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Sharp Europe MFP and Print Predictions 2020: IoT, AI & The Environment

MFP and print face many changes in the upcoming decade, from IoT and AI adoption, to handling environmental changes. Here, Jason Cort, Director of Product Planning and Marketing, looks at how document printing solutions are set to face the changes throughout 2020 and beyond.

Trends and challenges to the print industry come in many shapes and forms, and what may have seemed less of a priority last year, may well appear more so this.

The environment is one such topic. How businesses of all sizes handle the imminent climate crisis is a trend that has quickly risen up the top of all our agendas. From reducing carbon footprints to instigating innovative recycling programmes, we all must play our part.

Elsewhere, ‘Digital Transformation’ as a concept is nothing new, but for the print services industry how we adapt and adopt IoT and AI is still very much a trend for 2020 and beyond.

READ: Sharp Europe MFP and Print Predications 2020: Cybersecurity & Cloud

Here we take a look at two more print solution trends for 2020:


Environmental Concerns are on the Rise

One of the major trends we have seen go mainstream this year is that of the environment. 2019 has been a big year for environmental awareness and accountability and it is clear that this movement will really gain momentum in 2020. So much so, that Climate Strike has been named 2019 word of the year by Collins Dictionary.

As environmental issues become even more prominent, every industry’s environmental policies will be subject to change. Organisational and cultural change takes time in the corporate world, though as suppliers we must think one step ahead about what our clients will require from us.

The print industry must consider the EU’s legislative approach and how we can contribute to an organisation’s environmental objectives, such as the Circular Economy approach to product design, which involves the use of recycled materials for manufacturing and the reuse and collection of consumables.

However, this kind of change needs to be made at the beginning of a product’s life-cycle, not as an afterthought. Furthermore, as the number of Millennials and Generation Z represent an ever increasing proportion of the work force, purchasing from environmentally and socially responsible businesses carries greater weight.  This requires both operational and cultural change for suppliers, which takes time to become truly embedded.


Future Technologies Will Centre Around IoT

5G is a big buzzword at the moment in every sector. While businesses and the public speculate on the future applications for 5G, the real conversation for printing has not yet started. Although 5G connectivity will be available as a consumer standard by 2020, it is a complicated and long road before we see adoption of any significance in print.

We expect that 5G could eventually replace fixed line broadband, guaranteeing offices access to faster and more secure connections – but any impact on print will not be felt for a few years yet.

Where Enterprise and SMBs are starting to see an impact – and one which will only grow over the coming five to 10 years – is that of IoT. The Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have stepped away from simply being buzzwords and are having a genuine impact in the digital transformation of many businesses. Where we will see growth initially is in the Managed Print Services area. Such providers have a wealth of experience providing cost-effective and tailored solutions, and IoT is one area we expect to see continued growth.

If you would like to know more about how Sharp is helping drive innovation in the document solutions market, Get In Touch


European PR Manager