SAN DIEGO — While celebrating the shipment of its 200 millionth inkjet printer, Hewlett-Packard Thursday laid out its plans to grab a larger share of the 18 trillion page per year digital printing market.

“”If

you look at all the pages printed, our current $22 billion is only four per cent,”” said Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice-president, Imaging and Printing Group (IPG).””So 96 per cent is opportunity. Most of the content creation is digital already. We don’t need all this 96 per cent – even if we get another lousy four per cent, we’re doubling our business.””

To that end, HP is focusing products and services at customers ranging from the consumer to the enterprise.

“”Innovation is understanding your customer’s needs, understanding technology and market trends,”” Joshi said. “”I think that’s what we are all about.””

There are three main target areas, Joshi told attendees at this week’s Imaging and Printing Conference.

In the imaging space, he noted, the opportunity is immense. There are already 80 billion digital images, from digital cameras, on the Web, and in hard copy that has been scanned. HP hopes to grow its position in printing and supplies with printers and consumables that make it cheaper to print photos at home (where 80 per cent of photo printing occurs) than at a photo finisher. With inks and papers that, according to PC World tests, generate an 8 x 10 image that won’t fade for 73 years, at a cost of roughly sixty cents U.S., its mantra in the consumer space is “”choice, control and convenience””.

The second focus area, Joshi said, is digital publishing, where he sees the initial opportunity in printing marketing collateral; short-run, customized materials. For that, he said, HP’s acquisition last year of Indigo’s digital printing solutions is a key enabler.

The third opportunity is in what HP had dubbed convergence. “”A lot of customers are already buying high-end copiers,”” Joshi noted. “”We believe that in a lot of our high-end laser business we can do the same thing that we did with the personal all-in-one in the low end.””

Jean-Jacques Lang, corporate purchasing director for French telecommunications giant Alcatel, has been working on just such a project. In search of output cost savings at 100 sites in seven countries, and facing the expiry of a long-term copier contract, he turned to HP — one of only three companies willing to face the challenge — to rationalize an installed base of 35 brands and 370 models of printer, with 435 distinct consumables into a more manageable, cost-effective service solution. For a single price per page, HP took on the entire printing and imaging infrastructure, including hardware, consumables and maintenance.

In the first phase of the project, HP replaced 15,000 monochrome copiers with multifunction devices in 15 days.

Phase two involved providing service to four pilot sites, including the corporate headquarters. “”There were some hiccups,”” Lang said, but the test showed that the 30 per cent savings quoted in the business case was achievable. Phase three is currently underway, rolling out the service to 25 Alcatel entities at over 100 sites in seven countries. Already, Lang said, other countries are asking to join the program.

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