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Why Daylight Savings Time Is Important to Printing
This could easily be filed under “Who knew?”, but according to a recent blog posting by Xerox’s Cheryl Otstott, it really does matter. If you have not heard by now, or have forgotten, at 2am Sunday morning, or thereabouts, in the United States all clocks should be turned forward 1 hour. Basically if you go to bed at 10pm, really you are going to bed at 11pm.
Otstott notes that after you are done changing all the other appliances in your house that do not automatically change, you need to remember to change the time on your Xerox printers and multifunction devices as well. This is important for any documents that get received or sent bearing a timestamp. Another side effect may be the actual printing of documents if the network time and the printer time are not in sync. To get the instructions as to how to change the time, Xerox has compiled a document entitled “Updating Xerox Products and Solutions for Daylight Saving Time”. You could alternatively go the to support page for your respective machine and search on the word “time”, notes Otstott.
Lastly, Xerox offers two other means for updating time on your devices. If you are an IT manager who handles devices remotely via SNMP, Xerox also has a document for you entitled, “Changing Date & Time via SNMP”. Time can also be changed centrally by using Xerox’s CentreWare Web and Xerox Device Manager.
Xerox Introduces ConnectKey Software
February 15, 2013
Earlier this week, Xerox introduced a new software system which is embedded in Xerox multifunction printers as well as a set of solutions designed to work with a the growing numbers of mobile workforce users and provide enhanced IT security across connected devices.
According to the OEM, sixteen total ConnectKey MFPs will used the industry-first embedded security protection from McAfee which will make it easier for IT administrators to maintain greater control of “bring your own device” (BYOD) workplaces. This count includes two of the newest members of the WorkCentre® line, the 5800 and 7800 Series. For additional security, ConnectKey MFPs have incorporated Cisco’s TrustSec to protect data paths to and from the devices.
Xerox also notes that ConnectKey also features open Application Programming Interface (API), which will make it easier than before for sales channel partners, system integrators, and resellers to develop and embed apps on the MFP without the need for additional software.
Douraid Zaghouani, president, Channel Partner Operations, Xerox said “‘ConnectKey was designed for one purpose: to simplify how work gets done in a secure, ‘always on’ world Through the MFP as a secure hub, ConnectKey?s features include the ability to scan and upload documents to cloud repositories, send business-critical documents directly into workflow processes and print securely and easily from any mobile device. It’s Xerox innovation that takes hassles out of workdays and adds more productivity into workplaces.’”
One company based out of Raleigh, NC, Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company who manages and develops hotels is aware of the benefits of a tool like ConnectKey. They are able to take advantage of scanning into SharePoint as well as mobile printing. To this point, it has only be utilized at their headquarters, but they will soon be expanding this to 90 hotels located across North America. Their CIO Brian Cornell remarked, “‘From an innovation standpoint, ConnectKey is great. My only regret is that we didn’t have it sooner.’”
Xerox says that their solution makes work easier with the following time-saving steps including MFP apps, cloud access, and mobile printing:
Xerox says that the WorkCentre 5800 Series and WorkCentre 7800 series are currently available now during the first quarter of 2013. The WorkCentre 7220/7225, the Xerox ColorQube 9300 Series, and Xerox ColorQube 8700/9700 Series with ConnectKey Controllers are expected to be available next quarter. ConnectKey for SharePoint and ConnectKey Share to Cloud are also available now, with the availability of the Xerox Apps Studio anticipated for the third quarter of 2013.
Xerox Discusses Managed Print
In one of the most recent entries on their blog site, Mark Cole, National Business Intelligence Manager, Xerox Canada speaks about how to get started in managed print. He notes at the outset that the definitions may vary from analyst to analyst, but the bottom line is always the same: control print costs and keep it organized.
Xerox has seen companies with as high of a device to employee ratio of 3:1, which is ridiculously high, no matter how large or small the organization. And, in cases like it, there is a real likelihood of devices costing money while being underutilized.
Cole points out that the places that have the worst device to employee ratio are those where technology is spread throughout the office, and having more in place does not necessarily mean that your business will run more efficiently. The solution is
If your business has does not have an effective plan in place for managing print, then print is undoubtedly going to cost more time and resources in the end. Costs associated with printing include not only the devices themselves, but also the consumables, service and support.
Besides the hard costs, print environments bring a slew of soft costs as well. An example of this would be the time one’s staff spends maintaining these devices. Employees have to make sure they always have the supplies on hand for the printers they use, and IT staff has to spend valuable time handling the devices on the network. The more devices you have, the more likely it is that you will have different drivers and firmware which the IT department must keep updated.
From their experience, the majority of organizations who are considering entering into an MPS contract are seeking ways to better manage their existing infrastructure, reduce costs, and let people focus on things besides printing. Cole says that according to industry analysts, it is rare to find an organization that knows how to optimize their print environment on their own, and that’s where MPS comes in.
A recent Photizo group report predicted that 41% of imaging and hardware supplies will be purchased through MPS contracts, and management of the office printing environment will be outsourced.
