Sergey Nivens - Fotolia
Ricoh has cut the ribbon on its audiovisual (AV) managed services offering to help customers that want to keep collaboration levels high after lockdown with support in their meeting rooms and workplaces.
The firm is kicking off the scheme with plans to make it available to managed service providers (MSPs) in phase two, either later this year or early next year, as it looks to help users that need help getting AV facilities set up and maintained.
At that point, the firm’s existing channel partners will then be given the chance to get involved, and the vendor could also open the door to some fresh entrants that want to sell the managed service.
The vendor is offering the managed service in three flavours – ranging from the reactive, remote monitoring up to proactive monitoring.
The Ricoh Collaboration Board, an interactive whiteboard, which comes with a screen size of up to 75 inches, forms the heart of the AV hardware proposition. The vendor has also covered several software options with an add-on service for Microsoft Office 365, and is using its integrated collaboration cloud to underpin the support and its Reactive Suite to enable remote creativity.
The vendor’s service engineers will be deploying the technology, with the firm teasing users with the prospects of using space more efficiently, improving the employee experience and gaining costs savings.
The vendor is also using its AV network operations centre in Warsaw to deliver the remote management and give customers access to a resource and a dedicated AV team that will respond to their issues.
Plans to roll out the AV managed service were in an advanced stage well before the coronavirus arrived, with Ricoh using its stand at the ISE 2020 exhibition back in January to showcase its technology.
But over the past few months, the lockdown has caused a surge in remote working and has forced many users to embrace cloud-based collaboration tools.
There are plenty of industry watchers who expect that high levels of remote working will remain in the “new normal”, and services that enable staff to work together have seen huge spikes in demand. Questions are also starting to be asked about how offices will look in the future, with many wondering if the high costs-per-desk in places such as London will be costs that can be cut if staff stay away.
David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe, said that the pandemic was affecting future strategies, but there was also a growing interest from customers in a managed services approach.
“The current conditions are tough for businesses, regardless of size and industry. Crucially, our track record of delivering as-a-service solutions and ability to offer global coverage means that customers receive leading managed services technology and support regardless of the challenges ahead,” he said.
Edward Hamilton, vice-president and general manager of communication services at Ricoh Europe, said: “This exciting development builds on our existing managed services for our print, IT services and application services.”
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