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Print players must open up to exploit IoT opportunities

Printers could be a hub for data and compute power and tap into a growing IoT ecosystem

The print industry is going to have to be more open about sharing data if it plans to take remain a key part of the IoT ecosystem in the future.

Multifunction printers already generate a lot of data and have compute power that could be taken advantage of if third parties could use it as a resource. But, according to Quocirca that will require a shift in the current attitudes to keeping the drawbridges up.

The analyst house has produced its Mastering the IoT: the big data opportunity for print manufacturers executive briefing and called for changes from both vendors and managed print services players.

“The vast quantity and diversity of big data sources available mean that vendors must widen their horizons and look beyond the immediate print industry to build cross-sector partnerships that draw intelligence from disparate sources. This will enable them to deliver the intelligent services that customers are looking for," said Louella Fernandes, research director at Quocirca.

“Vendors need to be willing to share their own data – suitably anonymised - as part of the bargain. This will be a significant culture shift for many print organisations, who have hitherto closely guarded their IP and installed base insights, tending to look inwards, not outwards, for inspiration," she added.

Quocirca's briefing highlights the rewards that are on offer for those that do make the effort to open things up to work in an IoT environment.

“Big data and the IoT offer great opportunities for the print industry, but vendors and MPS providers need to think outside the box of the print ecosystem to uncover the innovative ways that print network data can integrate with data sources from other partners to improve productivity and efficiency," said Fernandes.

Underlining the attraction of the UK print market the Portuguese firm 360 onlineprint has arrived after gaining a $20m investment and also entered most major countries across Europe.

“At 360 onlineprint, we have a history of sustained growth and this is the mentality we want to maintain. Therefore, now that we have a solid platform, an extended range of products and we have expanded our team, we are confident that now is the right time to enter these markets. This investment round has given us the necessary support to take this big step", said Sérgio Vieira, CEO of 360 onlineprint.

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