PrintIT Reseller - issue 58

01732 759725 36 PRINT PREDICTIONS continued... PrintIT Reseller asked a panel of solutions and software vendors to reflect on 2018 and share their thoughts on what may prevail over the coming year Print predictions 2019 Tony Milford, Managing Director, Vantage Computing “Since launching the all-new Vantage Online in late 2016, the conversations that we have been having with customers and prospect alike has been driven mainly by ‘automation’ and ‘integration’. “Whether large or small, local or international, it’s clear that current market conditions require a relentless drive for increased efficiency, reduced costs and improved productivity. It’s what the industry promises its clients and to be credible you have to be seen to practice what you preach. “For Vantage, 2019 will see a relentless focus on improving and expanding connectivity with leading manufacturers, distributors, device collection agents and complementary software solution providers, driven by our industry-standard API driven architecture. Alongside this comes a need for continued innovation, including the soon to be completed 100 per cent automated meter billing – with no human involvement required at all, and a complete re-write of our smartphone app for field-based staff. “The desire is to provide dealers with the ability to reduce data-entry duplication to as close to zero as humanly possible, whilst continuing to deliver easy-to-use, robust and scalable solutions to MPS and office technology businesses who face never-ending pressures both in terms of traditional margins and increased competition. With the line between managed print and managed IT becoming increasingly blurred, our clients tell us that they need integrated solutions that help them leverage their business-critical data so that they can hit their targets, reduce errors and make business-critical decisions armed with facts, rather than educated guess-work. “We also expect to see a continuing demand from small and medium- sized dealers for features that were once the preserve of only those with large budgets, namely software that enables them to tailor solutions to the specific needs to their clients. Whether that be flexible contract terms, subscription-based billing, a full range of communication options using voice, email, text, chat and 24/7 online support options, or by being able to give end- users real-time access to KPIs, historical and predictive trends and a full suite of performance dashboards. “Whilst the industry has been in an almost constant state of change for most of the 25+ years we have been serving it, there is no doubt that the days of ‘service’ being the poor relation of ‘sales’ are now quite rightly long gone. The opportunities for those willing to grasp them are still real and demonstrable; the risks for those who do not, are just as real but, I would venture, slightly scarier.” Phil Madders, Managing Director, PAE Business “With hindsight, I think 2018 will be regarded as a year of significant transition. Where does that take us in 2019? “In terms of the business world, Brexit has to be finalised and some certainty returned to the market. “I have no idea of the impact for businesses in the UK once we know what the actual details are, but knowing in itself will be a massive step forward. “Up there with Brexit in terms of a global development is AI. We are at the start of this journey – but it is definitely going to form part of the talk track to 2019. We already have MFPs with voice recognition applications processing commands from users, but in 2019 they will become mainstream in the office world. What is more interesting is the idea of printers that can learn. It does not take a huge leap to see an MFP learning how to process documents and sending them to where they are required, but what about scanning legal documents and checking them for legal terms, copyright issues, or simple errors – before advising the solicitor of their findings? This would be dependent on the machine learning required in that environment. “I am intrigued by the Xerox ConnectKey concept – especially the app that turns documents into audio files so users can access them on their smartphone and listen to them on the move. I am not sure it is a killer app as such – but it shows what can be done if you reverse the dictation concept – creating an audio file from a printed document and it may end up in a new way of working. “We have had a similar experience Tony Milford Phil Madders With the line between managed print and managed IT becoming increasingly blurred, our clients tell us that they need integrated solutions