"And if you can get close to your customer and manage their output and print for them, there will be environmental benefits. We'd like to see some of our resellers taking it a step further and getting into carbon offsets," Lewis said.
Oki's printers also complied with international standards, including Energy Star, Harman said. The vendor has a recycling program overseas - but he couldn't say when one might start here.
Oki is also working to make printers with fewer parts. Smaller, better designed printers can be easier and cheaper to make, transport, store and recycle, he said.
Samsung IT solutions marketing manager, Anthony Toope, agreed protecting the environment was becoming important across all industries and IT sectors. The vendor is delivering RoHS compliant products, meaning six hazardous chemicals had been removed. "We have an environmental management committee. Our products conform to ISO14001, Energy Star and Blue Angel and we are a signatory to the National Packaging Covenant," he said.
Samsung is providing workflow solutions, mobile printing solutions and card-reading solutions to the channel to take advantage of growth in print sales, particularly at the high end. The vendor also offers demo product, applications and channel support and is planning a B2B program.
Toope sees print management solutions as an opportunity for resellers to offer different levels of service. So far, about 1000 customers' machines have been loaded with Samsung print management solutions. "Certainly the market is moving towards that now and is expecting a higher level of service," he said. "We introduced print management in August and probably have 60 active customers with resellers working with them on print management solutions now."
Office National managing director, Chris Wilcock, uses Samsung-provided print management solution, PrintSolv, in the reseller's 1000 printers. "We load this software patch on our customers' networking environment and it gives us total manageability of all print devices on that network," he said.
Wilcock claimed PrintSolv saves Offi ce National about 3-4 weeks of labour. "It streamlines the whole process. The readings drop into our ERP and automate ordering, invoicing and archiving," he said. "You can go to customers and report on their equipment; hopefully, improving margins and gaining sales."
HP's program of innovation for print solutions revolves around a concept called Print 2.0. Market development manager, Max Kaye, said printing must change the way photography has since the emergence of digital photography.
"Previously, we probably went out and bought albums. You needed to share the same experience with everybody. When we started to adopt digital photography, we could just share individual parts, the relevant parts, with people," Kaye said. "We use MySpace and FaceBook now, where people are maintaining a single repository then choosing to share different parts of that with different people. Print 2.0 is about doing that."
Kaye said print vendors wanted to make it easier to sift through all the information out there and separate out relevant content for specific users. HP's Smart Web lets users highlight Web information ready for printing, such as a graphic, a piece of text form, or a photo and just print that. The tool ships with some consumer printers and should roll out across its business portfolio within the year.
"CTRL+P isn't really the most reliable way of doing that [online]," Kaye said. "With this, you get a little message, 'it looks like you're trying to print from the Web', and it then gives you a number of options." HP plans a deployment toolkit this year as well, aimed at easing deployment of print solutions in the enterprise.
The vendor is also working with Web developers to give them access to code that, embedded in websites, will offer smart printing capability without the need for the user to install an additional application, Kaye said. "For enterprises and corporations, if you can help them extract information from the Internet and things more easily, we think it will encourage people to use more SharePoint, portals and intranets and so on," he said.
Like other vendors, HP's print management solution has close ties to its environmental friendliness. Its 1992 Design for Environment (DFE) program helped it get rid of many hazardous materials in its devices and packaging, Kaye said.
HP has also developed a new spherical monotone toner that takes up less room. Across Asia-Pacific, it has already saved about 1.7 million kg on freight, and 80,000 litres on petrol. HP had just announced its own carbon offset program at the time of writing, he said.
"We have started to make sure that all the metals are collected up after to be dismantled," Kaye said. "Our printers comply with the RoHS directive, BlueAngel, EnergyStar and others."
Kaye flagged "endless" opportunities for additional consulting work for the channel, not only in rollouts and deployments.
"It's about reviewing people's print environments and making different offerings. Not even saying, 'replace all your old ones to get it five per cent faster and two per cent cheaper', but actually providing ways for them to work better with what they have," he said.