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Android-Based MFPs & Copiers to the Rescue

Every now and then you may get something that you wished for.  A little birdy put me on the hunt today for additional information about the smart operation panel that is used on the new Ricoh MPC 03 color series aka Metis.


Sometimes you can find the information by reading between the lines, the new smart operation panel from Ricoh is available as an option. That option will set users back a cool $380.00  I thought, "that's a pretty steep price for an LCD screen that you allows you to pinch, swipe and flick an image. Just maybe there is more in the naming of the screen "operation", could it be that simple?


All of this leads me back to an article that was published by Photizo on August 6th of 2013 where Ann Priede reported that "Ricoh released multifunction printers (MFPs) running Google Inc.’s Android operating system", along with that statement Ricoh is also actively seeking to recruit developers to create commercial software applications for their MFP's.  A recent google search also showed a Ricoh article that was posted on the Nikkei.


When Sharp first introduced their swipe & wipe screen on their MFP's there were quite a few threads on the Print4Pay Hotel discussion forums about the need for the industry to move to a standardized OS (operating systems) for all MFP manufacturers. One of the threads made mention of the lower manufacturing and development costs.


Thinking forward, I've always been a big fan of having the ability to maybe plug my smart phone into the MFP and use my phone to do what I want with the MFP, whether it's to print documents and photo's that are stored on my cloud service (dropbox, box, google drive, etc) or to scan docs to my cloud service. I would also be able to print a web page or a document from that web page.  I don't think that I'll be able to plug my smart phone into an MFP in the near future. 


But, what I do think is that with an Android OS I would be able to access any document or print any document from any cloud service that I desired.  There's also a lot of people out there that are much smarter than me and I'm sure there could be some awesome apps that would be developed that could change entire business processes for the better. In a recent blog I spoke about the ability of a KonicaMinolta mfp that had the ability to display a corporate message at the copier. Our members took it a step further and offered up, "why not have a sponsor ad running on the mfp that could generate revenue dollars for the dealer and lower costs for the customer".


Yes, it's somewhat farfetched but in reality copiers with an Android OS is the future, especially for authentication and security purposes. If I were a developer I would develop a biometric log in app and then that app would track all usage of all operators at the MFP. I would track what documents were copied, what was scanned, where it was scanned, what was faxed and have a timeline report for every user.  The vertical market applications are endless. I wonder if I just gave someone a million dollar idea?


As our industry continues to evolve, our ongoing revenue streams could become quite different than just getting revenue from the click stream. I'm looking forward to seeing the first smart operation panel from Ricoh and I'm looking forward to see who will be the next wave of creative thinkers and developers in our industry. 


-=Good Selling=-


To my "little birdy" egads I couldn't help myself!!

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