I am sitting in a cavernous convention center in Portugal’s capital with Larry Tracy, the Director of Product Planning for HP, Inc. (note: I do some work with HP) and Thom Brown, the company’s “Chief Inkologist” and the question I ask is, “What do you wish most small business knew about your technology that they may not know?”
Says Tracy, “I wish people knew all of the things their printer and printer cartridge could really do.”
Point well taken, and if this describes you, you are not alone. Until today, I really did not know that much about printers, either. Indeed, it is just so easy these days, with all of the technology that is available and necessary for the small business, to know what you know about your technology generally and hope that’s enough.
And that’s where a tech company like HP comes in. They spend a lot of time thinking about how to make your business life easier, so you don’t have to. As such, according to HP, this product launch — called “Printing Reinvented” — is their biggest in a decade. It turns out that they have been thinking about your small business a lot.
There was a lot to see and take in at this launch, such as
► The need for printer security. Because printers are now accessed wirelessly, they can be an entry-point for hackers. As such, printers today must be e-secure.
► Super fast duplex printing. New technology allows HP printers to print two sides of a double-sided document at the same time, which, in turn, means duplex documents print very fast. (See, there is something I bet you didn’t know your printer could do.)
But the real star of the show was an amazing, brand new class of printers being globally launched today called PageWide.
As explained to me by the Chief Inkologist himself, Thom Brown, the PageWide technology comes from HP’s history with huge commercial / industrial printers. These large-format printers differ from the ones in your and my office in many ways of course, but one in particular:
In printers like these, the ink stays stationary and sprays the paper that moves through the machine. If you think about the printer in your office however, it is the ink cartridge that moves back and forth, spraying the paper. The revolutionary thing here is that HP figured out a way to shrink that giant printer technology down to the size of a desktop printer, and that in turn leads to several significant changes and benefits for the small business:
The first and most obvious of course is that there are fewer moving parts with no ink cartridge going back and forth. Instead, there is a stationary a cartridge that spans the entire width of a page (hence, PageWide) with 42,000 nozzles that spray ink on paper. The result is color documents that are not only gorgeous, but which print incredibly fast. How fast? Up to 75 pages a minute fast.
Additionally, with fewer moving parts there is less maintenance with these printers and that means less cost. Another thing that I really appreciated is how sustainable they are. With no melting toner, fewer supplies, less packaging, less energy consumption, and less waste, HP says that they these printers have the lowest carbon footprint in their class.
Many things go into the small business equation, and I am wont to wax rhapsodic about most of them – having a big vision, serving your customers, adopting and adapting to social media, and all the rest. It truly is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur. But here’s the thing: Unless you have the right tools, you won’t get very far down your visionary entrepreneurial path.
And that is where a product launch like the one today comes into play, because it turns out that another reason why this is a great time for small business is that big businesses like HP continue to create powerful products that make our job easier.