At a recent analyst gathering at the Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation in Rochester, NY, Xerox Corp. announced a potentially game-changing upgrade to its Xerox ConnectKey platform, which makes its debut on the new i-Series MFPs also announced at the event. Designed to bring “app” capabilities to the forefront, this upgrade places the Xerox App Gallery on the control panel of the MFP. Not to be confused with the company’s App Studio portal (where resellers and developers can create, provision and download customized apps for end users), the Xerox App Gallery online portal features ready-made apps that extend the functionality and convenience of the device. The self-service portal empowers resellers, IT administrators and end users alike (if permitted by the administrator) to download apps from a growing library of free and low-cost offerings ranging from scanning/printing workflow utilities to productivity-enhancing apps.
Jim Rise, Senior VP of the Office Solutions Group for Xerox, is no stranger to the printing industry, having worked in the industry for 29 years (16 of those at Xerox). While he realizes the market is mature and the company needs to innovate to gain share, the so-called paperless office won’t likely be a reality anytime soon. “We think the MFP still has a significant role to play in making people more productive,” he said. Despite declining page volumes, all office workers still need to print, scan and copy. “But we realize that the office is evolving and we at Xerox will continue to develop innovative solutions to make office workers more productive. The development of this expanded ConnectKey ecosystem is a nice step forward in our evolution to answer the changes occurring in our industry.”
ConnectKey Makes MFPs Smarter
The new ConnectKey platform and introduction of the new i-Series MFPs (WorkCentre 3655i, WorkCentre 5865i/5875i/5890i, WorkCentre 6655i, WorkCentre 7220i/7225i, WorkCentre 7830i/7835i/7845i/7855i and WorkCentre 7970i) represents a significant evolution, providing tighter integration with the cloud. This ensures that the MFP is no longer an isolated output device, but instead a digital onramp that provides users access to cloud-resident content and services that increase collaboration and boost productivity. “With this announcement, we can proudly say that the Xerox MFP is a genuine citizen of the Internet of Things,” said Bertrand Cerisier, Vice President Global Marketing Office Solutions Group for Xerox.
The i-Series devices have the Xerox App Gallery right at the UI, so users can view and download ready-to-go apps with no dealer intervention needed; for more personalized functionality, Xerox partners can work with customers to customize and install additional applications. Some of the free apps include cloud connectors like Print and Scan for Google Drive, Print and Scan for Dropbox, Print and Scan for OneDrive, Print and Scan for Office 365 and Print and Scan for Box, as well as scan to cloud email (for such services as Google Mail).
Another app available for the i-Series devices is the Xerox Easy Translation Service. A user can now scan a document at their ConnectKey MFP and have it translated to another language, in the cloud, and have the MFP print the resulting translated page. This express machine/draft translation is available for a fee after a trial period. The service at www.xeroxtranslates.com supports additional translation services for phones; plus document uploads at the website. Xerox claims that this first-of-its-kind solution to securely and quickly translates business-critical information to more than 35 languages; translation is fee based with further advanced services available with expert human translations.
Mobile Printing Made Simple. Really.
Mobile print continues to evolve. In the past, users asked, “How do I print from my mobile device?” Now users now think, “I am mobile. How do I print?” While tablets and smartphones augmented traditional PCs and laptops in the past, Chromebooks, tablets and smartphones are now replacing them in some environments. In the past, users could simply put off printing until they were back at their PC; now, they need a better option for when they need to print.
Enter @PrintByXerox, a new app included standard with all i-Series devices that lets a user print by sending an email with an attachment. While many OEMs already have print via email, no method BLI analysts have seen thus far is as simple as the one demonstrated at the event: A user sends a file as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org and then retrieves the print by logging in at the panel of any ConnectKey device equipped with the app. Unlike some systems, where users must remember a unique address for each device, this method is almost error-proof. The first time using the service, the user receives an email with a password that can be used to log in at the panel to release the job; for subsequent print jobs, the user simply logs in to retrieve the print job. A premium service is available as an optional upgrade, which allows for a customized email address, job tracking and setting permissions via blacklist or whitelist.
Create Custom Workflows Right on Your Mobile Device
Another new app is Xerox Mobile Link. Available for iOS and Android platforms, Mobile Link lets users create one-touch, automated workflows on their mobile devices; users can capture documents using their phone’s camera or remotely control a Xerox MFP’s scan functionality. The content can then be routed to fax, email and/or cloud services like Box, Dropbox and Google Drive. The app even includes the ability to deskew photos of documents taken with a mobile device before routing them to the selected destination.
The Right Combination: New Technology and Proven Leadership
This announcement builds on the already strong portfolio of Xerox products and underscores how the company is committed to innovation. Having invented the document imaging industry, Xerox is a proven leader, though a lot has changed since the company developed the first copier in 1959. “Moving forward, Xerox has the vision, the focus, and the agility to expand and grow in an industry that is basically flat,” said Rise. “The true power of the ConnectKey ecosystem is the fact that we can roll out innovative features and functionality, such as the Xerox Easy Translation Service, independent of new hardware, making Xerox that much better equipped to meet customer needs.”
Cerisier agreed that the company is poised for success. “As a company, we have a greater breadth of offerings than most competitors, truly offering an end-to-end technology solution,” he said. Part of the Xerox technology solution revolves around helping to meet customer challenges of of building a more productive workplace environment, optimizing their fleets to reduce environmental footprint and lowering output costs through Managed Print Services (MPS). Recognized as a leader in MPS by four of the top industry analyst firms, Xerox has tailored solutions to help businesses of all sizes. The new ConnectKey platform of building a more productive workplace environment builds on the company’s strength in this area. “Xerox has long been a leader in MPS and we were the first to bring MPS to the channel. And because we can leverage our experience and expertise in the enterprise market, this new upgrade of our ConnectKey platform makes Xerox MPS offering stronger in both Enterprise and SMB segments.”