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Editors Choice Awards Awards

awardsEditor’s choice award – Office Machines

HP edges closer

With the launch of its first Edgeline MFPs, HP is confident that it will soon become the market leader in copiers too!

In a significant development for the MFP market, HP has launched the first office colour devices based on its revolutionary Edgeline technology, which uses fixed inkjet printheads that span the width of the page to achieve print speeds of up to 70 pages per minute.

hp copierThe result of $1.4 billion investment and four years’ research and development, HP Edgeline provides an alternative to laser technology for high-speed colour multifunction devices (MFPs).

There are other ink-based MFPs on the market - the Ricoh MP C1500sp and the 120ppm Riso HC5000 series - but they are very much on the margins (entry-level and production respectively) and have their limitations. Ricoh’s machine is very slow (6ppm colour/15ppm mono), and the print quality and multifunction capabilities of Riso’s machine are not good enough for general office use.

These are not criticisms that can be levelled at the HP CM8060/CM8050 Colour MFPs, which are as fast and versatile as any other office MFD. With respective print speeds of 50ppm colour/60ppm mono and 40ppm colour/50ppm mono, they are designed to handle high volume workloads in busy offices; print quality is said to be good; and with print, copy, fax and scan to email/folder, they provide the usual MFD features.

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Editor’s choice award – Office Productivity Software

Google launches business version of hosted office suite

Google has expanded its offering for enterprises with the launch of Google Apps Premier Edition, a professional version of the company’s hosted collaboration suite, which includes email, instant messaging, a shared calendar, word processor and spreadsheet.

The Premier Edition provides small and medium-sized businesses with a cost-effective, secure alternative to traditional office suites and email systems. For an annual subscription of £26 per user, business users get email, a calendar, word processor and spreadsheet, plus 10GB of storage space, 24 x 7 maintenance and support, automatic upgrades, service level agreements (99.9% uptime) and APIs that allow the service to be integrated into an organisation’s existing infrastructure.

Because Google Apps is web-based, users can access their work documents wherever there is an internet connection: at work, when travelling or at home.

Roberto SolimeneRoberto Solimene, European Enterprise Director of Google Enterprise, told Business Info that the hosted Google Apps Premier Edition would save businesses money and enable them to devote more time and resources to core activities.

Businesses spend $7 out of every $10 of the IT budget just in maintaining the actual infrastructure they have. Not much money goes into innovation and new technology. There are savings to be made just by eliminating the email infrastructure. If you remove the need for numerous email servers and let someone else take care of it, you can concentrate on your core business,” he said.

He added that although the product is designed for small and medium-sized businesses, it provides enterprises of all sizes with exciting possibilities. “We thought the product would be ideal for SMEs because they don’t have the IT resource, budget or time to manage a large infrastructure. But the early adopters include massive companies in which 40-50% of the workforce might not have PCs at work but probably have them at home. Spending £26 on a subscription to Google Apps for these employees, gives business managers a communications gateway to everyone in the company.

Large businesses that are using Google Apps Premier Edition in pockets within their organisation include Proctor & Gamble, General Electric and Estee Lauder.

Another is Google, which switched over to Google Apps in October last year. Solimene points out that any business concerned about the security, functionality or reliability of Google Apps should take reassurance from the fact that Google’s 11,000 employees are using exactly the same service.

Because we are a public company and have to comply with a lot of procedures we have reliability and security built into the system,” he said.

One aspect that may trouble businesses is the targeted advertising used to fund the free consumer service, which is based on keywords picked up by Google’s anti-spam filter. To allay businesses’s fears this feature is turned off in the Premier Edition, though it can be activated if desired.

One potential weakness of the hosted option is the requirement for an internet connection to access your documents. However, with ‘always on’ broadband connectivity this would only be a problem if internet access was interrupted or if mobile workers were unable to gain a connection.

It is also true that Google’s word processor and spreadsheet aren’t as highly featured as better established products, but as Solimene says “90% of users use just 10% of the functionality of a word processor or spreadsheet”.

He also points out that new features are being added all the time and that one of the strengths of Google’s hosted model is that they become available to subscribers immediately without the need for costly and complicated upgrades.

Another strength of Google Docs and Spreadsheets is the ability for multiple employees to work on documents at the same time, without having to email document back and forth.

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