Xerox ConnectKey Technology is Making Printers Smarter: Balaji Rajagopalan

In an exclusive interaction with Dataquest, Balaji Rajagopalan, Executive Director- Technology, Channels & International Distributor Operations, Xerox India, talks about  the launch of ConnectKey enabled printers and how Xerox ConnectKey Technology is making printers smarter. Excerpts:

Can you please tell us about the launch of Connectkey enabled printers? How will this help your client?

As a part of the largest launch in Xerox’s history, we recently launched 29 ConnectKey-enabled printers and multi-function devices. These devices are equipped with customizability and personalization options; simple and secure on-the-go capabilities; cloud connectivity, and access to productivity boosting features and apps. ConnectKey devices use a tablet-like user interface, and are mobile and cloud ready such as storing documents on Google Drive or Dropbox directly from the MFP. They also offer advanced printer security features such as intrusion prevention, data encryption and McAfee Whitelisting technology (AltaLink devices only) to prevent malicious malware running on any device. With this new technology, we cater to both – large enterprises and SMBs since the portfolio includes a healthy mix of A4 and A3 printers, in a variety of sizes, speeds and capabilities.

As on-the-go businesses have become a trend, this technology aims to transform traditional printing devices into smart, connected workplace assistants that reflect the evolving needs. For our customers, it will make printing hassle-free by bringing in stability via cloud, mobility and security. It is our constant endeavor to bring efficiency, effectiveness and provide our customers with a cost advantage. These devices are fully entrenched with Xerox’s software expertise to connect the hardware, thereby giving phenomenal power to the engine.

How does the company plan to cater to SMB market and A4 segment?

There is a huge opportunity in the SMB space in India, majority of which remains untapped. Quocirca’s research shows that SMB confidence in Managed Print Services (MPS) is growing, with 50% of existing customers expanding their current MPS footprint (MPS expanders) and 43% of non-users (MPS converters) expecting to invest in their first basic print service. This presents us with a huge opportunity and we believe that we have the capability and potential to capture the same.

Additionally, as per a recent Xerox study, 81% of SMBs (US and Europe) aim to curtail paper from their document workflow processes in the next year and many will turn to digitalization initiatives to do so.We have a strong channel network with over 150+ partners whom we interact with during regular training sessions and meetings, to update them on the new developments at Xerox and help tap the tier 2 and 3 markets effectively. We unveiled Xerox Partner Print Services (XPPS) a few years back, offering support to our channel partners to capture the SMB market opportunity by selling MPS to customers for the first time. Our ConnectKey technology is a game changer and encompasses more ‘entry’ products such as A4 printers.

The new range of Xerox AltaLink and Xerox VersaLink truly gives customers, small through large, a choice. Xerox VersaLink B405 Multifunction Printer, Xerox VersaLink B615 Multifunction Printer, Xerox VersaLink C405 Colour Multifunction Printer, Xerox VersaLink C605 Colour Multifunction Printer are some of the newly launched A4 printers. Recently, four printers/MFPs from our VersaLink and WorkCentre families were also awarded the Keypoint Intelligence – Buyers Lab Summer Pick Awards.Additionally, the main focus behind our design and pricing strategy has always been to cater to all types of organizations and ensure that they are able to save upfront costs. We help everyone choose the solution (hardware & service) that best fits their needs, at affordable costs. Xerox focuses on giving its customers premium quality products with excellent cost saving options.

What is the business plan for this year?

This year, we are focused on widening our reach in the Tier 2 and 3 cities; roll out products, solutions and services that will cater to the demands of small, mid to large sized enterprises; strengthen and expand channel partnerships and make further enhancements to our go-to-market strategy.

The government’s policy reforms and digital initiatives such as enhancing availability of electricity in smaller towns has eased our process of expanding our business. Our strong team and network of channel partners ensure we are able to widen our reach and simultaneously ensure customer satisfaction. We further strengthened and integrated our sales tools in the country and constantly worked with partners to overcome the challenges faced on-ground; in the process, reinforcing our relations and achieving mutual growth. We have even brought in new initiatives and programs for our channel partners to further motivate them and ensure that they have the right technical skills to go out in the market and succeed. Our new ConnectKey technology is a game changer and has helped us in our initiative to cater to all enterprises across segments.

We are also heavily investing in introducing innovative technologies to help organizations take the paperless path. Going paperless not only improves efficiencies and brings transparency at workplaces but it also helps in creating a truly “green” work environment by nearly eliminating paper, printing, shipping and other document handling costs. We have also developed products that consume less power.

How is printer market fairing after GST?

The implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a reformative step – a game changer for our economy which aims to bring us at par with the other developed nations. It is going to bring a lot of transparency and efficiency to all business houses. Based on the concept of “one nation, one market, one tax”, it will eventually ease the process of doing business. A simple example would be that now, instead of setting up warehouses and logistics stores from the state tax compliance perspective, we can choose the locations keeping in mind the customer’s needs.

There were some initial teething problems, however, we are constantly working on easing the process for our partners to ensure the benefits are passed onto the customers. We are working closely with our partners, educating and training them to ensure smoother implementation of the new tax.  After the initial challenge, now, all businesses are clearly on right path.
The only element that needs consideration from government is to readjust the increased tax slab i.e 28% to 18% on the MFPs. It truly is a path-breaking reform for the businesses as it promises to significantly boost the economy and bolster growth.

What has been the impact of emerging technologies? Where does the company use technologies like AI, IoT, Big Data Analytics?

As businesses become increasingly reliant on IT to deliver products and services and to interact with their stakeholders, a simple, reliable, responsive and secure document management becomes essential to an enterprise. With emerging technologies like cloud, big data, AI, IoT and mobility leading to a rise in demand for more refined document management, new age challenges and businesses demand require new age IT solutions.

Xerox applied its research from its PARC (formerly Palo Alto Research Center) and Xerox Research Centre Europe in AI, machine learning, and natural language processing. At Xerox, we utilize AI to better understand our customer needs and ensure service that is top-of-the-class.

Xerox ConnectKey Technology is also making printers smarter, actively helping businesses to get work done.

1. Instead of making it harder to print, smart printers automate processes like saving files to the right folders and speeding up key processes like invoicing

2. It enables powerful, single-touch scanning workflows in various formats such as text searchable and single/multi-page PDFs

3. Our devices also support a Wi-Fi Direct connection that lets businesses print from mobile devices – without having to connect to a network

4. Our devices also takes document security seriously. Our capabilities prevent intentional or unintentional transmission of critical data to unauthorized parties. Documents are not released until the right user is at the device and scanned information is protected from unauthorized users

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