Its all one-way traffic from print to digital
HP’s second quarter results make grim reading for the printer industry, especially for those that rely on strong consumer sales. A 23% fall in consumer hardware units shipped by the Imaging and Printing Group (year-on-year) underlines how challenging this sector has become since tablets and smartphones took over from PCs and cheaper, easier alternatives to home printers emerged for photo printing. Not a great time, then, for Berg to be launching its new Little Printer (page 29) – except that this printer has novelty value and is designed and marketed as a smartphone accessory, a market that Juniper Research expects to increase by a factor of 10 between now and 2017. Even so, it’s hard to see the point of the Little Printer: £199 is a lot to pay for a smiley face.
Elsewhere in this issue, it’s all one-way traffic from hard copies to digital documents. On pages 13 and 14 we look at how the RSPCA and Gunnebo have speeded up key processes by reducing the need for paper-based reporting. The Destiny Wireless solution used by Gunnebo does still have a paper element, but with e-form solutions appearing for the iPad (see page 19), how long before the entire process is digital? Elsewhere in the Innovations section we look at how T-Mobile Austria has saved 40% on material costs by replacing paper labels with e-paper and Leeds Building Society is improving customer service by digitising incoming letters as soon as they are opened in the mailroom.
At the end of last year, IDC produced a report showing that in 2010 page volumes in Western Europe declined by 1%. The results for 2011 and 2012 will make very interesting reading. But perhaps not for HP.