintByXerox App, which allows mobile users to send documents to an MFP via email for printing, allowing the solution to run across all platforms.

However, one of the apps that will allow partners to create more revenue is the Xerox App Gallery application (the company’s version of the App Store).

If a partner creates an app and wishes to put it on the App Gallery for sale, it can do so after Xerox clears the application for security and sets up a billing system with that partner. However, after the process is complete, the solution is instantly available globally.

"This is the first time that any partner can create an application that will be visible on all devices that will be available worldwide." Nilsson said. "For the SMB, this is something that has never been done before."

Toni Clayton-Hine, Xerox’s vice president of global marketing and value proposition, said this technology, with the new App Gallery and application development platforms, are making it easier for partners to create more value for their customers and create new revenue for their businesses while changing how their clients use an MFP.

Clayton-Hine said that for partners that focus on Xerox’s printer products, the customization and personalization of workflow processes with simple changes, such as personalized icons or whole applications, will increase client retention and "create a stickiness" around customization and connectivity into an IT infrastructure, while allowing the partners to make money on professional services development and recurring-revenue opportunities around managed services.

And even for partners that moved into the print space from more traditional IT areas and are looking to expand their reach and provide service throughout all endpoints in a connected environment, she said, ConnectKey will provide an opportunity for them to move into the print space with its connected apps.

"We are working to help partners drive new revenue from cloud-based solutions with these type of enhancements and reinventing the MFP as a service kiosk instead of just a printer," she said.