We may have many doubts about the future of the industry, but if there is one thing that is certain, the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to rise. By incorporating the functions and services of printers, the IoT promises to change the way in which we use them and through the incorporation of the technologies, will help to create a new generation of intelligent printers.
The adoption of IoT technology is occuring in all industries. It is helping companies to operate in a more integrated and efficient way, to better understand business processes and to make decisions in real time. The next IoT stage is just beginning and we are seeing a shift from the physical to the digital to automate and increase the human experience within a connected world.
According to a recent IDC report, global spending on the Internet of Things is expected to reach $745 billion in 2019, an increase of 15.4% over 2018. It is also expected to maintain double-digit annual growth rate each year during the forecast period between 2017-2022, to exceed $1 billion in 2022.
The key spenders of IoT for this year are expected to be the United States and China, with allocated investments for $194 billion and $182 billion respectively. Although our Latin region will be further down the spend list, the three countries that will see the fastest growth in IoT spending during the forecast period will be Mexico (28.3% CAGR), Colombia (24.9% CAGR) and Chile (23.3% CAGR).
Inkjet wins the arm wrestle—for now
Having resolved the historical stigmas over speed, quality and performance, ink-based printing devices have become an effective solution for companies, especially in the SMB segment. Its lower total cost of ownership (TCO) gives inkjet devices a competitive advantage over lasers.
This trend is reflected in the continuous increase in the number of devices with ink tanks worldwide, being one of the few segments that shows growth in value in almost all regions. Latin America is one of the markets where these devices have had a greater penetration, even surpassing in the second semester of 2018 the sales of printers relying upon a cartridge.
OEMs attentive to change
All OEMs have registered an annual growth in the LATAM region. HP Inc. claims to understand that the value of printing has been changing in recent years and focuses its strategy on knowing what the users’ needs are in the region, and has been generating solutions to meet both professional and personal demands. Within the SMB segment, it will boost its line of HP Ink Tank continuous systems, multifunction printers without cartridges with a performance of more than 8,000 pages in color or 6,000 pages in black and white on average. The devices are designed for high consumption and present total print connectivity and integration with various operating systems.
Epson, a historic manufacturer of ink-based devices, continues to bet on its successful line of EcoTank printers. The products it is presenting promise an increase in performance, incorporating the Ecofit filling system, which facilitates the loading of inks with coded bottles to avoid errors at the time of loading.
Brother claims to be developing an innovative platform in the region to optimize its way of communicating with customers. Among its most important launches is the new line of InkBenefitTank multifunctional, for home use and the SMB segment. According to the OEM, the most significant benefits are speed and print quality.
The future beyond the hardware
For now inkjet-based devices seem to be chosen to accompany this first stage of adoption of IoT into the office sector, although it is difficult to anticipate how new generations of printers will relate to this in the future. Manufacturers face the difficult challenge of interpreting these technologies, developing devices and services that are at the forefront, protecting them from an increasingly complex cyber attacks.
While there is some well founded skepticism about the future of these technologies, the growth of products and printing solutions enabled by Internet of Things is not far away. In fact, it’s already started.