In 2023 we saw an increasingly decentralized workplace between home offices, small business, enterprise organizations, and shared co-working spaces. Identifying the right products that can be managed from multiple locations has been a challenge. As we look towards 2024, these office technology resources must continue evolving to support employees who work from any place, with whatever is available to reduce business disruption.
Yes, in the coming year, office technology will handle an ecosystem that includes more than office space, redefining the vendors that can provide that securely and efficiently. Different companies have different needs in the printing arena, one being fluctuating print volumes. It will likely be a year of unprecedented changes in customer behaviors for many reasons, including the impact of generative AI, new social demands, acceleration of policies, and renewed governance to secure reliable and timely data. Now, channel partners must stay vigilant and foster a strong message of adaptability and agility across every layer of their organization.
Generative AI continues to rapidly pave the way for innovation and more people are turning to AI tools for help – and the printing and imaging industry is no exception. AI allows dealers to rely more on user feedback and can detect problems using predictive analytics that the human eye may not be able to catch. However, with improved technology protocols like AI being used on a more regular basis, this raises the risk for new cyberattacks. As such, we will see the increased need for dealers and consumers to look for triple layer security measures within their hardware and MFPs to help protect devices, documents, and networks. Taking this approach will help mitigate potential issues in real-time, such as when a print system may go down as part of an attack, which can result in major downtime and business losses.
Next year, another key market opportunity is leaning into decentralization. Any business that requires a decentralized footprint means that devices in the field can communicate and transfer secure data from remote locations. Companies will prefer products and solutions with predictive tools to improve IT and procurement protocols. From a product perspective, we see a need for high-capacity scanners to combat the acceleration in the digitalization of documents. Tools such as generative AI will path the route for more innovation at a very rapid pace in verticals such as education, finance, retail and logistics, and there is a need for cloud solutions to increase workflow productivity.
Ultimately, 2024 will be a year of ongoing evolution of the hybrid and distributed model of working that has become standard this decade. Because of this evolution, the office imaging industry needs to continue relying on trusted and loyal advisors that liaise with channel partners to better support office and hybrid work environments with relevant products and programs. Doing so will help sustain a decentralized business model that is based on relationships and networking to provide a more secure, flexible way to meet office employees where they are—whether that is in the office, a hybrid environment, or in the home.