The introductions and initiatives from the leading document imaging OEMs that made a difference in 2023.
The office technology OEMs have been extremely busy in 2023, introducing new hardware, solutions, and programs for their dealers. This year, we thought it would be interesting to identify the hardware OEMs’ greatest hits of 2023. These are the products, solutions, and services that offer the potential for dealers and OEMs alike to capture added revenues and differentiate themselves in the market.
To compile our list, we contacted the document imaging OEMs to find out what they considered their greatest hits of 2023. Some of their responses surprised us because they weren’t always hardware specific. For those companies that did not respond to our request for information by our deadline, we identified what we felt were those companies’ greatest hits. This group includes Canon U.S.A., HP, Kyocera Document Solutions America, Ricoh USA, and RISO.
Brother International Corporation
As boundaries of hybrid work continue to flex between home offices and businesses, Brother believes staying connected, secure, and in control of printing documents is more critical than ever. Brother says its biggest hits in 2023 have helped increase the company’s core strengths and helped drive what channel partners say is a high level of support. Those greatest hits include:
- The Workhorse Series: These printers, scanners, and MFPs that make up the Workhorse Series reportedly deliver hardware and software with low cost of ownership, higher print yields, faster print speeds, more robust security features, and the ability for end-customers to customize solutions to suit their needs.
- Triple-Layer Security: With customers continuing to demand enterprise-level security solutions, this provides dealers’ customers with technology for safeguarding documents.
- Field Solutions Engineers: These individuals are employed by Brother to train channel partners to analyze critical network and application issues. According to Brother, this is a collaborative process between field engineers, IT professionals, and dealers that helps provide solutions based on customer needs.
Canon U.S.A. and Canon Solutions America
The cloud and the proliferation of remote and hybrid work are two prevalent themes we found when identifying our picks for Canon’s greatest hits of 2023.
- Cloud Connector: This application enhances the capabilities of the imageRUNNER ADVANCE DX, imagePRESS Lite, and various imagePRESS models. It simplifies the process of scanning to and printing from compatible cloud services and email applications, reportedly making it easy for environments with one or two MFP devices to embrace the power of the cloud. This allows small organizations to connect their compatible devices to cloud destinations without the need for complex print management systems or dedicated IT administrators. Cloud Connector can also be a valuable addition for customers with compatible print management solutions that lack a cloud connectivity feature.
- imageCLASS LBP247dw and 246dw: These standalone printers are a good solution for remote offices, filling a niche for remote workers who do not need full MFP functionality.
- MAXIFY GX2020 and GX1020: These inkjet printers are designed for remote and hybrid workers. Both use the Canon MegaTank continuous ink supply system, which can reduce ink costs by using high-volume ink bottles.
HP’s leading offerings focus on the fusion of office and remote work. Hybrid work is here to stay and to augment that, HP is using artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud in devices that cater to the needs of remote employees, a rapidly growing part of today’s workforce.
- Spectre Foldable PC: Designed for a hybrid-work lifestyle, HP describes this as the world’s thinnest and smallest 17-inch foldable PC.
- Envy Move: This is a 23.8-inch all-in-one PC, which HP touts as the world’s only moveable all-in-one PC. It’s sort of like how iMacs used to be but with a big screen, fast chips, and cloud connectivity.
- Color LaserJet 4200/4300 and Color LaserJet Enterprise 5000/6000 and X500/X600: Positioned as printing solutions for businesses of all sizes, the new HP Color LaserJet series printers are powered by HP’s next-generation sustainable toner, TerraJet, which delivers up to 27% reduced energy use when printing and up to 78% less plastic in the packaging, as well as a lower carbon footprint than their predecessor products. The new models reportedly deliver sharper detail with up to 20% more printable colors.
- Color LaserJet 4200/4300: These new models build on the LaserJet Pro series, which are designed for small businesses and offer efficiency and enhanced manageability. Delivered in a compact design, the 4200/4300 series enables maximum productivity with fast, two-sided color printing and scanning. They are supported by robust management tools for de-centralized devices, along with HP Wolf Security embedded and preconfigured out of the box.
