On March 23-24 we travelled to Berlin, Germany to see the future. The Cannata’s were not the only ones invited as there were others representing the major trade publications and leading analyst firms. Most importantly for Konica Minolta, also attending were representatives from Konica Minolta Business Solutions dealerships. No one had a clue prior to our arrival what this meeting was all about.
As a global player, Konica Minolta selected the last day of CeBit 2017 to unveil Workplace Hub, a platform destined to be an integral component in the company’s vision of the workplace of the future. The partners involved in helping Konica Minolta develop this new technology represent a Who's Who of the IT world—Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Sophos, Canonical, and BrianTribe.
Workplace Hub, scheduled for release in the Fall of this year, is an IT solution that offers a single centralized platform, enabling businesses of all kinds to address a growing IT challenge by providing a means to manage a wide array of tools, services, and devices in common use today.
As we were listening to the presentation, I recalled something that Canon CEO Joe Adachi recently shared with us. He had a chart which indicated the position Canon held in the number of patents issued the previous year. Canon was 2nd, Ricoh was 16th, and Konica Minolta was in the 80th position.
[caption id="attachment_42723" align="alignleft" width="394"] Konica Minolta Workplace Hub on display at CeBIT 2017 in Hannover, Germany.[/caption]
Workplace Hub is designed to reduce the overall costs of IT management and provide data that helps improve business processes. WPH (my abbreviation) is a vehicle capable of managing and coordinating an IT infrastructure across existing and future IT systems.
Moreover, the platform’s product roadmap includes future integration of IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Intelligent Edge and Decision Support capabilities as they become more central to the business environment of tomorrow. Adding this cognitive layer of organizational insight unleashes an intuitive understanding of the world that empowers people to collaborate better and to make smarter, data-driven decisions more effectively and easily.
To set the table, Yamana asked, “What do I most want in my future workplace?” He answered his own question by saying, “A system that enables me to instantly recall details about past decisions.”
He quickly added, “[I also want] timely prompts about relevant developments that help me make the best decisions for our corporate future when I need to make them.”
During his presentation, Yamana emphasized that innovation is not just about developing and connecting superior devices, it’s about connecting people with intelligently analysed data. He further noted that companies like Konica Minolta should focus on creating solutions tailored to the individual workplace and that those companies should become digital problem solvers who create value for people and society by facilitating effective decision-making.
“The workplace is evolving at an unparalleled rate and digital transformation is becoming increasingly important to both survival and future prosperity,” said Yamana. “Workplace Hub not only allows businesses of all sizes to achieve effective transformation, but future-proof themselves against the next wave of technology innovations already infiltrating the business environment.”
In our opinion, and to put it succinctly, Workplace Hub will accelerate the rate of Konica Minolta’s dealers to participate profitably in the IT Managed Services arena. While some of the dealers in attendance were reticent about making favorable comments about WorkPlace Hub, the reality is that there are many questions about the technology that still must be answered.
Towards that end, we will continue to explore Workplace Hub in the next issue of The Cannata Report. For now, this is just something to give you a sense of what is coming from Konica Minolta. Besides our upcoming coverage, between now and the Fall we will continue to explore this intriguing product.
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