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HP Announces New Print Management Integrations and PageWide Printers

The integrations enable channel pros to manage HP printers like other endpoints via administration tools from Microsoft and McAfee. The additions to the PageWide family of inkjet printers are the first to offer external finishing options. By Rich Freeman

HP Inc. has expanded the range of third-party management platforms its business printers interface with and added new models to its PageWide portfolio of inkjet printers with external finishing capabilities.

The announcements were made Wednesday at the 2018 edition of Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP’s Americas region Executive Forum event, in Las Vegas. That event concludes Thursday.

The new management integrations enable users of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and SIEM products from McAfee LLC to monitor and manage printers in the same way and through the same tools they use to administer other endpoints.

“You can now manage a printer on your network just like you manage a PC on the network,” said Christoph Ruef, vice president and general manager of HP’s Americas print business, in an interview with ChannelPro. “Nobody else can do that.”

The new integrations join previously announced ones involving products from Splunk Inc., the ArcSight division of Micro Focus International plc, and SIEMonster Inc.

Managing printers like PCs and servers is especially useful for security purposes. Printers are as vulnerable to attack as any other network-attached device but often less thoroughly protected. Claiming that its heritage as a maker of PCs as well as printers gives it deeper knowledge than competitors of threat vectors and risk mitigation tactics, HP has been employing security as a competitive differentiator in its quest to seize leadership in the market for A4 and A3 printers.

“Nobody else is really an IT company like HP,” Ruef says.

The additions to HP’s line of PageWide printers announced today are the first in that product line to include external finishing options like binding, folding, and stapling. According to Ruef, the new devices fill the last major gap in the PageWide portfolio that HP has been building out over the last year in a series of releases that included major rollouts last April and last September.

“That was the single biggest thing over the last year that’s been missing,” he says. “We basically now have everything that a small office needs to everything that a really large office needs in their fleet.”

PageWide printers feature a stationary, margin-to-margin print head that generates more pages per minute and is less prone to maintenance issues.

Also at the Executive Forum today, HP announced a forthcoming utility called the HP Accessibility Assistant that will allow people with a range of cognitive, physical, and vision-related deficits to interact with a wide selection of A3 and A4 printers via voice commands. That product is slated to reach market this spring via an update to HP’s FutureSmart firmware. Ruef expects the new system to help HP extend the momentum it’s established in the public sector space, where accessibility is often a required capability.

“This is an area that we frankly have been underindexed in and that is a huge growth opportunity,” he says of the government market generally and federal government market particularly.

HP’s print business is growing at robust rates across segments at present, according to President of HP Imaging, Printing & Solutions Enrique Lores, who characterized that success as a remarkable turnaround during an Executive Forum keynote this morning. In the first quarter of HP’s 2016 fiscal year, he noted, unit sales dropped 20 percent on an annualized basis, revenue declined 17 percent, and operating profit dipped 25 percent. In this year’s first quarter, by contrast, unit sales and revenue both grew 14 percent, and operating profit climbed 12 percent.

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