Submitted By: Randy Dazo on May 7, 2012
As MPS takes on a life of its own, we have seen new solutions to help complement services in the industry. It is interesting to see the amount of Device Management solutions in the market that help to track and manage devices but it is also intriguing to see new solutions from the Output management side also coming into play that help customers further reduce their costs around print. Two fairly new solutions are Preton’s PretonSaver and Adobe’s LeanPrint solutions. Although they are very different methodologies for output management software solutions, they both can help organization’s reduce the amount of toner utilized for printing documents which in turn can save them lots of money.
Let’s talk about PretonSaver first. Preton utilizes its own Pixel Optimizer technology that virtually eliminates unnecessary dots or pixels from the printing process. Because most Electro-photographic based technologies overlap many of the pixels on the page when it reproduces text or images, there is typically excess in the amount of toner applied when finally crushed onto the paper. Preton’s software removes the unnecessary overlapped areas through its PixelOptimizer technology which eliminates the toner from being placed on those areas. When the toner gets fused onto paper, the missing areas are usually filled during that process. The PixelOptimizer software also has what Preton calls Element Identifier technology that can apply different levels of savings based on whether it is text, photo or graphic. Preton says that there is little noticeable difference between pages that are utilizing PixelOptimizer versus those that are not because the technology automatically makes adjustments to optimize its quality and costs. With this technology Preton claims to save on average approximately 30% of toner that would normally be used in its default setting and up to 70% in high savings setting mode.
PretonSaver comes in 2 flavors, an Enterprise version and a SaaS version for a diversity of target customer engagements. PretonSaver Enterprise, in addition to its toner saving capabilities, also has an entire “print rules” suite that organizations can configure to provide application privileges, color printing, print quotas, mono printing enforcement, duplex, N-up, etc. The Enterprise version’s features include the toner and ink optimization, detailed reports and statistics of user/usage as well as the print rules and policies capabilities for users and groups. The PretonSaver SaaS version is targeted for MPS dealers as well as the Education and SMB markets. What is unique for MPS dealers, is the value proposition that allows them to make more money with PretonSaver SaaS that will reduce the amount of toner used which can translate into better cost savings for customers, or if they want to make more margins, they can keep the savings for themselves. In addition they can deploy rules based printing capabilities that will provide value to their customers through the same solution.
Adobe also announced a new solution called LeanPrint that automatically optimizes a document’s print layout and manages toner output in order to reduce the consumption and costs of toner by up to 40% for typical office documents according to Adobe. LeanPrint analyzes the application and the page and creates an optimized document print preview layout that the user has the option to either accept as their reduced output, or continue to print the page according to the original layout. Other settings can adjust the amount of toner with TonerSaver options as well. The application does not just reduce the amount of pixels on the page but it also has the ability to identify different objects such as graphs or photos, in order to optimize the toner saving algorithms. For instance a graph that has a solid blue bar, will identify it as a graph and show the user a “less toner” graph with hatch marks instead that the user can then accept to print with the optimized setting, or not. It also knows the type of application, either word document, excel sheet or web page and make specific adjustments that a user would want for those document types. For web pages for instance, a user can select different areas of the page to print such as specific articles in a very long page within the optimized print preview mode. Unlike other output management solutions that can automate the routing of print jobs to lower cost devices, the LeanPrint solution takes on another approach by using less pages and allowing the knowledge worker to make better cost effective printing decisions that use less paper and toner.
Interestingly, Adobe had announced the LeanPrint solution with its first partnership Toshiba America Business Solutions. With manufacturers generally opposing solutions that promote less toner usage, TABS’ strategy to help customers print less and save is a very interesting one. Toshiba has been quite the differentiator when it comes to their Managed Print Services strategy. Teaming up with HP and Lexmark to offer customers their devices and supplies was also quite different. While other manufacturers typically would use some type of aftermarket solution for competitive devices, Toshiba’s path was to use the “can’t beat’em, join’em” strategy, which seems pretty smart. OEM toner is still mostly used today (and still preferred by customers according to our research), even in MPS engagements where aftermarket provides a lower cost solution. It appears to be a wise move to partner with the most widely distributed printer organizations to help gain new revenues and at the same time be known to their customers as a trusted advisor that does not have ulterior motives. The LeanPrint partnership adds another layer of credibility to that trusted advisor story for Toshiba.
With Preton and Adobe providing unique solutions that help customers save money on toner (and paper), it should be interesting to see how organizations both vendors and end customers deploy and adopt them. We see benefits for both, Preton’s that can be totally transparent, where the knowledge worker does not even realize a noticeable difference, and Adobe’s where the user knows they are making a difference. Either way, customers are definitely benefiting from these solutions, as well as vendors are using them to differentiate their offerings. For vendors today, it is no longer just about capturing MIF or even pages, but customers and customer mindshare. In a space that is already competitive, differentiation is key, and for those that can demonstrate their differentiation along with a trusted advisor message is sure to be a winner.
Read the original article at InfoTrends InfoBlog: http://blog.infotrends.com/?p=7365