The article also reports that another firm of analysts, IDC, found in a recent poll of customers who had entered into MPS contracts that over 60% (62% to be exact), said the reason they were most satisfied with is the cost savings were as the vendor projected.
In conclusion, Cole says that MPS is more than just optimizing a print fleet, and he will be posting about the other items in later blog entries.
Xerox Offers Tips on Image Quality Issues
Xerox’s very useful At Your Service blog always has a ton of useful information, and this week has been no exception. In a post from yesterday, their expert tackles something I’m sure many have struggled with at one point: image quality. While it’s easy to get frustrated very quickly, Xerox’s Cheryl Otstott says the best way to tackle problems is to divide and conquer. One could also call the approach process of elimination.
For starters, the first thing you will need to determine is what you are doing when the problem occurs. That is, are you printing things, copying things, etc.? If you determine that it happens when you copy, then perhaps it is time to try to clean the copier glass if possible. Be sure and check to make sure the cleaning product you have is approved for use. What we mean is don’t spray window cleaner on your machine. If you determine that is the printing where the problem occurs, try printing out a test page from your machine and see if the defect is apparent there. Once again, if the defect can’t be duplicated, then the next thing to check would be the file you are printing. Test this theory by trying another file from a different program.
Depending on what type of printer you have (Xerox or otherwise), there should be plenty of information either on the manufacturer?s website or on forums with potential solutions. Xerox’s support site breaks down issues into both printing and copying, or both, depending on the device.
As you can see, while there are a lot of different things to consider when trying to solve imaging issues, understanding the different parts of a device will help you narrow down the problem. The checklist as suggested by Otstott then goes something like this:
Xerox Enters MPS Contract with University of Nottingham
It was announced late last week that OEM Xerox and the University of Nottingham have agreed to a five-year MPS contract worth about £9.2 million ($14.8 million USD). Xerox will help the university to curb wasteful printing practices and lessen its environmental impact. The university currently has roughly 6,500 employees and 34,000 students spread across five campuses in the United Kingdom.
Xerox estimates that under the new MPS contract, they can cut the university’s printing costs by about 25% year on year, as well as realize other savings from invoice and payment processing costs. Under the new agreement, the university will be able to manage all of its printing operations from a single, central location for the first time. From there, personnel will be able to closely monitor print volume and habits of its users. They will also be able to realize savings by curbing uncontrolled printing and device ownership and re-charge appropriate costs to individual departments.
As part of the new system, Xerox will be replacing the 3,700 current units with 500 energy-efficient multifunction devices as well as 200 desktop printers. That equals just over an 80% reduction of the units across the university. The elimination of unnecessary devices will help to support the sustainability goals outline in the university’s 2010-2015 strategic plan such as “saving energy, reducing carbon emissions and resource consumption including paper and ink cartridges”.
Nottingham’s Jim Reed, the director of procurement for the university has said “ ‘As we worked to identify cost savings and plan for our future, we realized we needed data on devices and document printing across 60 departments. Xerox is helping us to manage our print operations through innovative solutions. Several other universities are keen to find out how the model could be applied to their own environments."
Xerox is also going to help the university by implementing a mobile printing solution across the campus which will allow university staff to print securely from their smartphones, laptops, or tablets from basically anywhere on campus, any time of the day.
Amanda Abernethy, general manager and director of Large Enterprise Operations, Xerox U.K stated, "'We’re working with the University of Nottingham to ‘futureproof’ the print environment so it supports students and staff today and for years to come. In this way, the university can stay focused on continuing to provide an excellent forum for study.'"
Tuskegee University and Xerox: Another Win for MPS
We recently reported on a story about Canada's McGill University and what Xerox's MPS team was able to accomplish on their campus. That is just one of many examples where Xerox has provided a money saving solution to a college. In today's piece, we explore another success of Xerox, this time at Alabama's famous Tuskegee University.
As with many educational settings, Tuskegee had over time acquired a lot of printing devices of all different types which had to be managed. The case study notes that overall, there existed more than 1,000 employees and 3,200 students, and their IT department consisted of two people (yes, that's two) and was still growing.
The first thing Xerox provides for any of its clients is an assessment of the infrastructure in place. According to the report, Tuskegee's CIO Fred Judkins had told the OEM that printing was a "thorn in our side" which was exacerbated by "resource cutbacks and a fleet of non-networked, multi-vendor devices". Xerox came in and looked at each and every office on campus and developed a plan for Tuskegee to determine what people were printing and where they were printing from.
Xerox today manages all of Tuskegee’s print infrastructure for students, faculty, and administrators across its five colleges. With the solution in place, Tuskegee is able to recoup back an additional $10,000 each and every month which can then be redeployed. Judkins gets a report each month which tracks what users are printing, how much it is costing, and what machines are being used. For instance, with the reports Tuskegee was able to see that color printing rises in the summer, so the budget can be adjusted to meet that trend. Judkins says, "We're seeing a lot of benefit from managed print."
