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HP hails Print 2.0

Bridging the gap between paper and the net

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At Hewlett-Packard's annual Imaging and Printing Conference recently, the company unveiled "Print 2.0" and described how it would seek to capture a significant share of the 53 trillion digital pages estimated to be printed in 2010, an opportunity valued at more than $296+ billion.

The three key focus areas of the Print 2.0 strategy were announced as: making it easier to print from websites and bring new printing capabilities to online properties; extending HP's digital content creation and publishing platforms, e.g. Snapfish and Logoworks, across customers from consumers to enterprises; and delivering a digital printing platform with increased print speeds and lower cost of printing for high-volume commercial markets.

In an effort to broaden and improve the web-printing experience, HP is creating technologies to make it easy to print content from the internet in a useful format. It has teamed up with weblog software and services company SixApart, Ltd, creator of Movable Type, an advanced blogging platform, to enable bloggers to add a "print" button on their blogs to allow readers to pick and choose only the posts they want to print.

HP also plans to introduce the Tabblo Print Toolkit, an embeddable website widget and corresponding web service that enables web designers to incorporate print functionality into websites.

The company added eight imaging and printing solutions to its enterprise portfolio targeted at higher education, public sector, retail, transportation/logistics, and financial services industries. Among these are four HP Campus Advantage Solutions targeted to institutions of higher learning; the HP Common Access Card that enables secure imaging and printing network authentication for government and public sector customers; the HP Retail Marketing Automation application which transforms the manual, labor-intensive in-store promotion and communication process into an industrial, automated one; solutions for financial services customers; and HP Compliant Document Capture for SEC17a meeting the needs of capturing regulated fax, email, scan, and couriered mail documentation quickly and easily at the point of creation.

In addition, HP announced the new HP Handheld sp400 All-in-One, which is aimed at industries such as transportation/logistics, manufacturing and retail, to simplify workflow and operations with a portable printing solution that applies an image directly to packaging or other surface, eliminating the need for labeling. The company also announced several other printing products and services targeting SMBs as well as that HP Halo Collaboration Studio's telepresence now circumnavigate the globe.

The depth of this announcement is considerable not only in that it listed far too many products, services, and technologies to be covered here, but more so for the strategic direction given and the many vertical specific offerings announced.

A few years ago competitors would often mock HP as basically being "a printer company" and not much else. However, the company's considerable rebound of the past couple of years shows an IT powerhouse that happens to be rather expert in imaging as well. The results of this we see evident in this Print 2.0 announcement.

As basic as it may seem, we believe the efforts targeting web pages are well founded. websites and paper, despite exceptions such as downloadable PDF files, are two disparate and largely incompatible information systems. Web pages are the equivalent of old Teletype paper rolls where output was not set in size or format.

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