The company’s emergence as a major supplier of inkjet technology to the dealer channel continued to accelerate in 2023 with a host of new product introductions. However, the company’s greatest hits of 2023 are not limited to inkjet technology.
- The WorkForce Enterprise AM Series: These MFPs brought the company’s PrecisionCore printhead technology to the mid-range MFP market. Epson says this helps futureproof office printing by providing an affordable, minimal intervention solution that features low energy consumption in a space-saving form factor.
- SureColor T7770D: This 44-inch CAD/technical printer is designed for complex technical printing needs. Epson says it delivers high-quality client-ready A1/D-sized prints in as fast as 16 seconds, making it a compelling device for in-office printing of blueprints, technical documents, renderings, and graphics.
- PowerLite 810E: This projector can produce an image up to 160 inches, a size that would otherwise require a pricey LED video wall.
Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.
Konica Minolta continues to invest in production print such as the recent introduction of the AccurioPress 7136 Series and the enhancements to its AccurioPress C14000/C12000 Enhanced series of high-speed toner-based digital presses. The company says its latest introductions in its black-and-white production print portfolio offer the broadest range of production print products in the office technology market. According to Konica Minolta, its product line gives dealers many options for diversifying their offerings. Like others, its product teams now include specialists, and its Client Engagement Center really helps customers understand products, solutions, and opportunities.
Konica Minolta has embraced the cloud for software solutions and will continue investing in cloud-based software solutions that help dealers drive stickiness within their customer base. For example, dealers’ customers want a server-less print workflow because it costs less to maintain a cloud-based infrastructure. Konica Minolta’s new cloud-enabled MFPs offer solutions using a variety of cloud connectors such as Dispatcher ScanTrip Cloud, which provides a zero-footprint, cloud-scanning solution. According to the company, it also provides simple but powerful customized scan workflows with an advanced cloud-based security platform.
Kyocera Document Solutions America
Kyocera was recently acknowledged as Best A4 Provider at The Cannata Report’s 38th Annual Awards & Charities Gala. Its 2023 greatest hits showcase the company’s excellence in A4, as well as A3 technology.
- TASKalfa MA4500ci and ECOSYS MA4000cifx: This new color series—an MFP (TASKalfa MA500ci) and standalone printer (ECOSYS MA4000cifx)—is accompanied by five other machines. All include end-to-end security, the flexibility to work well in office or remote locations, software integration to provide access to cloud-based solutions, remote device management, and mobile printing. These machines are designed to meet the growing and evolving needs for secure hybrid flexibility, software integration, and increased efficiency.
- ECOSYS MA6000ifx Series: Released earlier in 2023, the ECOSYS MA6000ifx Series is the next generation of the company’s ECOSYS PA6000x Series printer line. In this new black and white series, Kyocera took its classic Kyocera HyPAS devices equipped with multifunction capabilities, and integrated software solutions that eliminate manual tasks supported by Windows, iOS, and Android devices. The ECOSYS MA6000ifx Series includes four new black and white A4 MFPs. A major selling point, according to Kyocera, is that the latest devices can be integrated with workflow-enhancing software such as Kyocera Cloud Print and Scan and Kyocera Fleet Services. All models in the series can also be equipped with Kyocera’s K-Level security firmware by adding the optional hard drive.
- ECOSYS PA6000x Series, with four more devices added to its A4 product portfolio: All four of the new models provide a large duty cycle of up to 300K pages per month, a standard 600-sheet paper capacity that is expandable up to 2,600 sheets, and output in black and white with resolutions ranging from 600 x 600 dpi to 1200 dpi. These devices offer a range of print speeds from 47 to 62 pages per minute (ppm).
When we think of Ricoh’s greatest hits in 2023, the first thing we think of is its production print introductions. In fact, it introduced two game-changing products in the second half of the year.
- Ricoh Pro VC80000: According to Ricoh, this new production print device builds on the success of the Ricoh Pro VC70000 and is designed to produce exceptional quality direct mail, color books, catalogs, magazines, and commercial print applications on coated media up to 300 gsm (grams per square meter). Ricoh claims this is the smallest machine in its class, with a full duplex engine measuring less than 32.8 feet, it incorporates the latest generation ink and temperature-controlled inkjet heads.
