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10 Printer Industry Trends To Watch in 2019

The shift toward using multifunction printers as connected devices and a greater emphasis on print security are among the major trends in the market.

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MFP As A Workflow Hub

Without a doubt, the printer industry is looking to expand beyond the traditional business of selling lots of devices. "What we're seeing is more of focus outside the hardware," Kmetz said. "The hardware is commoditized, so software and services that complement the device tend to get more recognition." Ultimately, the multifunction printer (MFP) is transforming into a "workflow or document hub," he said. Along with printing/copying/scanning/faxing, many MFPs now can have apps and workflow solutions added to them, "so you're really talking about more of a systems kind of solution," Kmetz said.

Xerox has had a particularly aggressive push around bringing powerful apps to its multifunction devices. Through its ConnectKey interface, Xerox aims to turn the multifunction device into a smart workplace assistant, with access to apps for simplifying and improving business workflows. Recently, Xerox's line of ConnectKey-enabled devices added support for key business apps such as Salesforce, QuickBooks Online and Concur. In addition, Xerox is endowing printers with software solutions focused on key verticals that can help teachers to give exams and help hospitals with patient care, for instance.

Elsewhere in the industry, HP Inc. recently added the ability for key devices to connect to popular cloud-based apps such as Box, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive, and is looking to target specific verticals with software solutions as well.

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