As with any change, sometimes acceptance is hard at first. Judkins said that it was very difficult for some of the users to give up their personal printers. Xerox helped with this aspect of the transition as well by putting a new multifunction device in the dean’s office first. Xerox says, "We began by proving the value of a managed print solution to the department heads and the deans. To do that, we had to make sure they understood they were getting a better value."
Some of the new features, says Xerox, including things like digital signatures, print security codes, Follow-You Printing over the entire network, and more efficient color output. The Follow-You technology allows users to print a job to a secure server, and then release the jobs by authenticating at any other Xerox device on the network. Overall, the small IT staff at Tuskegee is now free to focus on other things besides printing. They say they are getting more done and saving money at the same time.
Can Two Be Better Than One?
If you are part of a busy office IT staff, then Xerox might just have a great, time-saving solution for you: cloning. No, not the type where you clone yourself to get more done, or simply create new printers out of thin air, but they are referring to the ability to quickly and easily clone printer settings across multiple units.
How does it work? According to Xerox, the Clone printer feature can be used to copy, or clone, configuration settings from a single printer to one or more destination printers. With the cloning process, a file script will be created which contains the instructions needed to configure the other printers. There is a slight catch, however. In order for this to work properly, all the printers must be the exact same model as well as running the same version of software. The System software version must also be the same on the machines receiving the file as on the machine where the file was created. Users can print a System Settings list to be sure everything is the same. In some cases, users will need the report to obtain the IP address of the printer.
Xerox says that in some cases groups of settings can be cloned depending on the features available on each unit. They also warn that certain conditions impact the cloned settings:
For more information, users can look at the manual which was sent with their device, or the support page.
Xerox Printers Offering Cloning Option
Let us preface this by saying before you run off to start your new business selling cloned Xerox printers, that is not the type of cloningbeing discussed here. Instead, this is referring to the cloning of the same settings across devices.
In an entry on the At Your Service blog, Xerox’s Cheryl Otstott describes the Clone printer feature that is available on Xerox devices. Users will need to configure a source printer as the example, and then the settings can be passed onto another (or more) printer or multifunction device. There are a few basic caveats, though: the printers have to be the same model, and they must also have the same version of software for the cloned settings to be transferred successfully. Additionally, the System Software version must be the same on both machines. Otstott suggests that users who are interested in doing this should print a System Settings (Configuration) list and to ensure the System Software Versions match up. If help is needed to do this, refer to the support site for your machine to determine how to get the report. Additionally this report may be required to determine the IP address assigned to the printer.
Otstott says that groups of settings are available to clone, but are dependent on the features of the machine and the optional features which have been installed on the source printer. The following conditions affect the cloned settings available:
Cloning can help take some of the burden off of IT staff when having to configure a fleet of printers. To determine if cloning is an option for you given the printer setup, refer either to the user manual for your printer or the support page for your machine. To see an example screen shot, refer to original blog entry here.
Xerox Fortifies ConnectKey Platform
This past Tuesday, Xerox unveiled in response to the ever-growing needs of an increasingly mobile workforce, introduced new functionalities, apps, and products for its ConnectKey® 1.5 software and technology.
Included as part of the newest enhancements, users will find four new multifunction printers (MFPs), two of which are A4/letter sized devices, as well as software apps that Xerox says “ push the boundaries of traditional device functionality”.
The new cloud-ready ConnectKey-enabled MFPs which represent better speed and functionality include the:
In terms of software, the capabilities of the new ConnectKey devices are further augmented with Xerox’s Extensible Interface Platform 3.0 which adds WebKit browser support thereby allowing Xerox partners to develop their own control panel user interface for their apps that run on customers’ MFPs.
Also of note is the launch of the Xerox App Studio 2.0, the latest ConnectKey apps now provide direct user access to scan to or print from popular cloud based solutions such as Microsoft Office 365 and Dropbox. Additionally, there is a new app that will allow customers to print from their own URL, whether they are behind a firewall or in the cloud, enabling the convenience of a “print-on-demand” environment.
Xerox Secure Access Version 5.0, a print management solution has been converted into a modular, software-only solution, making it possible for customers to use authentication features, but at a lower cost than before and integrate with industry standard card readers. With Xerox Mobile Print Solution 3.0, users further convenience, better security, and more flexibility in job submission, including the ability to adjust media sizes as well as select page ranges for printing. Mobile Print is easy to sell, deliver, manage, and support.
Because of these and the variety of other imaging and software options Xerox has available, they were chosen by Buyers Laboratory LLC (BLI) as the receipient of the “2014 Document Imaging Solutions Line of the Year” award.
For those companies who are already Xerox MPS clients, the use of ConnectKey provides further enhancements to already powerful solutions. Xerox notes that the newest A4 MFPs are able to provide smaller, lower cost devices without sacrificing on network access and solution compatibility.
AvailabilityThe latest ConnectKey MFPs, Xerox App Studio 2.0, ConnectKey apps, and Xerox Mobile Print Solution 3.0 are available now in most places. Xerox Secure Access Version 5.0 is projected to be available most places in October 2014.