by Patricia Ames
Ricoh pulled out all the stops at their latest dealer meeting in late October in Las Vegas. Called Convergence, the event gathered a big crowd of about 1,400 guests, including yours truly. Convergence focused on the company's plan to collaborate with dealers to help mitigate the changing work environment impacted by technological disruption. Ricoh’s plan includes sharing resources and expertise with their dealers, as well as equipping them with new technology their customers need in today’s business environment. Ultimately, the company aims to help dealers take advantage and succeed in the changing document imaging environment.
Jim Corridi hosts the dealer panel
To help dealers, Ricoh is offering them the tools and resources usually reserved for their direct sales force. On a more practical side, the company is also offering to help dealers develop customized business plans for their unique markets. Seminars covered topics ranging from selling in the education, healthcare, and legal verticals, to strengthening your brand. Other talks focused on optimizing the sales force and new revenue opportunities.
Some of the sessions took place in cool inflatable pod-like structures in the product fair area. It added a very interesting flavor to the product fair – a little futuristic, a little like camping. I’m a fan.
Mike Hunter of Ricoh “pod instructing”
The product fair included Ricoh’s new product offerings, namely the company’s venture into the MFP-embedded application marketplace to complement their (also) new devices equipped with the new Smart Operation Panel (SOP) interface. Nice GUI! Ricoh’s new technology falls in line with current industry trends, with productivity enhancing software installed on or accessible from MFPs and tablets replacing control panels to make use and navigation a cinch.
The product fair also included a great selection of partners, from leasing companies to software vendors to marketing support groups. In addition, there were equipment and component manufacturers that partner with Ricoh like Fujitsu, Xanté, efi and others. This part of the show has really expanded since the last event and added to the overall atmosphere of collaboration that Ricoh is emphasizing.
Mark Priede of Xanté showing off some very cool envelope printing solutions
Workstyle Innovation Technology
The Ricoh Application Site, the SOP interface, and related software components make up Ricoh’s Workstyle Innovation Technology, what the company describes as “the evolution of office automation, by enhancing the scalable ecosystem made available through Ricoh’s newest devices.”
The Ricoh Application Site enables users to download informational and productivity enhancing applications directly to their supported MFP. Current offerings include simple scan-to and media specific-copy applications.
The SOP brings a modern UI to Ricoh devices. Familiar gestures, like swipe, pinch, and flick, allow users to navigate through the device quickly and easily. Operation is also made easy thanks to the Smart Device Connector, which allows users to operate Ricoh MFPs with their mobile devices. Smart Device Connector also enables users to dovetail MFPs with Ricoh’s projectors and Interactive whiteboards.
The portable, 21.5 inch Interactive Whiteboard D2200 can serve as a whiteboard or — thanks to its onboard video camera and microphone — as a video conferencing tool. The device offers flexible connectivity — it can be dovetailed with tablets and smartphones, and Ricoh Business Projection Systems and printers. The device can connect with up to 20 other locations to foster collaboration across geographical barriers. Markups and annotations are supported, and presentations can be saved to a share folder, USB, or on the device itself for later use. The device is HDMI-ready for speedy setup without the need to configure settings, and offers 12 watt speakers to incorporate audio into presentations. The LCD display with LED background lighting displays in 1920 x 1080 resolution.
New Laser MFPs
The company also announced new color and monochrome laser MFPs. The monochrome devices are the MP 6503, MP7503, and MP9003, with speeds of 65, 75, and 90 ppm, respectively. The color devices include the low-end SP C340DN and the SP C 342DN, both of which offer a maximum resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi color output and top out at a max speed of 26 ppm. Meanwhile, the color C2004 and C2504, ideal for small workgroups, reach speeds as fast as 20 and 25 ppm, respectively.
The monochrome devices and the C2004 and C2504 feature the Smart Operation Panel, and all machines are Apple AirPrint-ready, and offer enhanced mobile functionality for iOS and Android users through the free Ricoh Smart Device Print&Scan app.
The event wasn’t all work, however — as the best events do, Ricoh mixed up convergence with speakers including the inspirational Ray Charles "Sugar" Ray Leonard, the first boxer to earn purses of over $100 million, as well as awards ceremonies, and a great party at Drai’s. I’ll end with a picture from Drai’s balcony overlooking the strip. There’s nothing I can say that will beat that…except a big thank you to Ricoh.