Q&A With Terry Antinora, Head of Product and Engineering at Xerox

Q: What are some of the current trends you are seeing in office print, and how is Xerox adapting to them?

Artificial Intelligence and generative AI are increasingly becoming a feature of all technology companies. In print, the ability to generate improved structure, color, and even content is an active area of research. 

Cybersecurity threats are on the rise necessitating the need to protect data, documents, and devices. With document security an increasing issue, integrated electronic security is a growing market as once a document transitions to print it is more difficult to track and control.  

The shift from paper to digital and business-critical workflows and processes that comprise both continue. This includes the movement of key IT solutions into the cloud. Cloud native IT solutions will be a dominant force in large-scale application deployment and hybrid cloud is likely to be a key technology. For example, high-volume image processing in the cloud can be cost-prohibitive, while blending that with co-location or a regional data center to reduce costs is an increasingly popular strategy. The key is to use assets at a high level of capacity and overflow into the cloud to handle peaks of demand. 

As remote and hybrid working continues to be prevalent, businesses are downsizing office sizes as fewer employees are in the office regularly. Employees have an increasing need to optimize time in the office and desire enhancements to their home offices by having access to the same technology they use in the office. Our clients are also facing increased pressure to reach sustainability targets and goals.

As our clients face an ever-evolving technology landscape, we remain laser-focused on delivering solutions that support their digital transformation and increase productivity. We are actively addressing these trends by providing comprehensive workplace solutions including digital services, advanced automation and AI solutions in addition to our print technology. We continue to enhance security by adopting a Zero Trust approach, embracing cloud technology with a cloud-first model, and supporting sustainable practices. 

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the office print channel today?

Creating value between digital and physical. The better information can transition from digital to physical and back to digital, the more relevant physical documents are. In addition, designing documents for higher value or longer life is critical. When I started in this business it wasn’t uncommon for people to print out their e-mail. That is the ultimate low-value short-life application. Print today must be high-value, impactful and long-lived.

Technology and Innovations

Q: Can you discuss the latest technological advancements in Xerox printers? 

Xerox continues to expand its lead as best-in-class security for our office printers using a Zero Trust approach to prevent unauthorized use and protect data and documents. In addition, we are increasing the capabilities of our ConnectKey-enabled printers and the supporting cloud applications. Applications like Xerox Workplace Cloud (XWC) and our Cloud Fleet Management (CFM) platforms take the advanced security of individual devices and leverage it over all devices in an organization.  We can ensure coherent application of policies across all devices giving organizations confidence in the security of their printer fleets. Today’s printers are not about the power of the device, as formidable as it is, but the power of the cloud applications that support seamless workflow from digital to physical and back again.

Q: What role does AI and machine learning play in Xerox’s printing solutions?

Xerox is focused on creating AI-powered solutions to enhance productivity, improve decision-making, and drive innovation across various industries and sectors to empower clients and partners with essential products and services. You can see examples across our entire product line. In the Production space, Predictive AI for Print is improving efficiency by proactively flagging potential equipment issues and anticipating preventative maintenance. Xerox® PredictPrint Media Manager Software automatically optimizes print quality for any stock. In office print, our range of ConnectKey Apps uses AI to simplify and automate tasks such as translations, redaction, summarization, intelligent filing, and converting handwritten notes into digital files. And there will be more to come.  

In our digital services businesses, Xerox is developing applications that use AI to automatically extract data from documents to significantly reduce manual effort in organizations to process insurance forms, invoices, and other documents.   

Q: Can you explain the environmental and sustainability initiatives Xerox is implementing in its printing processes?

Over the years, we have cut the power consumption of our laser-based printing products by adjusting the fuser design, changing properties in our toner, developing more efficient electronic controls, and improving the performance of electrophotography. We aim for office products to be 25-30% below ENERGY STAR energy consumption limits and are currently beating that average.  

Generally, Xerox Printers and Multifunction Printers are designed with energy conservation features such as duplex, N-up printing, energy savings modes, high-yield cartridges, and smart print drivers. All office devices are designed per strict sustainability criteria and to meet ENERGY STAR, EPEAT, and Blue Angel standards, where applicable. 

Within the past twelve months, we have set an internal target to quantify the environmental impacts of all new products brought to market.  We currently have lifecycle assessments for 79% of the products in our portfolio, up from 74% last year and 63% the previous year.  In addition, we set a goal for new products to have a minimum post-consumer recycled plastic.  We achieved this on all office products launched in 2023 and met the existing goal of all eligible products being certified to ENERGY STAR and EPEAT. 

