Color printing set to go mainstream in enterprises
|Michael Hoffmann, Senior Vice President, HP Imaging
and Printing Group, Asia Pacific & Japan
Two years ago, owning a color laser printer was the privilege
of a few enterprises, mainly from the publishing industry. A lot has changed
since then and color has become more affordable. Starting prices for color laser
printers have slid below the Rs 50 thousand mark and more options for color
printing are now available. Seeing a huge opportunity in a steadily growing
market, vendors like Hewlett Packard are aggressively moving color printing
to the mainstream for business environments. Already a $7.1 billion market,
HP estimates the office color printing market will grow annually by 20 percent
to $10.2 billion by 2006 worldwide. HP's Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) has
devised a strategy to increase marketshare.
Michael Hoffmann, Senior Vice President, HP Imaging and Printing Group, Asia
Pacific & Japan, said three vectors have come together to drive the increased
adoption of color printing in the enterprise. "Imaging and printing devices
are more affordable, digital photography is widespread, and technology now can
provide rich, powerful color at prices customers can afford. HP is harnessing
these factors to make 2004 the year digital color goes mainstream."
Don Dixon, Principal Analyst, Gartner Research said the barriers to color are
coming down, and more enterprises are adopting color for mainstream printing
worldwide. "As ASP and running costs decline, color will become available
to more businesses (especially from the SMB sector) in 2005 and beyond."
There are a couple of factors that are driving color printing mainstream for
businesses. Firstly, acquisition prices are falling rapidly. For instance the
HP Color LaserJet 2550 is available at a street price of Rs 35,000. According
to HP, this makes volume color printing an attractive proposition even for small
Apart from that, print speeds are increasing and vendors are applying techniques
like single-pass technology (all four colors are applied in a single pass instead
of four passes), and dual-side printing.
Printer manufacturers like HP have also put in a lot of research to address
CIO concerns about manageability and TCO.
Vibhor Bansal, Country Category Manager, Color Lasers & Business Inkjets,
Hewlett-Packard India, informs that HP has looked into these concerns and responded
by introducing certain features (in some models) that lower the TCO and improve
productivity. For instance, there's a feature called Smart Printing Supplies
wherein a manager can track the usage of toner through a Web interface. An MIS
manager can see this and plan accordingly. This reduces the margin for printer
A bigger concern with users is running costsmainly the cost of consumables
(cartridges). HP is aware that this could be a big issue with SMBs (a segment
it is aggressively pursuing), and hence it has introduced the dual cartridge
system in the Color LaserJet 2550 (which is positioned at SMBs).
Bansal informed that the LaserJet 2550 printer offers a choice of a low-yield,
low-price cartridge system and a high yield, low cost per page (CPP) system.
The standard cartridge set prints about 2,000 pages (per month), while the higher
capacity system prints 4,000 pages.
To increase its share in the enterprise color printer market, HP is primarily
looking at migrating its existing base of customers to color or color/mono.
It will also target fresh (large) accounts and pursue a new segmentSMBs.
In the enterprise space, HP is targeting four segments: SMB, large enterprises,
graphic artists and commercial printing.
To implement this strategy HP has already initiated marketing campaigns and
programs for its existing customers and channel partners.
"We are telling our customers to go in for a balanced deployment. Have
mono printers for high volume output and color printers for in-house printing.
Have a mix of devices to get the best ROI on print infrastructure," said
On the anvil are upgrade programs for its most valued customers (with a large
installed base of HP printers). There will be a trade-in program for most valued