In February, Epson announced several new products and services, including large-format scanners, Workforce Pro models and a cloud-based service providing a fleet management platform for Epson dealers.

New large-format document scanners

On Feb. 11, Epson announced the introduction of two new large-format document scanners, the DS-32000 and DS-30000, that provide vertical feeding of A3 documents making them more compact and versatile than traditional flatbed A3 document scanners. Targeted for use as desktop A3 scanners they make it easier for users in high volume scan environments to take on projects from their workspaces.

These two new models in the Epson scanner family look to be a versatile, productive, and compact alternative to larger footprint A3 flatbed scanners. Instead of going to the mailroom for scanning of larger than legal-size documents, employees can use the DS-32000 or DS-30000 as desktop scanners located in their workspace saving time and being more productive for the enterprise.

Workforce Pro WF-C879R and WF-C878R

On Feb. 19, Epson released the A3 format Workforce Pro WF-C878R and WF-C879R multifunction printers (MFP) for large workgroup use. Both devices are eight inches slimmer in width than the current WF-C869R, which they replace, due to moving the ink supply system from the sides of the printer and integrating it into the main body. The replaceable ink pack system delivers up to 50,000 color pages and 86,000 black pages, with Epson noting these high yields mean fewer interventions. By using their PrecisionCore Heat-Free Technology Epson claims these printers help conserve energy with the lowest power consumption in their class and offer the lowest total printing costs in their class.

Our take

Slightly expanding Epson’s business printing selections, the Workforce Pro WF-C879R and WF-C878R fit between the A4 WorkForce Pro WF-C5790 and WF-M5799 supertank MFPs, and the three A3 Workforce Enterprise MFPs, the WF-C17590 and WF-C20590/M20590. With clear price points and performance choices of below $1,000 MSRP for the A4 models, $5,000 to $10,000 MSRP for these new Workforce Pro models, and $27,000+ for the Workforce Enterprise models, Epson provides simple choices for customers looking to move into business inkjet. Replacing traditional A3 toner-based business MFPs with inkjet will continue to present challenges of acceptance.  However, with these new Epson models, dealers may find that transition, as well as the servicing of inkjet, easier and more profitable.

Epson Remote Services (ERS)

The newly announced Epson Remote Services is a cloud-based remote monitoring service tool that works with Epson devices to help dealers remotely monitor and manage their fleet of Epson devices more efficiently while reducing costs. Epson also states that ERS is a platform that lays a foundation for future services.

Through a customizable data collection agent and dashboard an Epson dealer can:

  • Track device status and receive alerts/notifications for advance diagnostic capability
  • Monitor supplies and replaceable parts
  • Remotely control maintenance functions such as rebooting the device or cleaning the printhead
  • Easily register an Epson device or multiple devices through batch registration
  • Control access with a specified range of IP addresses
  • Remotely add, change or delete device users or change usage permissions
  • Schedule and receive usage reports
  • Access devices connected via USB
  • Manage customers by adding, editing or deleting allowing the downloading of agent programs

Epson’s primary target for the use of ERS is their BusinessFirst Platinum Partners.

Our take on ERS

Much like its competitors’, Epson’s ERS is specific only to its universe, monitoring and managing only Epson print devices, making it one more tool to manage in a dealership that has multiple MFP lines. Based on information provided to us, ERS does not provide remote firmware update capability (as most other remote management services do), predictive supplies replenishment and parts replacement (yet to be fully realized on any of the current OEM remote management services) or full integration into dealership ERP systems, although data from ERS can be downloaded as a CSV file and then imported into those systems.

ERS will likely be welcomed by Epson dealers, although in its current form it may not create a strong catalyst to move a dealer to sell and service Epson business inkjet MFPs. However, Epson will most likely move quickly to improve ERS, and their strategy of making ERS the foundation for future services is intriguing. It could mean more and different cloud-based solutions that aren’t reliant on printing on paper.

Thomas O’Neill, an analyst for BPO Media, is a 35+ year marketing and product strategy professional in the enterprise imaging and print industry. Beginning with positions in sales and training management, for the past 24 years he’s held director and manager positions at Canon, Océ, Lexmark and Minolta. He has extensive experience in hardware and software product marketing, strategic product planning and sourcing, solution sales, marketing content creation and strategies, branding strategy and vertical marketing strategies. Contact him at