We have global returns programs for equipment and supplies to enable products to be responsibly managed at the end of life.  More than 98% of equipment and 93% of supplies returned were either remanufactured, reused, or recycled in 2022.  Since 2009, Xerox has diverted more than 590 thousand metric tons of returned equipment, parts, and supplies from landfills by remanufacturing, reusing, or recycling. The 2023 progress summary is not yet available, but it can be seen from the 2022 environmental progress summary and previous years, that we have repeatedly demonstrated significant achievement towards our corporate goals.

Future Outlook

Q: What innovations or developments can we expect from Xerox in the next 5-10 years in the office tech channel?

Xerox will be simplifying its core print business to align with the workplace of today and tomorrow. Clients are grappling with the evolving needs of a distributed workforce, and they are advancing their digital transformation journey, which has never been more important than today. You can expect to see some innovative steps forward from Xerox. 

 We will continue to add new AI-driven enhancements to our workflow automation solutions and services such as software and robotic process automation to help our clients automate routine tasks and securely manage information capture more effectively. We are now building up a vast library of process automation applications available to our direct clients and channel partners.

In addition, we are putting an even greater focus on our emerging digital and IT services capabilities to help clients with unstructured data, documents, and workflow automation, which Xerox has been doing for years. The goal is to launch more channel-ready offerings in this space. We can help our partners move upstream into digital services, which is new revenue for them and greater value for their clients. 

 Personal Experience

Q: Can you share some of the most rewarding projects you’ve worked on at Xerox?

Working at Xerox allowed me the opportunity to be part of many innovative and rewarding projects. I enjoy solving problems, creating value, and delivering solutions that meet our clients’ needs. By far the most rewarding projects are when I get to work directly with the client, understand their challenges, and help them achieve their goals with Xerox technology. 

To share one recent technology project, I enjoyed being involved in the development and delivery of the Xerox Adaptive CMYK+ kit. The Xerox Adaptive CMYK+ kit was born from an incredibly innovative selling partner of ours in Italy.  It was a brilliant idea that required some investment, collaboration, and a bit of Xerox engineering horsepower to commercialize.  The result was a breakthrough in digital printing that allows users of existing Xerox Versant® or PrimeLink® four-color devices to quickly convert the machine and enhance their print output with embellishments like metallic, white, clear, or fluorescent colors.  It was a great example of innovative thinking, strong collaboration, and vision, that resulted in the creation of a new value proposition and business opportunity for our clients.

Q: How has your role evolved over the years with the advancements in Xerox’s printing technology?

One of the most notable changes I have experienced in my role is the pace and rate of change in our industry.  This has driven the need to rapidly adapt to the changing environment, respond to macro trends, and deliver against new and evolving expectations of our clients and partners.  Not only has my role evolved but our entire operating model as a company has had to evolve and adapt to these changes.  This has led to our Reinvention.  Reinvention is an opportunity to define the future of our company, tear apart systems and processes, and rebuild it to ensure we remain a leader for the next 100 years. It involves every employee, every function, and every level of the organization.  It is not just a project, it is a mindset, a culture, and a vision. Reinvention is a fundamental and structural redesign that will reposition our company for long-term, profitable, and sustainable growth.

Q: What are you most excited about right now in the office tech channel? 

Honestly, I am most excited about the rate of change in our industry. The pace of change is intense, but extremely exciting and I enjoy being part of the evolution of our industry at a company that is embracing the realities of the market and willing to make bold decisions. 

As for technology in the office tech channel, I am excited about the emergence of new applications and use cases for Xerox print, imaging, and document processing capabilities that can leverage technologies like AI, augmented reality and cloud platforms. These technologies will transform industries and sectors like healthcare, education, and legal, and create new value propositions and competitive advantages for Xerox and its clients.  

I am also excited about the expansion and adoption of our ConnectKey®  platform by our channel partners, who continue to create and distribute custom apps and workflows for Xerox devices. This creates a vibrant and dynamic community of innovators and problem-solvers, who can address the specific needs and challenges of their clients. The bonus is it allows my team to tap into the insights and feedback of our partners and developers, and continuously improve our platform and offerings.

Production Print

Q: How has the demand for production printing changed in recent years, and what factors are driving these changes? 

