On the Road: 2015 Samsung Printing Solutions National Dealer Meeting

09/17/2015

An OEM and its Partners Poised at an Inflection Point

 

 

A steamy Miami Beach was the backdrop for the 2015 Samsung Printing Solutions National Dealer Meeting, where 150 dealerships from around the country had representatives in attendance to see that latest Samsung offerings in the printing, solutions and services arenas. The overarching takeaway: The industry is at an inflection point, where disruptive technology shifts will fundamentally change the business.

 

That was the message delivered in the conference’s opening address by Kevin Gilroy, executive vice president for Samsung Business. “At an inflection point, 20 percent of companies catch the wave and thrive, 40 percent make small adjustments and remain flat,” he explained. “But 20 percent do not adjust, and ultimately fail.” The common trait shared by the top 20 percent, according to Gilroy: introspection. “They ask themselves, ‘Do I have the right people, managers, suppliers and partners in place?’ Samsung is that partner. We are global trendsetters driving disruptive technology.”

 

In the printing space, Gilroy and other Samsung executives pointed to the company’s Smart UX Center interface as an example of such disruptive technology. An Android tablet-based UI control panel that spans the company’s line from entry-level to Segment 4 MFPs, Smart UX Center offers print/copy/scan/fax control at the device, and supports an ecosystem of productivity-enhancing apps—all in a swipe-tap-touch environment that is intuitive to anyone who’s used a smartphone or tablet.

 

Matt Smith, vice president of printing operations for Samsung Business, echoed Gilroy’s sentiment and elaborated upon it. “There’s a paradigm shift happening in the print market, and we’re leading it with mobility and solutions,” Smith said. “We’re going to ask for your business,” he said to the assembled dealers, “and we’re going to earn it.”

 

His goal is for Samsung to be a Top 5 printer/MFP OEM in three years, and No. 3 in the market in 5 years. And he noted that in the A3 market, Samsung’s sales are up nine percent in a market that is essentially flat. Driving some of that growth this year has been Samsung’s MX7 series of Segment 4 MFPs, which feature a scanner capable of churning through a blazing 240 images per minute, several finishing and high-capacity paper configurations, plus the Smart UX Center tablet UI that can sivel between portrait and landscape modes to suit the task at hand.

 

 

“At an inflection point, 20 percent of companies catch the wave and thrive, 40 percent make small adjustments and remain flat. But 20 percent do not adjust, and ultimately fail. They ask themselves, ‘Do I have the right people, managers, suppliers and partners in place?’ Samsung is that partner. We are global trendsetters driving disruptive technology.” –Kevin Gilroy

 

 

Smart UX Center was the focus of the address given by Harris Han, leader of the Software Development Group for Samsung Printing. He outlined the four components in the ecosystem. First is the platform itself, a quad-core CPU Android tablet. Next is the Samsung Smart UX SDK (software development kit), which allows developer partners and even dealers to develop custom Android apps for the platform. Han reported that so far 130 partners in 30 countries have downloaded the SDK (which is available free of charge to those who register) to develop apps for the platform. The third component in the Smart UX Center is the apps themselves. Han noted that there are currently 24 Samsung-developed apps available for download, and he expects an additional half-dozen to come online by year’s end. The fourth component is the online Smart UX App Center, where dealers and customers can download the available apps.

 

But the big news on the Smart UX platform front: Samsung is readying Smart UX Center 2.0, which will enable the apps to work not just on the MFP UI, but also on any Android-powered device. This will enable users to initiate MFP processes and workflows on their tablet or smartphone. And a user will be able to create his own custom workflows (for example, to scan a document, perform OCR processing, and deliver it to a Dropbox account) on the smartphone or tablet via a simple drag-and-drop workflow builder.

 

The accompanying Product & Solutions Showcase was filled with the latest Samsung printing hardware. But most prominent on the show floor were the partner solutions Samsung is encouraging dealers to embrace as part of their sales strategy. As Matt Smith noted, “The ‘trusted-advisor’ status with customers comes through solutions.” Partners exhibiting embedded solutions running on the Smart UX Center platform included Prism Software, ACDI (powered by PaperCut), Nuance, Laserfiche, Omtool, PrintFleet and others.

 

Dealer Reaction

“Samsung is a relative newcomer to this industry, but its flexibility and willingness to take—and act on— feedback from the dealer community has been a strongpoint for them over the last couple of years,” said Josh Froelich, sales manager for Marco. “The company’s new product line looks strong, and we are excited to see where Samsung goes from here. In particular, the Android operating system should allow for easier integration with client applications and will be familiar to decision makers, especially Millennials who grew up with similar technology.”

 

“We like the power of the Samsung brand and its name recognition,” said Vince McHenry, vice president of LaserLab. “The company is able to provide research, development and marketing, and Samsung keeps getting better at all three as it introduces more A3 copiers into the marketplace. It’s clear that, because of the very limited hardware releases, the focus of this event was on selling solutions—that it’s imperative to talk to customers about what they really do with their documents.”

 

“Samsung has truly improved both its hardware and technology since launching its earlier A3 copiers,” said Brandyn Vetos, director of sales for A&B Business Solutions. “And now, we’re extremely excited with the company’s newer devices, not to mention the overall direction of Samsung’s strategy. The industry has been changing to more of a connected, web-based landscape—and Millennials already have their hands in decision making, so this updated Smart UX control panel should resonate with users. People want to be excited about things, including technology, and I think the company is on a greater path to success with the innovation it shared at the show.”

 

 

In the coming weeks we’ll drill down further into each of these major products Samsung executives and partners covered at the show, s keep checking the Editor’s Desk for more coverage of this event!

 

Jamie Bsales
Director, Office Workflow Solutions Analysis
Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology journalist who has been covering the high-tech industry for more than 20 years, nine of those at Buyers Lab. In his role as Director, Office Workflow Solutions Analysis, Jamie is responsible for BLI’s coverage of document imaging software and related services.