by Patricia Ames
We are a year removed from HP’s announcement of Smart Device Services (SDS). The technology combines device-embedded sensors and cloud-based tools to optimize the way you monitor, manage and diagnose service needs across your entire fleet of HP devices. In its first iteration, SDS offered automated supplies management, on-demand training for techs in the field, and remote remediation tools. It also enabled service providers to diagnose problems remotely before dispatching a tech and locate missing devices to ensure accurate billing.
A year later, HP is rolling out a new and improved version of SDS. The aptly named SDS 2.0 adds machine-to-machine learning, failure prediction, plus collection and billing and diagnostics to its bag of tricks. In the latest iteration, the company promises optimized service visits and parts management, and improved service response times.
For customers, HP says, it means a fleet of printers and MFPs that will rarely go down, and one less problem for them to worry about. For dealers, it means optimized service departments, enhanced billing, reducing costs and most importantly, smiling customers.
As it’s billed, SDS looks like a game changer.
Since its inception last year, HP’s partners have been tinkering away, integrating the SDS technology into their fleet management and device monitoring solutions. One such partner, MPS Monitor, announced in March 2017 that they were fully integrated with HP’s JetAdvantage Management platform (according to HP, MPS Monitor is one of a few partners who have completely integrated with SDS).
For those of you that are not familiar with MPS Monitor, they’re a remote printer monitoring and fleet management developer from Italy. Their flagship product, MPS Monitor Portal, is a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for MPS providers. It enables dealers to monitor and manage their entire fleet remotely, provide cost-per-page services, and automate their customer’s supply of consumables. The platform works with virtually every printer and MFP, regardless of manufacturer, and can scale to meet dealers’ needs as they change.
The platform uses a local data collection agent (DCA) to collect device data and read meters (via SNMP) which then transmits it to the cloud over HTTPS. The solution logs every event on every device, and can slice and dice all collected data into customized reports. MPS Monitor can be a set-it-and-forget-it solution for menial administrative tasks. For instance, it can be set to alert IT staff should a new device be discovered, consumables run low (and not just toner or paper) or if the device is due for maintenance soon.
Now, with MPS Monitor integrated with HP SDS technology, it can serve up all of the information, alerts, events, and remote actions in a single dashboard. Paired together, the two technologies complement each other quite nicely, and it looks like an effective tool to help dealers increase revenue.
How, you ask? Let’s explore.
With SDS and MPS Monitor, dealers and service providers will know exactly what’s wrong with a device — sometimes before their customers realize — and predict when parts will fail, so they can reduce downtime, dispatch technicians more effectively, and schedule maintenance more intelligently.
In the embedded SDS dashboard, dealers and service providers can access a device’s event log to inspect recent events, access detailed information on the error, and provide video-instructions and a list of parts that are required to fix a problem (instructions can be printed or emailed to techs). Some cases, like when a device needs to rebooted, have its firmware flashed, or be reconfigured, can be handled remotely, rather than by dispatching a tech.
The platform also keeps track of consumables, including their history, replacement levels and replacement dates, and can automate consumables replenishment. Dealers can output consumables reports. Dealers can turn off certain device notifications, such as low supplies messages, to prevent customers from prematurely replacing consumables. The platform is smart enough to detect whether or not customers are using genuine HP parts and to distinguish between when toner is being replaced, or when someone is taking it out to shake it up (to extend its life). And to ensure accurate billing, dealers and service providers can also locate devices that were disconnected from their DCA, or are flat out missing, and configure devices to display an “I’m lost” message on the control panel.
Ultimately, SDS is going to make it a lot easier for HP dealers and service providers to operate. And when it’s leveraged against a fleet management solution like MPS Monitor, it only gets easier. And as impressive as SDS 2.0 sounds — between predicting failures and automating customer's consumables supplies — improvements are on the way. According to HP, we can look forward to real-time operating adjustments, longer long-life consumables, simplified deployment and policy management functionality. Things are getting interesting.