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Why Canon Believes Speed isn't Everything When it Comes to Photocopiers

Photocopier News - General News

The last decade or so has seen major technological advances when it comes to the design and build of photocopiers. But what may surprise many, especially those looking to replace existing photocopiers with the latest devices, is that the maximum speeds of photocopiers in the last ten years or so have remained relatively unchanged. Here we take a glimpse inside the reprographics industry, asking Trevor Dodsworth, Head of Product Marketing at Canon UK why even in the high pressure office environments of today, speed isn't everything.

For someone relatively new to the photocopiers industry, it was quite surprising to hear Trevor Dodsworth's candour when asked about speed as a determinant of customer choice,

"Speed now is certainly not the only measure. Particularly if you look at monochrome devices today, they're very similar in terms of speed to devices we released ten years ago."

Dodsworth referred to the award-winning imageRUNNER Advance C8000 series whose highest speed model the imageRUNNER Advance 8105 offers 105 ppm monochrome printing, the same as the equivalent model 10 years ago. Yes, warm-up times on these latest models are improved but that doesn't really seem to be the point. Besides segment two, more budget photocopiers, where Dodsworth pointed to the higher speeds migrating downwards, as much a product of the attendant speed increases in single function printers, speed, particularly at the cutting-edge of the industry has not been such a major determinant of demand as it once was.

As Dodsworth highlighted,

"Key drivers are about looking at the business processes of our customers. It's really about streamlining those business processes. Some of the main areas of focus are the growing importance of colour, both in terms of scanning and printing and a major priority for all manufacturers is helping customers control their costs."

Now that photocopiers have more than amply demonstrated their high productivity capabilities, the last decade of photocopiers devlopment has been about refining this powerful productive potential in-line with the needs of end-users. So colour scanning has become increasingly important as has cost control. But importantly, it's the multiplicity of operations from today's devices that sets them apart from models ten or fifteen years ago. As Dodsworth continued,

"Over the past twenty years the photocopier has morphed from the grey box in the corner to a multifunctional network distribution hub, able to streamline and in many cases automate typical business processes. For instance, invoice processing can be taken all the way through from generation through to retrieval (especially now photocopiers/MFP's are capable of scanning two sides of a document simultaneously)"

Dodsworth also pointed to the growing relevance of security when it comes to photocopiers/MFP's, especially now they are increasingly at the centre of office-place communications and especially since devices produced since around 2000 have had much greater storage capabilities. Interestingly, Dodsworth made clear that security is not wholly dependent on hardware as it used to be but software solutions - such as Canon's award-winning uniFLOW solution, which is able to reveal to system administrators, who has scanned/sent a document and can show which documents have been marked as confidential.

Speaking with Trevor Dodsworth from Canon provided a terrific insight into the shape of the photocopiers/MFP industry of today. Canon is clearly a leader in the field - news of the recent release of Canon CloudConnect, connecting photcopiers with leading cloud services confirms that the company is really right at the frontiers of broader technological developments. But what is particularly interesting is the change in dynamics as far as how photocopiers technology is evolving. While the mechanical side of photocopiers technology has obviously seen improvements, with a greater range of output options for example, productivity has begun to plateau somewhat. It is really on the network/distribution side of things where the most significant shifts have been occurring. Colour scanning has enabled offices to do away with more cumbersome multiple device-based systems and provided a much greater range of options as to how documents are processed. The improvements in software have placed photocopiers and MFP's at the centre of a whole world of workflow/distribution possibilities, so that documents may be sent practically anywhere, even to the very latest cloud-based services, such as Google Docs or Microsoft Sharepoint. Along with these wider distribution opportunities, the threats around document security have obviously grown, so solutions like uniFLOW which allow administrators to monitor the flow of sensitive information and can control access to devices are today absolutely essential.

It's truly fascinating to witness the way in which photocopiers technology is devleloping and it's more than clear that today with photocopiers, speed certainly isn't everything.

Canon Copiers is a leading UK supplier of monochrome photocopiers and colour photocopiers.