HP launches largest ever Print 2.0 range

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In a grab for a larger piece of the global printing pie, HP has introduced a slew of printers, services and business solutions.

Launched this week at the hardware giant’s Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) Launch event in Shanghai, HP’s “Print 2.0” range aims to bring the concept of printing to the forefront of business optimisation concerns.

The new offerings include two HP LaserJet multifunction printers (MFPs) and a flatbed scanner targeted at enterprises. For SMBs, HP also has launched eight colour and monochrome laser printers, and three ink-based printers which have been re-branded to HP Officejet.

“With all the economic challenges in the world today, customers are looking at printing no longer as an afterthought, but as a strategic opportunity to cut costs,” said Bruce Dahlgren, senior vice president, Global Enterprise Business, Imaging and Printing Group, HP.

“Meanwhile, they recognise that this economic challenge won’t last forever, so the focus is also on how they can optimise and leverage their infrastructure.”

“Today, I would suggest that the printer, combined with the functions of a copier, fax machine and scanner, has truly broken free of being a peripheral. Today, multifunction devices sit on the company’s network, and can act almost as a portal into the company’s infrastructure.”

But devices form only a part of HP’s Print 2.0 strategy. At the heart of the Print 2.0 launch is a range of software and services that HP expects will help businesses to optimise their printing infrastructure, manage the networked environment, and improve workflow.

HP first introduced the concept of Print 2.0 at its annual Imaging and Printing Conference in New York in May 2007. The Print 2.0 strategy represents an increased flexibility of purchase models, increased visibility of printing and management options, a greater focus on Green IT, and a surprising drive towards digitised information.

To support the Print 2.0 push, HP has made a US$300 million investment in an interactive marketing campaign, called “What Do You Have To Say?”, that is aimed at large businesses.

The company is also bolstering its range of IPG offerings with a revamped channel partner program and the recent acquisition of Exstream Software to develop software solutions that complement HP’s devices.

“Back when we started in 1985, we were very good at bringing out user-friendly printers. But over time, the device wasn’t enough,” said Chris Morgan.

Citing a growing awareness from businesses about inefficiencies in their printing infrastructure that may lead to costly wastage of power, paper, ink and time, Morgan explained HP’s aim of adding value to enterprise print solutions through assessments of customers’ infrastructure by HP and HP’s Gold partners.

By delivering a holistic range of products and services, HP hopes to win new customers from the analogue printing market that currently comprises 90 percent of the total analogue and digital printing market.

Morgan highlighted opportunities in the booming signage marketplace in Asia, including the printing of billboards and advertisements on public transport vehicles. China, India and the North Pacific were mentioned as areas of particularly high growth.

“If companies were all ineffectively printing paper, then in the short term it would be good for our business,” Morgan said, “but in the long term, we have a greater business opportunity helping customers waste less, because we stand to gain so much more of the greater pie.”

“Our focus right now is about extending the depth of our coverage. We’re in a full growth and penetration mode,” he said.

Meanwhile, the company is boasting healthy financial results with worldwide revenue of $28.5 billion reported in the 2007 financial year. According to the IDC Quarterly Printer Tracker report for the fourth quarter of 2007, HP currently has a 47 percent market share of the overall ink and laser printer market, servicing 53.8 percent of the enterprise market, and 45.1 percent of SMBs.

Morgan expects the breadth of products and services from HP’s IPG group, as well as offerings from HP’s overall portfolio, to appeal to customers in the SMB and enterprise sectors.

“We are not just a printer company; we are one of the biggest IT companies in the world, and being one of the largest IT companies in the world is going to be an asset in helping customers deal with the complexity of IT options,” he said.

“If you look at where Print 2.0 is going, HP has a big advantage in having a notebook presence, as well as a presence in the desktop and printer markets. Imaging and printing today is the sales lead for our consumer notebook division, and our notebook division is the sales lead for imaging and printing.”

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