A few of us at Green Office were lucky enough to attend the Imaging & Technology Education Exposition (ITEX) held at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas between 18th and 20th April 2017. The conference is positioned to office automation dealers in North America and provided valuable insight into the print industry in the US.
Here are some of the key highlights/emerging trends that we took away from the conference:
- The US Print Market is Stagnant at Best
The US print industry is worth an estimated $40 billion per annum. Equipment supply is declining between 1% and 2% per annum. Printing is also declining at between 2% and 4% per annum. As we know – print is declining as more and more people are avoiding printing or using devices to work with documents and data.
Given that the traditional print market is shrinking, Office Automation (OA) dealers are looking beyond copying, printing and managed print for alternative revenue streams such as managed IT, managed services, telephony, cloud and software solutions. Some are even looking at providing water dispensers!
- Smarter Devices
Given some of the strategic corporate manoeuvres and the value propositions being out forward by a few of the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMS), it is clear that OEMs will be attacking the market with “Smarter Devices” campaigns. The aim of these smarter devices will be to enhance user experience and put more value in the box with ready to use applications, software and tools for tracking and reporting. OEMS are fighting for wallet share!
OEMS are also feeling considerable pressure to be developing and launching innovative technology. A few key marketing messages we can likely expect to see from OEMs will be:
- Smarter devices
- More secure devices
- Ink or ink based printing technology
- Wide format printing
- Affordable colour and A3 printing
From a dealer perspective, smarter devices will allow for lower operating costs and enhanced efficiencies and margins in a tighter market environment.
- Document Management and Enterprise Content Management
We were disappointed that there was not more emphasis placed on DMS and ECM solutions that can reduce print more aggressively and enhance productivity of costumers. Currently DMS and ECM options are seen as a value add at best – competing with print volumes and dealer revenues at worst.
However, we did meet and discuss some interesting and exciting software solutions being exhibited that have not yet hit the SA market. We expect to see more emphasis on process automation, machine learning (or artificial intelligence) that will not only reduce printing but make businesses more efficient and sustainable.
The traditional print industry is transforming due to a shrinking demand for printing and devices that print. Now is the best time to be thinking carefully about your document management and environment strategy to ensure that your business does not get caught up in the hype and has a sustainable, well managed solution in place.