Epson revamps Kenya product line to target schools, counties
Epson has today announced the launch of a new range of printers and projectors for the Kenyan market. The devices will reflect the company’s strategy in the country going forward. The launch comes amidst heavy demand in some sectors in the last few months, with a trend where firms are preferring printing as a managed service rather than just purchasing products.
Demand for projectors has been strong in the education sector, driven by the deployment of various e-learning initiatives in both private and government learning institutions. In the coming year, an increase in demand is expected to be driven by government initiatives in the education sector. Further uptake will come from private learning institutions who are looking to match peers who have already invested in these solutions.
This outlook reflects on a report given by International Data Corporation (IDC), a research, analysis and advisory firm, which expects government ICT investments in education to play a major role in spending in this sector over the long term.
Mukesh Bector, Regional Sales Manager, Epson East Africa, says, “When it comes to research and development, Epson has had a leading edge in both the imaging and printing space. In turn, this has resulted in Epson having a range of products that fit various needs. In the projector space, some schools have gone for ‘ultra-short-throw’ projectors, which can be mounted close to the projecting surface in not-so-large rooms. Others, especially the premium educations institutions, are preferring smart, interactive projectors, where learners can use their fingers to draw on the projected surface.”
A variety of products are also playing to Epson’s favour when it comes to the office space, whose requirements include small, portable projectors, bright projectors which do not require dimmed rooms, and wireless projectors which are easy to connect to in a multi-user environment.
In the printing space, Epson has seen tremendous success with its “Ink Tank System (ITS)” printers, which replace cartridges with external ink tanks. Such printers have been popular with small and medium enterprises due to their comparatively lower operational costs and their ease of maintenance.
“The inkjet market grew in both volume and value terms in 2014. This performance was mainly due to the devices’ comparatively low ink consumption and higher print outputs, “ says IDC.
Riding on this success, Epson is introducing the Workforce line of printers, with its sights set on large enterprises, government agencies and county governments. These printers will come with a large ink tank on each side, with the capacity of printing up to 75,000 pages when new, and with each refill. The move will see offices cutting down on costs of printing supplies and reducing common interruptions when printers run out of supplies in between a budgeting cycle.
“The Workforce line is going to take office printing to a whole new level. In addition to having printers that can run uninterrupted for a whole financial year, we are introducing the concept of managed printing services with our partners. Rather than outright purchasing a printer, buyers can pay a fixed amount every year to cover the cost of a functioning printer in their office. Our partners take care of any repairs and supplies, thus taking away the worry of high equipment costs and maintenance concerns from their clients, “said Mukesh.
IDC advises vendors to “shift from box pushing to offering print services to capture opportunity in managed IT services. Revenues from print services and document solutions are growing at a much faster pace than transactional business, which is becoming a very competitive and tough market.”
For SMEs, Epson is revamping its Ink Tank System with additional capabilities, including Wi-Fi direct. Wi-Fi enabled printers are able to cater for new requirements from non-traditional devices such as mobile phones. They are easier to set up and offer support of cloud printing capability when users are not in the physical vicinity of the printer.
The large format printer (LFP) segment in Kenya is also seeing(experiencing) growth, and with this, Epson has introduced a number of printers with the capability of handling large paper sizes in the range of A3 and above, as well as high colour output. Professionals driving demand here include architecture and planning, and an emerging urban photography market.
According to IDC, graphics-based large format printers in the market grew year on year in terms of market share. The market for large format devices will continue to grow in the country going forward driven by heavy investment in large infrastructural projects.