A consensus is settling around the idea that the future will include a hybrid working approach, with more staff choosing to operate both from their own homes as well as offices.
That movement will have profound effects on the printing industry and over the course of the pandemic there have been signs of a reaction, with many looking to ensure they can maintain revenue levels.
Quocirca director Louella Fernandes has been regularly sharing research around the prospects for the print channel and recently spelt out the challenges that lay ahead. She said: “Hybrid working is here to stay, and managed print services providers must position themselves to assist clients with home printing and information security, but also a wider range of complementary workplace services that help implement the accelerated digital transformation prompted by the pandemic and aid home-office collaboration in the hybrid environment.”
Brother must have been listening, particularly to the “home printing” element, and the vendor has launched a series of A4 business inkjets designed for small businesses and home offices.
The company is looking to its channel to take the products out to customers that are currently making strategic decisions about how to support hybrid working.
“Businesses’ printing needs are changing as companies transform how their employees work,” said Russell Brown, head of sales – SOHO business unit at Brother UK.
“This new range of A4 inkjets is designed to support the changing world of work, from the shift to decentralised print in offices to providing people with a business-grade printer for the home office and small workspaces to boost their productivity.
“Effective hybrid working will depend on reliable, secure devices that can deliver high-performance and cost-efficient printing, and the new range will provide our channel partners with devices that neatly meet the sharp shift in customer demand.”
Brown said the mini A4 inkjet launch demonstrated how Brother was reacting to the emergence of hybrid working and it wanted to make sure partners had answers for users looking at different working scenarios.
The new devices include three mid-range A4 business inkjet models, with wireless connectivity, automatic two-sided printing and speeds of up to 20 inches per minute.
The channel can also offer customers the option to choose the All in Box package (MFC-J4540DW XL), which will help save money on printing costs by giving users 6,000 black and 5,000 colour pages of ink, which works out at three years’ worth of supplies plus maintenance over the same period.
Some questions have been raised recently about the commitment of some leading players to the business inkjet format, but like Brother, its rival Epson has also been underlining its commitment to the technology.
Rob Clark, senior vice-president of Epson Europe and managing director of Epson UK, assured its channel that it was squarely behind business inkjet and would be investing in the technology.
“The industry is looking for better, more sustainable technologies and Epson’s inkjet technology answers this need,” said Clark. “We remain 100% committed to it, and to our channel partners.”