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An Interview with Thom Brown, HP
November 13, 2015
We have made note of HP’s Instant Ink program in several of our posts now as it is an intriguing proposition for the printing industry. Users choose a plan based on their perceived printing needs and send output without worrying about when a cartridge will run out. New ink is queued automatically in communications between the printer and HP and customers do not have to run to the store to buy ink. To gain some further insight into the program, we were connected with HP’s own certified Inkologist, Thom Brown, who we have had the pleasure of speaking to several times before. The interview was conducted via email and our questions with Thom’s answers appear below:
1) Instant Ink seems like a very solid value proposition with the ability to have ink sent before one runs out. Can you explain at what point the cartridge notifies HP (e.g., when 25 pages are left, 10% of ink remains, etc.)?
2) With the success it seems that HP has had thus far with the program, has there been any talk of extending this type of program for toner cartridges and laser printers?
3) Have there also been considerations of taking it beyond the 300 page level, or would that require re-engineering of the cartridge size, as they are already larger than HP XL cartridges.
4) On a related note, are the cartridges engineered to go with a specific plan size? That is, is the 50-page cartridge different than the 300-page one?
5) There are several different series' of models included in the Instant Ink-eligible family. Can you say whether or not (as it was with HP ePrint), that the company will plan to offer Instant Ink with the majority of new HP units going forward?
New Instant Ink-ready models were launched this past fall and Instant Ink has now expanded into Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and France. With the success that HP has witnessed in the US market, it is confident Instant Ink will succeed in other markets as well.
6) Besides saving customers money on their printer supplies, what else would you say are the main advantages to opting for the Instant Ink program?
If a customer wants to change or refresh their printers, they are never stuck in an HP Instant Ink plan or committed or invested in anything. Lastly, Instant Ink gives customers freedom to print whatever they want. Customers no longer have to worry about how much ink is being used for a photo or graphic. A page is a page and it's always the same price making it very easy to budget with a flat cost. The printer is not unique to Instant Ink only hardware; it can be either.
7) If a user starts out on the 300-page plan and then realizes that they are not printing nearly that much, will the integrity of the cartridge(s) be compromised if they are left in the printer too long?