Big Xerox launch billed to transform the workplace

NEW YORK – Xerox has been promoting the release of its VersaLink and AltaLink line of multi-function printers as its biggest announcement in 110 years. With 29 new MFPs in both lines, it is certainly the company’s largest product announcement in its history.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based company officially separated at the beginning of the year and is positioning VersaLink and AltaLink as intelligent, connected workplace assistants as opposed to multi-function printers. The VersaLink consist of 19 products with personalized workflow apps available through one-touch access on the machine or from the cloud. The AltaLink features 10 products and is targeted for larger workgroups who demand colour. The AltaLink includes multi-layered security provided by McAfee .

One example Xerox presented was of a hat shop using the VersaLink MFP with a 10-inch tablet display to produce a new advertising campaign sent remotely via WiFi Direct to be printed and shared with their target markets. Also, a solution provider developed a solution featuring Amazon Alexa with the VersaLink and AltaLink so that users can verbally demand the MFP to produce five copies or order some toner. But the Alexa app informs the user not to bother because toner levels are OK.

Xerox has also made the smart, connected workplace assistant available on all 29 machines through the touch-enabled tablet screen no matter the cost. The entry-level price for a VersaLink is $700.

A look at Xerox’s new ConnectKey interface.

The underlining strategy of the Xerox VersaLink and AltaLink is to connect the physical and digital worlds easily. Another example is automating the process for a physically printed page to be transmitted online in 35 different languages to seven continents.

At the heart of the VersaLink and AltaLink is ConnectKey that transform the MFP into a smart workplace assistant. ConnectKey helps users connect to any other ConnectKey-enabled devices.

ConnectKey has been upgraded to include a new user interface that is mobile and cloud ready. It has increased security and can be used as a gateway to new possibilities for customizing apps and solutions through channel partners. “This is how we are different,” said Tracey Koziol, Xerox, senior vice president of workplace solutions.

Evan Hardie, hardcopy peripherals research manager at IDC Canada, said this launch of 29 devices that share a similar customizable interface will help strengthen Xerox’s Canadian share position overall and most definitely in the A4 market.

“The ability for dealers to create custom apps and workflows for their customers is an exciting addition that will help to create stickiness with their clients,” Hardie said.

The new machines will have an app store called the App Gallery and comes with Google Drive, Box and DropBox along with management through Office 365.

The potential is with channel partners helping to extend the market reach for Xerox specifically in the SMB, Koziol said.

In addition to working in a wired fashion or through WiFi or WiFi Direct and cloud, Xerox has future proofed these 29 systems with NFC. So, when an organization moves pass key card authentication they can transition to NFC on an Android smartphone.

Xerox also touted the streamlined business process of its App Gallery, an off-the-shelf set of apps that come standard on both the VersaLink and the AltaLink. These apps can create new workflows specific to a large enterprise business or an SMB company. An example of this is a retailer invoicing app or a real estate contract management app.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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