Making printers faster, smarter and secure

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October 5, 2015 12:15 AM

Among the fleet of devices in an office, a printer is often seen as a dumb, not-so-intelligent computer peripheral that normally occupies space in a corner and comes to life whenever a print command is given.

Among the fleet of devices in an office, a printer is often seen as a dumb, not-so-intelligent computer peripheral that normally occupies space in a corner and comes to life whenever a print command is given. Make no mistake, printer technology has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years and nowadays, the printer is web-connected, it has all the hardware and software just like a PC. A printer is also able to upload data into the cloud, retrieve them and even print. In short, printers are making businesses more efficient, said Leong Han Kong, vice-president, Printing Systems, Asia Pacific & Japan, Hewlett-Packard.

India is a large and growing market for HP, especially for its printing business. The HP vice-president feels “the innovations and solutions that HP has can bring good value to some of the programmes the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is rolling out across India, such as the Digital India, Smart Cities and other e-governance programmes.”

Not just in hardware, but in software and services as well—HP has been known for years as an innovator in the technology industry. Back in 1980, using licensed copier technology from Canon, HP researchers added an optical package and other engineering innovations to help the Palo Alto, California-based firm create the first commercial laser printer for general office use. The printer was so quiet it could be used in a library.

Cut to present. Innovation is accelerating HP’s printer business like never before and recently, the tech behemoth announced new enterprise class LaserJet printers and multifunction printers (MFP) that work much more quickly, use less energy and deliver increased protection against malicious attacks. “HP is accelerating innovation to help businesses succeed and push the envelope on what they have ever experienced in speed, energy savings, security and design,” Leong said.

The stronger security is part of a broader HP strategy to provide the deepest security across PCs and printers. According to Leong, protecting against security breaches is one of the biggest challenges our customers face. “HP is helping customers secure their devices, documents and data by defending our enterprise printers with the strongest protection in the industry. HP has been in the laser printing business for the last 30 years and we have been the leader for the last 30 years too.”

Without doubt, printer security is a topic of growing importance. According to the Ponemon Institute, 64% of IT managers believe their printers are likely infected with malware. At the same time, 56% of enterprise companies ignore printers in their endpoint security strategy. To help address this gap, HP is delivering its new HP Enterprise printers and MFPs with advanced security features built into them. These include HP SureStart, which enables detection of and self-healing recovery from malicious BIOS attacks; Whitelisting, which ensures only known, good firmware can be loaded and executed on a printer; Run-time Intrusion Detection, a new feature providing in-device memory monitoring for malicious attacks.

The new HP LaserJet 400 series printers and MFPs provide the speed and efficiency to keep businesses at their most productive with the fastest first page out, fastest two-sided printing and lowest energy consumption in their class. The new HP LaserJets will also help secure businesses print environment, from boot up to shut down, by bringing built-in security features such as job storage and PIN Printing.

India opportunity

In India, according to the HP vice-president, the company has a leading position in the printer business. “It is also a market which is growing very fast; especially in the upcountry geographies, we see a lot of business potential. Initiatives particularly those of Digital India are of great interest to HP. We are working with our India team and our partners in India to size up the potential and we will be fairly involved in working with the government to share with them the solutions and offerings that HP can provide to the government’s initiatives.”

Talking about some of the industry trends, Leong said that mobile printing will see tremendous growth, not only in the business side but also in the home side. “If you look at the home user, many of them store their documents or photographs on the smart devices or the mobile phone and I think many of them are not aware how easy it is to take a print out from their mobile devices.”

Leong said, “Today many of our print drivers are built into smartphone operating systems such as iOS and Android. By detecting the printer with those capabilities you just need to press the print button—printing is very simple and easy.

Likewise, many business users are on the go and they want to print anytime and anywhere. Today all that mobile printing technology is available in HP. We see mobile printing as a very key focus for us.”

On the government’s Make in India initiative, the HP vice-president said, “Clearly we would continue to evaluate different manufacturing sites and with the new government being more active in terms of promoting India as a site for manufacturing, HP will definitely be very open to evaluate.”

(The correspondent was in Beijing at the invitation of HP)

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