Konica Minolta Envisions a Bright Future at the 2016 Dealer Conference
Everything from Hardware to Robotics Highlighted during Event
The location where Konica Minolta held its 2016 dealer conference is a statement of how the company views itself and its future—in stunning Aspen, Colorado. The impressive lineup of keynote speakers featured at the event, including Steve Forbes and Peyton Manning, further bolstered that statement. Titled “Inspiration Ideation Innovation,” the conference theme centered on moving forward into the workplace of the future. And the company has plenty to be proud of, as elaborated upon by its executive team. Here are just a few highlights:
• The company boasts of the largest revenue per dealer.
• Brand Keys named Konica Minolta number one in customer loyalty in the MFP business.
• The top five Konica Minolta dealers are the top five dealers of any brand.
The days of just selling boxes are over, Rick Taylor, President and CEO of KMBS U.S.A., Inc., said. “We need to sell total value solutions,” he continued, drawing a parallel between McDonalds; getting just a cheeseburger (selling just hardware) versus getting a value meal complete with fries and shake (hardware coupled with software). This is why Taylor strongly encouraged its dealers to take advantage of All Covered, its partner and managed IT provider, noting that only a third of dealers are currently using it.
Just like Shoei Yamana, President and CEO of Konica Minolta, Inc., runs marathons, the company must as well, said Taylor. “We have to prepare more for a marathon than a sprint.” Looking toward the future, Taylor joked that at the forefront are those “dreaded millennials.” “When I was their age, I had to walk through nine feet of shag carpeting just to change the TV channel.”
But on a more serious note, Taylor noted that millennials will account for 50% of the workforce by 2020 and 75% by 2025. That means more freelancing, telecommuting, decentralization and mobility, and the necessity for an improved online presence, he continued. “Work is not where you are, work is what you get done,” Taylor said. All Covered was again pointed to as a big part of Konica Minolta’s strategy to stay ahead of the curve. Described as “Managed IT of the future,” All Covered WorkSpaces allows users to connect securely to their business desktop from a PC, Mac, tablet or even phone.
Referencing our very own InfoTrends forecast, Dino Pagliarello, Manager, Digital Marketing, KMBS U.S.A., Inc., pointed to the industrial inkjet market as a major area of growth. As such, the company’s hardware announcements revolved primarily around production and industrial printers, particularly label, packaging and 3D printers. The company reaffirmed its decision to jump into the 3D printing space early, despite the fact that a great deal of recalibration in original strategy and expectations has been required, given how new and uncharted the 3D print territory is. Some exciting announcements in these areas included:
• The birth of the Accurio brand for commercial and industrial printing, including the AccurioJet KM-1 and KM-C, industrial inkjet printers for the light packaging market, and the AccurioPress C2070 for enterprise printing.
• Partnership and major investment with MGI (acquired the majority of shares) to bring the Meteor series and JetVarnish 3D series. The Meteor series offers web-fed, roll-fed label printing that is set to double Konica Minolta’s color production print lineup, while the JetVarnish series creates a brand new offering for Konica Minolta in the decorative printing space, allowing them to expand into markets that were previously out of reach.
• EFI and KIP partnerships to bring the EFI H1625 Wide Format and KIP 860 wide format printers.
• More 3D printers, such as the ProJet MFP 2500 Plus and CubePro Trio.
• The bizhub PRESS C71CF label printer.
• The bizhub PRESS 1085 and C1100 series, as well as the bizhub PRESS 1250 for production printing.
• Partnership with three top label converting companies: Spartanics, Aztech, Grafisk Maskinfabrik.
In keeping with Konica Minolta’s commitment to offering a total value solution, its new office product lineup will support the bizhub MarketPlace (for integration of cloud services); Chameleon (enables control panel customization, available from the bizhub MarketPlace); and bizdrive (a cloud-based MPS solution that provides analytics to help make better print decisions). The new office lineup will also feature expanded mobile capabilities, including support for EveryonePrint (an on-premise, enterprise mobile print solution) and NFC technology (allows users to print with a simple tap of their mobile device to the machine).
Another major partnership announced was with Forza MWA Intelligence, a business management solution that streamlines and automates business processes and gives businesses a single platform to run on. Yet another nod was given to InfoTrends for its Vertical Market Opportunity Analysis (VMO); Konica Minolta announced it will reward its top five dealers per region with an InfoTrends VMO, which can help them understand which verticals they serve have the greatest potential for growth and provides recommendations to accelerate growth.
Security was another central theme of the conference. The benefits of adopting AllCovered were again spotlighted by Todd Croteau, President of All Covered. He cited the fact that 40% of SMBs that manage their own IT will be hacked, while 50% of them won’t even know it. An audience poll also revealed that 79% of people either suffered a cyberattack themselves or their client’s business did. And with the acquisition of Mobotix, a video surveillance company specializing in IP cameras, Konica Minolta’s security offerings are sure to keep expanding. Additional security solutions highlighted included bizhub SECURE, FileAssist, Gartner and Nest, to name a few.
Driving Konica Minolta’s innovation is its Business Innovation Center (BIC). One of the biggest announcements out of the BIC is the upcoming launch of enVision Sense, a new solution that will offer event monitoring, analytics, power protection and data analysis. enVision Sense is exclusively offered by Konica Minolta through its partnership with ESP Technologies and Sigsense Technologies. Some more of the BIC’s latest innovations include robotic receptionists (the ALICE Receptionist and the iPad Receptionist), Double Robotics for remote conferencing and remote classrooms, and EventBoard for meeting room management and scheduling. The BIC also continues its work with SaviOne hospitality and KnightScope security robots, as well as Iris EyeLock iris authentication.