- Ricoh Pro Z75: This is the first B-1 size auto-duplexing inkjet printer. Ricoh says the device, which uses aqueous ink, delivers the advantages of sheetfed with the low running costs and high productivity associated with inkjet. It uses Ricoh’s newest printheads and inks, enabling use for commercial print applications that require high-quality output and performance.
- Ricoh Cloudstream: This is a multi-tenant cloud-based solution that Ricoh says removes many of IT’s responsibilities of managing infrastructure for print servers and print driver distribution.
Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America
This year, Sharp was recognized as Best in Class and Best Manufacturer at The Cannata Report’s 38th Annual Awards & Charities Gala. Asked to name its greatest hits, the company focused on two key areas, security and production print.
- Enhanced Security: Knowing that one in three SMBs have encountered security-related incidents, Sharp has partnered with Bitdefender and ConnectWise to enhance the security features of its BP line of MFPs. Bitdefender antivirus provides protection from malware attacks, while Sharp’s print security service provides 24/7 alert monitoring with ConnectWise. The MFP security options have been well received by dealers and their customers as they try to navigate the digital security landscape.
- Production Print: Sharp has diversified its products by entering the production print space, previewing a six-color digital press at the 2023 PRINTING United Expo. Sharp plans to launch four digital presses in 2024 along with a training and service plan.
One of the more prominent purveyors of inkjet technology for the office technology dealer channel, RISO continues to do what it does best, introducing high-performance inkjet products, which are no doubt greatest hits, particularly in the inkjet segment.
- VALEZUS T1200: This single-engine cut sheet inkjet printer with an 8,000-sheet capacity was launched at PRINTING United in October. RISO describes it as “the perfect solution for both short and long-run transactional printing, offering the flexibility to meet current and future market requirements.” This compact printer has a maximum print speed of 160 ppm in color and supports AFP/APDS, PS, and PDF formats.
- ComColor GL7430 and GL9730: These cut-sheet inkjet printers introduced at PRINTING United in 2022 remain two of the company’s greatest hits of 2023. The ComColor GL7430 is a five-color cut-sheet inkjet machine with a rated speed of 140 ppm. The latest models in the GL series provide an increased color gamut, particularly in the yellow range, which RISO says allows for more accurate reproductions of color. The ComColor GL9730 delivers cold, flat, and dry color output at speeds of up to 165 ppm and is designed for production print environments.
Toshiba America Business Solutions
When asked to identify its greatest hits of 2023, Toshiba took us up into the cloud and into the future.
- Toshiba’s Elevate Sky Service: This cloud platform combines big-data analytics and artificial intelligence for insights into clients’ MFPs. The idea is to improve the user experience from setup to ongoing management and troubleshooting and support.
- Toshiba and Ricoh Joint Venture: This, the biggest story of 2023, is expected to maintain both organizations’ competitive advantages while increasing both firm’s manufacturing and research and development capabilities. According to Toshiba, the result is an advantage to resellers in the form of lower product prices.
As with some of the other OEMs on this list, when asked to identify its greatest hits of 2023, Xerox thought outside of the box, referencing sales programs, technology innovation, and its service-oriented platforms.
- An Expanded Dealer Production Print Program: This program reportedly makes it easier and faster for dealers to sell Xerox’s full line of digital presses. It includes the 280 and the Baltoro HF Inkjet press, as well as providing service for the Xerox Nuvera and Xerox Iridesse 120 presses. The program also provides dealers and their customers access to Xerox’s end-to-end production systems, including automation that can improve client efficiency, lower costs, and optimize profitability.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA): RPA provides dealers with a new source of revenue that can help grow their businesses and establish a differentiated offering to help their clients be more productive. With RPA, end-customers are able to automate repetitive and manual tasks in finance, HR, operations, and customer service.
- CareAR Assist and CareAR Instruct: These service-oriented platforms use augmented reality to help dealers improve customer service experiences and reduce costs by solving more problems remotely, resulting in fewer service dispatches while improving service and enhancing communications, which can lead to shorter wait times and faster problem resolution.