Copiers and Printers: The Next Generation, Episode I

Business Man in SpaceOffice spaces, the final frontier. These are the voyages of Sharp multi-function printers and copiers. Their continuing mission: to explore strange new corporations, to seek out new life and new technologies, to boldly go where no printer or copier has gone before.

OK, maybe that was a little over the top, but Sharp continues to introduce innovative new printer and copier technology each year. We want to introduce you to the next generation of Sharp multi-function printers (MFPs). Tom Kappele, regional sales manager with Sharp Electronics Corp., shares his opinions below on new trends and features.

New Features You Can Expect in the Next Year

Sharp has recently released products in a few different categories, and I would expect this trend to continue over the next year. Like many of the manufacturers in our industry, we are introducing products in new market segments and also improving and enhancing existing products to meet customer expectations.

Recent introductions have included:

  • Production Color Models: 65- and 75-page-per-minute models with advanced job management tools and color processing capabilities using a Fiery print server. These models open new doors for Sharp and our dealers allowing us to sell color into high-volume production environments. These are our most advanced color MFPs ever.
  • Advanced Digital Display Products: Sharp’s line of Aquos Board Interactive Displays (60-, 70- and 80-inch models) give our dealers an opportunity to help customers in new markets—conference rooms, training facilities, etc. These products are state-of-the-art, high-definition LCD displays that can replace old technology such as projectors, white boards and flip charts in classrooms, conference rooms and more.
  • Mid-Volume Color MFP Products with New/Enhanced Functionality, including:
    • Standard wireless capability
    • Standard mobile printing
    • Standard Adobe postscript printing
    • Cloud-based document management and document storage capability
    • Standard Pantone color matching
    • Faster processors, more standard memory and larger hard drives for improved job completion
    • Enhanced, customizable user interfaces to simplify end user experience
    • Longer supply yields and reduced total cost of ownership

In the next year I would expect Sharp to release black-and-white models that incorporate some of these same enhancements that our color line-up has seen in the past 6-12 months. Sharp is a leading technology company that is constantly looking to improve existing products, and end users expect us to bring improvements and enhancements to our products.

How These Features Help Boost Productivity

The MFP market has been mature for years, so it’s not seeing growth from year to year in overall unit sales. Our industry is all about improving current technology. Improved productivity using the features mentioned above is part of the overall improvement of technology. These new capabilities are designed to simplify complex printing, copying and scanning jobs and shorten turnaround time.

Document management solutions, as mentioned above, will continue to be a focus for Sharp. All current and future products have the ability, using Sharp’s Open System Architecture (OSA), to integrate with third-party software solutions to easily scan and archive electronic documents, automate workflows to improve document processing within an organization, or track MFP usage and seamlessly bill by department using third-party accounting systems.

Cloud services are quickly becoming attractive for MFPs, just as they are for day-to-day software solutions in the office environment. End users have the option to pay monthly subscription fees for software rather than purchasing and installing it on their own server. I expect that trend to continue, so we’ll see even greater focus from Sharp on additional cloud services over the next year.

Share with us your feedback and the features you would like to see in new Sharp multi-function printers.

In Copiers and Printers: The Next Generation, Episode II, we will look further into the future of copiers and printers with Tom Kappele.