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5 Things To Know About HP's New Workplace Print Solutions

HP is launching a cloud platform for creating printer apps, while also enabling remote management of MFPs and launching new A3 devices and print security capabilities.

HP Inc. on Monday announced its next moves to advance its workplace print offerings with new capabilities aimed at channel partners, including solutions for enabling the creation of printer apps and remote management of printers.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP also unveiled new A3 devices and debuted additional print security capabilities.

[Related: HP Shaking Up Its Print Business Model]

The moves come as HP seeks to improve its print business by including a greater number of managed print services engagements with customers, with a focus on working with managed print partners.

What follows are five key things to know about HP's new workplace print solutions launch.

HP Workpath

HP announced a new cloud platform that will take the place of the company's HP JetAdvantage Apps and JetAdvantage Link offerings. The new HP Workpath platform will launch with more than 50 apps and services that run on HP devices. The apps and services are designed to help businesses streamline core workflows, regardless of whether the customer is focused on Microsoft or Google apps for business.

There are also specific workflows created by HP and by the company's third-party developer community and partners. Workpath is an open platform and enables developers to create applications that run natively on a print device using Android Studio.

"We have applications that cover healthcare, enabling our devices now to connect natively to medical imaging platforms," said Paul Birkett, director of worldwide workflow solutions at HP. "We have applications that work within government agencies, enabling the automated signing and approval of code documentation. We have applications that running in the education sector, enabling students to not only pay for their printing, but also to natively connect into the education management platform to have their coursework graded, scored, and all of their relevant information updated."

HP printers with Workpath are "now moving into a modern IT management model" that makes print devices work natively like mobile devices or PCs, said Matthew Schotten, vice president of managed print solutions at Oklahoma City, Okla.-based ImageNet Consulting.

For instance, accessing an Office 365 document and triggering workflows are intuitive and immediately available, with no need for complex server software and configuration, he said in an email to CRN.

Workpath offers "unlimited possibilities to enhance the usage of HP devices," Schotten said.

ImageNet expects to be able to increase win rates with tailored solutions and personalized experiences using Workpath, along with generating new Software-as-a-Service revenue streams, he said. The solution provider is developing Workpath apps to meet specific customer needs.

"By offering truly unique and customized experiences, we will create brand loyalty for ImageNet and HP," Schotten said.

HP Command Center

HP is also launching a new cloud platform for partners that enables remote management of printer devices, amid the rollout of Workpath apps and services. The HP Command Center platform is designed with the needs of managed services partners in mind, Birkett said.

Command Center will enable "more rapid onboarding of HP devices into the cloud platform, and the management and deployment of applications and services to the devices for customers to use," he said. "It's there to enable the reseller to quickly build their own portfolio of solutions. Because we expect the number of services and applications from Workpath to be growing rapidly over the next over the next 12 months."

HP already has more than 300 developers working on the platform, he said.

"We haven't currently marketed that--that's just the developers that have found it and been interested enough to start working on it. We're expecting a big growth in that as we begin the recruitment," Birkett said. "And we also have a number of our managed print partners interested in developing their own applications to give themselves unique capabilities in the market and to differentiate their own brand."

Ultimately, "all of this is connected to a single unified pane of glass--a modern management platform working through the cloud to enable the management of the devices, the security on the devices, the applications and services that run on the devices--to create a unified environment for each customer," he said.

HP believes the Command Center makes it “incredibly cost effective, and a low barrier to entry for resellers, to finally adopt more advanced solutions for their clients--and to begin providing those at scale,” Birkett said. “One of the biggest barriers has been that the cost of managing solutions has been so high, that often customers weren't willing to pay for the management cost and the installation cost. We believe we have fixed that."

Security 

HP has aimed to differentiate from competitors in recent years with a focus on print security, and on Monday the company announced a number of new capabilities for further enhancement and simplification of security for its printer fleet. Those updates include a new version of HP's Security Manager tool, Security Manager 3.4, which brings support for Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP).

The support "provides access to a broader Certificate Authority portfolio and simplifies the process of issuing device certificates across a fleet," HP said in a news release.

Meanwhile, HP is debuting new Essential Security Policy integration within the company’s Smart Device Services, which "enables customers and channel partners to enhance security of the entire IT network," HP said.

A3 Devices

HP also announced three new A3 devices, two of which are aimed at transactional-oriented partners and one for contractual partners.

The devices for contractual partners are the new HP Color LaserJet Enterprise MFP M776 and HP Color LaserJet Enterprise M856 Printer. They are aimed at providing enhanced color printing for marketing materials and professional documents, thanks in part to a new print mode that "provides a wider range of colors and an extra level of vividness and gloss for important proposals, brochures and other marketing materials," HP said.

HP’s Custom Color Manager technology also "exactly matches color output of any document/device combination -- without expensive color matching systems," the company said.

For managed print partners, the company is unveiling the HP Color LaserJet Managed E85055, featuring a lower cost per page.

Availability

The new HP printer solutions and devices will be rolling out through the end of the year, the company said. HP Workpath and HP Command Center are expected to be available for HP Premier partners by late 2019.

Meanwhile, the new HP A3 devices are expected to be available starting Nov. 1. On the security capabilities, SCEP support is expected to be available in December, while other security features are available to channel partners now, HP said.

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