Print.IT Reseller - issue 54

01732 759725 22 Q&A PrintIT Reseller (PITR ): At the beginning of this year Sharp announced it was aggressively investing in new areas of technology such as AIoT and high-res (8K) display technology. What progress has been made in bringing new solutions to market over the past six months? Jason Cort (JC): Sharp has brought several new products to market in recent months. We are pushing boundaries with the industry’s first 8K professional display, which was launched in Europe earlier this year. This forms a key a part of Sharp’s 8K ecosystem, which will ultimately cover the whole value chain from image creation to distribution and display. Interest in the 8K professional display has also been magnified significantly by the complementary 8K broadcast camera, which has been previewed alongside the display at several events in 2018. The 8K camera is now progressing through final EU certifications and will launch later in the year, however it was recently used for a European pilot project with France TV to create 8K sports viewing at the Roland- Garros French Open. Beyond the professional broadcast space, Sharp’s continued expansion into the European consumer market included the launch of the LV-70X500E 8K TV range. This demonstrates how Sharp is developing technology and services that span both the consumer and B2B markets, which helps to create a strong overall business position. With regards to AIoT and connected technologies, at June’s Comdex in Las Vegas, Sharp, Foxconn and Microsoft announced and previewed the ‘Windows Six months on from Inspire Expo, PrintIT Reseller caught up with Jason Cort, Director of Product Planning and Marketing at Sharp Europe One-to-one with Jason Cort Collaboration Display’. A good example of how Sharp is leveraging Foxconn’s relationships with industry leaders, the system is built around Microsoft 365 tools and is designed to work with the company’s software offerings like Office, Teams and Whiteboard. Sensors on the board utilise the company’s Azure IoT spatial intelligence capabilities which, in an office environment, could enable better management of heating, cooling and room-booking systems based on how the space is actually used. PITR: IDC predicts that by 2021, 40 per cent of companies in developed regions will have experienced a double-digit decline in office based printing. How will Sharp evolve its offering to account for this continuing decline? JC: As outlined at our Inspire 2018 European dealer conference, Sharp will continue to evolve beyond print by transforming the way organisations engage with information through connected technologies. We offer a much wider proposition than many other vendors, which includes everything from traditional MFPs to large format displays, videoconferencing and collaboration solutions, cloud and IT services. This unique mix of solutions and services will not only help Sharp to evolve, but means we are well equipped to support partners with diversification in their businesses, giving resellers an opportunity to protect print revenues. A recent example of this is Sharp’s expansion into collaborative huddle and meeting space solutions. This includes Sharp Plug and Meet, a mobile, self- contained, video conferencing solution that has a modern design and instant on functionality. The huddle space also comes equipped with a 40” BIG PAD interactive capacitive touch display, Windows 10 solid state PC and wireless hub, and embedded web camera and speakers. Additionally, Sharp’s recently enhanced Cloud Portal Office is at the heart of workflow solutions for accounts payable, the digital mailroom and HR. Easy to use, innovative solutions like this help us and our partners to offer services that businesses expect, enhancing value and readiness for the office of the future. Further evidence of Sharp’s B2B ambitions beyond the MFP can be found in the continued expansion of our IT managed services in to Denmark, Norway and Italy. This is one of the many proactive steps we are taking as a business to become more IT centric, an ambition which is also reflected in the recently proposed acquisition of Toshiba’s personal-computer business. PITR: What impact is the DX economy having on OEMs and their channel partners? Do you see digital transformation as an opportunity or a challenge? JC: Digital transformation is high on the agenda for all types of businesses, but success in this area requires a change in mind-set and not just technology. OEMs and their channel partners must go through an emotional and intellectual change in order to digitally transform. Once we overcome the emotional challenge of digital transformation, which can be seen as too big or too difficult, we can start to take practical steps to achieve it. With the traditional print industry predicted to decline, both OEMS and channel firms need to undergo enormous changes in order to become digitally focused and succeed in this disruptive landscape. As with any legacy industry reliant on a huge hardware installed base, manufacturers must find new areas of innovation whilst also protecting their core business. According to Quocirca’s Global Print Sharp’s recently enhanced Cloud Portal Office is at the heart of workflow solutions for accounts payable, the digital mailroom and HR