The demand for production printing has seen notable changes in recent years, such as shorter run lengths but a higher number of jobs, a shift in client expectations for higher quality output in less time, and the desire to stand out from the crowd by improving the impact of printed pieces. Several key factors are at play:

  • The shift to digital printing has been significant due to its ability to handle short runs, variable and relevant data printing, timely communication, and in-line finishing options.
  • Supply chain challenges have led to increased costs, reduced availability of materials such as paper, and tight labor conditions.
  • Innovations in printing technology, such as high-quality digital presses, have fueled market growth by meeting the demand for high-quality and efficient printing.
  • Initiatives to reduce environmental impact: The printing industry has increasingly focused on sustainability, with many businesses implementing practices that aim to reduce their impact on the environment.

Q: What types of businesses or industries benefit most from Xerox production printers?

Xerox production printers empower businesses across diverse sectors, enhancing productivity, quality, and versatility and benefit Print Service Providers (PSPs), quick printers, marketing agencies, publishers, and document-intensive industries such as education, legal, insurance, government, and healthcare. 

Q: Can you highlight some key features of Xerox’s flagship production printers?

Our expanded ecosystem includes highly differentiated offerings that will make it even easier for clients to overcome market challenges. Our production presses offer next-level automation, reducing the need for highly skilled operators and enabling anyone to print like a pro. Features include EZ Press Check Technology and Xerox PredictPrint Media Manager Software to automate the process of perfecting image quality for each stock, accelerating baselining, profiling, and calibration to achieve more sellable output more quickly. In addition, they improve operator and press productivity by replacing lengthy manual procedures for press setup. 

Fleet Management Solutions offer instant integration with predictive press analytics solutions, providing access to essential press data that helps fine-tune performance and maximize return on investment across devices and fleets. Our new exclusive Easy Vitals dashboard provides at-a-glance, “all systems go” assurance that the press is ready to produce high-quality output ­— right from the Fiery Print Server. Xerox FreeFlow® Vision Software and Xerox FreeFlow Vision Connect Software help PSPs decrease costs and increase efficiency by providing automated, real-time views of critical operational data, providing key insights that improve operational efficiency and productivity. 

Additionally, our production presses help clients accelerate growth and jump-start powerful competitive differentiation by going Beyond CMYK. Thanks to Xerox’s Color FLX Technology, the Xerox Iridesse® Production Press can run 6 colors inline (CMYK + two Specialty Colors including Gold, Silver, White, Clear, and Fluorescent Pink) while maintaining “Spot On” registration at a rated speed of 120ppm. This unique configuration allows gold or silver to be placed under CMYK to create unique iridescent mixed metallic palettes and spot effects.   

Q: How does Xerox differentiate its production printers from competitors in terms of technology and features?

One of our top strategic priorities is long-term client success. This includes bringing innovative and differentiated solutions wrapped around best-in-class print hardware in an unmatched end-to-end production ecosystem to deliver increased productivity and improved profitability. The Xerox Production Ecosystem includes five elements: productivity, workflow automation, AI-driven service delivery, data security, and reducing environmental impact. Using our suite of Xerox FreeFlow Workflow Software, Predictive AI Pro, and XMPie®, clients can achieve greater productivity and competitiveness across pre-press to finishing, maximizing the value of their investment. 

In addition, Xerox leads the industry with our Beyond CMYK In-Line Embellishments – the broadest capabilities in the market – enabling print providers to capture new business with applications that help their customers stand out from the crowd and in turn drive more revenue and profit. The award-winning Xerox Genesis Initiative, an exclusive business development program, ensures that designers and Print Service Providers are equipped with the tools to design, market, price, and sell beyond CMYK applications.

These differentiators provide dealers a great opportunity to capture new business in the print production market as clients look to improve efficiency, lower costs and optimize profitability, all while creating stunning output. New innovative technologies in automation and workflows help eliminate costly manual touchpoints, and specialized inks and media help clients stand out from the competition.

Q: What investments is Xerox making in R&D to stay ahead in the production printing market?

Xerox is putting a greater focus on our innovative technology in workflow automation, intelligent assistant services, and personalization including our suite of Xerox FreeFlow Workflow Software, Predictive AI Pro, and XMPie. These tools paired with our end-to-end approach to productivity — pre-press, on press, and finishing enable us to deliver more value to our clients, making them more successful, productive, and competitive.