Canon Delivers Announcements on the ‘New Way of Work’
On August 8, 2016 Canon USA provided a glimpse into the future of work by introducing four key announcements:
- imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5500 series & Color imageCLASS LBP712CDn
- uniFLOW Online
- Advance Cloud Portal V2
- Canon Business Solutions Platform
Each of these announcements reflect the ‘old way’ or ‘community-type model’ versus the ‘new way’ where the customer is at the center of work. Canon balanced the consumerization aspects that employees want with the needs of the enterprise and has declared that you are at the center, settings belong to you, and technology must work your way – it’s all about you (see Figure 1).
imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5500 Series and Color imageCLASS LBP712Cdn
First off, Canon announced its follow-on to the imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5200 series with its third generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5500 series (iRA C5500). This series fits between the C3300 series and the C7200 series. Canon also introduced its new Color imageCLASS LBP712Cdn, a compact color laser printer that will complement both the imageRUNNER and imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices.
The iRA C5200 was announced in 2012 and it has garnered many industry awards including BLI’s ‘A3 MFP line of the Year.’ (The imageRUNNER ADVANCE Series was announced in September 2009.) About 40 percent of all Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE sales were comprised of the C5000/C5200 series so this is a very important part of Canon’s success. See Figure 2 for a summary of basic specifications for the iRA C5500 series.
A few key focus points about these devices:
- Ease of use and personalization (goes with Canon’s theme)
- Has standard Universal Login Manager for “out-of-the-box” usage tracking and personalization by the user
- Support for mobile workflows
- User authentication and solutions integration
- High image quality and an advanced feature set
- Supports BYOD environments
- Fast print performance with no loss of productivity from Black/white to color
- Internal finisher allows the device to be compact in size
These devices will be targeted at small to mid-sized office that require fast and consistent color in a compact size box. Additionally, Canon will market it to departments within enterprise environments, especially those that have mobile workflow.
The dealer is key to the selling and servicing of this series. Here’s a few key takeaways for the dealer:
- Longer life parts and consumables and service efficiency for reduced downtime, fewer service visits, and less time per visit
- Fleet consistency in operation, management, and solutions support – mainly due to the Unified Firmware Platform
- Improved inventory management and reduced stock space
When you look at the interface, it will be quite familiar since it has a smartphone-like interface. You can pinch and drag-and-drop icons. Personalization is Canon’s theme and Canon has made it easy to have a unique display for individual users. A user can send documents directly to contacts that fit their workflows, not the workflows of their peers or the whole company – a user has easy access to their personal contact list. All of this is due to Canon’s Universal Login Manager.
The iRA C5500 series is designed for digitization with scanning that captures paper-based data with ease. It also has a huge 6,350-page paper capacity that reduces intervention. Finally, Canon’s device management tools offer centralized control across entire device fleets and ensure that all devices can be updated, inactive units turned off, meter readings can be captured, and address books and printer drivers can be managed appropriately.
Secondly, Canon announced its new Color imageCLASS LBP712Cdn that has a print speed of 40 pages/minute. Besides increased paper capacity the device will provide the same user experience as the imageRUNNER ADVANCE MFPs due to using a common print driver.
The imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5500 Series models are available now with the following MSRPs*:
- imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5560i: $23,000
- imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5550i: $20,000
- imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5540i: $17,000
- imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5535i: $15,000
The Color imageCLASS LBP712Cdn is also available now at an MSRP of $1,795*.
* Final prices to be determined by dealers.
Canon contrasted the ‘old way’ with the ‘new way.’ The old way had various platforms that had to be managed such as office printing, mobile printing, document scanning, and production printing. However, customers want a unified and simplified system with a secure architecture, easy to track and control, and have the ability to customize and personalize. Therefore, uniFLOW Online has been announced – one platform, designed from the ground up, it allows secure print through the cloud with no local print servers and the print content remains inside the customer’s network. It provides full accounting and reporting capabilities, mobile printing, Microsoft Active Directory Federation Services, and can be hosted on the cloud with Microsoft Azure or other cloud service providers.
The target customer is small and medium-sized businesses with smaller fleets of Canon iRA systems – it is better suited for up to 100 users. Also, Canon will target those customers that don’t want to invest in or manage local servers and require standard functionality such as secure print, accounting, etc.
Advance Cloud Portal V2
Once again the old way was contrasted to the new way. The old way was connecting users to Google Drive directly from the iRA system. The new way is to use the iRA system to scan directly to Google drive and to other cloud storage-based apps including Box, Dropbox, Evernote and Microsoft OneDrive.
Canon Business Services Platform
The final announcement revolves around what Canon is calling the Canon Business Services Platform. This announcement is very important to the dealer. In the past Canon has been told by customers that it needs an app store. One of the problems with this is that it takes the dealers out of the loop with Canon’s customers. As such, Canon decided to create a platform that allow dealers to order subscription services from Canon. The dealer can see those subscriptions/solutions and are able to sell and can order them easily. Billing, subscription, and account management are all taken care of by the platform.
The initial software/services that will be offered are:
- uniFLOW Online – now
- Advanced Cloud Portal V2 – now
- Intelligent Grading Solution – September
- Therefore Online – TBD
Canon prepared a very intuitive diagram that pulls all of this together (see Figure 3).
A short description of each provides insight to the direction that Canon is heading in regards to “X-as-a-Service.”
IaaS – Infrastructure-as-a-Service – this includes the cloud provider whether it is Microsoft with its Azure service or Fujitsu,
PaaS – Platform-as-a-Service – an example of this is uniFLOW that can be used to manage devices through local servers,
SaaS – Software-as-a-Service – please note the rectangle, these are the “as-a-Service” that comprises where Canon plays. A few examples shown are uniFLOW Online or Therefore Online.
Solutions-as-a-Service – Over and over again, Tom O’Neill, Canon Director of Product Marketing, mentioned during Canon’s recent roadshows that software is not a solution – it’s part of the solution. Solving a business problem is a solution!
All of this leads to Positive Customer Business Outcomes. An analogy that O’Neill described was known as “The Last Mile.” It is a description of what AT&T and other telecommunications vendors accomplished by installing the phone line from the street to the consumer in the house. No revenue occurred until this happened. This describes the Canon Business Services Platform and where it fits in the Stack of Services – it helps to bridge the last mile and enables its partners to generate revenue. If Canon accomplishes this, the company will be successful.
This announcement will be new to some customers in the U.S. but parts of the announcement have already been introduced in other parts of the world such as uniFLOW Online announced by NT-ware in May 2016 and the Canon imageRUNNER C5500 series announced in London in July 2016. With a company as large as Canon this can be accepted, but it does lose its impact.
Canon developed a theme in this announcement of ‘old way’ versus ‘new way’ and stuck with it throughout. It demonstrated the company had thought through how all of these announcements were related and provided a ‘hook’ for customers and dealers to refer back to in marketing and selling to customers.
This announcement demonstrates Canon’s holistic approach of balancing enterprise and individual’s needs in regards to integrating systems, software, services, support, and infrastructure. Canon continues to build on its past successes.