Toshiba TEC has launched twelve new mid-range A3 MFPs and plans to add a further seven high-end models in the coming months. PrintIT Reseller spoke with Chris Mills, Toshiba’s Marketing Manager – Indirect Channel, to find out more about the innovative e-BRIDGE Next controller which is at the heart of the new devices, and the value-add to the channel
Toshiba officially announced the launch of the new models to 100 partners at an event in Dusseldorf and has since had over 200
dealer sales partners visit its showrooms nationwide to be briefed on the devices’ functionality and the latest solutions. The new MFPs have also been showcased at a number of other channel-only events including the most recent Business Forum, which took place at The Belfry in June.
“We have proactively promoted this launch to our partners and it’s been really well received,” Mills explained. “In fact I would say that this is the most positively received product line-up we’ve had in my 15 years at Toshiba.”
The e-BRIDGE Next controller, a technology that enhances the administration and integration into end-users’ IT infrastructure and simplifies even the most complex tasks, has been developed from scratch. “There is a growing demand for customisable multifunctional printing systems that are easy to integrate with business workflows and this latest development is based on what we believe will deliver the best user experience,” he added.
The new multifunctional printing systems have been designed from the outset with versatility and ease of use in mind. “We have also developed them to be set-up quicker than our earlier models,” Mills said. “And, a number of universal options means that it takes less time to train engineers and bring them up to speed on servicing the devices, which is a plus for our partners.”
All of the new models feature a 9-inch colour tablet-style user interface that offers instant access to all functions and intuitive operation. “Operating the devices is just like using a smartphone or tablet and the UI can be fully customised, not just the look of the screen, but also the features and functions that individual users want to see,” he explained.
The interface can be easily customised to suit preferences and working requirements at individual user level. “When they log in, individual users and departments can personalise the home screen and keep it as simple as they want,” said Mills, adding:
“They can change the background image and even add a company logo or corporate branding. Users can personalise views, change the order of the icons on the home screen, add or remove buttons and decide how many or few icons are displayed per page as well as create shortcuts for any document workflow process – all at a single tap of an icon. It’s been designed so that all functions present themselves to individual users in the most useful way for them.”
Ease of operation is also an integral part of the newly designed MFPs. As with mobile devices, users can swipe through the menu and also pinch and zoom into documents in the real-time preview. The most common features such as copy and scan are available on one screen for faster execution, Toshiba calls this the simple view, for more complex jobs, the advanced view enables settings to be adjusted and more sophisticated document workflows to be carried out.
Another useful new addition is the Dual Scan Document Feeder, which is available for models in the e-STUDIO5008A series and the e-STUDIO5005AC series. This industry-leading document feeder has an exceptionally large capacity of 300 sheets and allows double-sided scanning at an impressive speed of up to 240 impressions per minute.
According to Mills, one major benefit for resellers is the e-BRIDGE CloudConnect software solution, that is available free of charge to Toshiba partners. This cloud-based service enables channel partners to remotely monitor devices and automatically schedule in firmware upgrades. “Previously, partners would have to send an engineer out to physically upload a firmware upgrade onto each device, but with e-BRIDGE CloudConnect, they can automatically schedule it in to happen overnight,” he said.
He added: “This innovative concept provides peace of mind for dealers who can rest safe in the knowledge that they can keep machines up to date with the latest firmware, as well as freeing up time for in the field engineers to focus on carrying out other maintenance which require their presence onsite. And for the end-user, the process is a lot less intrusive, in almost every case they won’t even be aware that an upgrade has taken place and as it’s wholly automated, it means they are not faced with having to work around a device that’s out of action while an engineer carries out the upgrade.”
This cloud-based tool also provides the ability to remotely monitor, configure and service machines in the field. The e-BRIDGE CloudConnect allows Toshiba MFPs to connect to a cloud service and automatically communicate with the application to avoid downtime.
Based on pre-defined policies, the MFP notifies e-BRIDGE CloudConnect and requests troubleshooting. This way most issues can be resolved remotely. And if on-site servicing is required, the technician knows exactly what has to be done and which parts are needed. Supplies replenishment is also automated, the MFP triggers an automatic delivery to ensure the right supplies are available at the right time, all of which adds up to time and cost savings.
“This will reduce the number of service calls from customers and on-site visits that engineers need to make, and provide dealers with the ability to proactively fix a fault, before the customer has reported it,” Mills said.
Cloud and mobile
All e-BRIDGE Next devices support cloud and mobile printing. e-BRIDGE Plus connectors for Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox provide direct access to cloud services and enable documents to be sent to or printed from the users’ service of choice or via the MFP. In addition to cloud functionality, all devices can easily connect to mobile devices, supporting AirPrint, Google Cloud Print or the Mopria Print Service.
“This new cloud connectivity and availability of a number of free to download apps is another value-add for our dealers,” said Mills.
A single optional module for both wireless LAN and Bluetooth allows fast and easy transmission of data from mobile devices to the system by supporting peer-to-peer communication. Additionally, the Wi-Fi-direct function is enhanced when used in combination with Toshiba’s e-BRIDGE Print & Capture app. Once downloaded from the app store, users can print and scan to a mobile device.
The optional multi-station print feature allows individuals to decide where they want to print within the network, without the need for a server.
Security as standard
Toshiba’s security measures address access security, document security and device security. Various authentication features provide full control over who has access to documents and devices, ensuring that business-critical data remains confidential and secure.
The e-BRIDGE Next systems support the use of card readers, users can authenticate themselves at the device by swiping an ID card or alternatively, individual passwords or pin numbers can be set up.
The Toshiba Secure HDD is built in as standard, it works with a 256-bit AES encryption in real-time and stores the encryption key on the HDD itself. Furthermore, the HDD knows which device it has been built into and will only share information stored with this device after an authentication process. If the HDD is removed and connected to another MFP or PC, the encryption key will be deleted automatically.
A greener future
Toshiba TEC’s on-going commitment to create a greener future is reflected in the design and development of the new printing solutions. Lower energy consumption and advanced energy save functions are key benefits.
The systems comply with leading environmental programmes and standards such as ENERGY STAR and Blue Angel and additionally, all devices in the new range are delivered carbon neutral as part of Toshiba’s Carbon Zero Scheme.
Launched in 2009, the initiative helps end-users to reduce their environmental impact by offsetting all the carbon generated from manufacturing to customer delivery.
Carbon offsetting allows for the investment in projects that save the emission of, or absorb an equivalent amount of CO2 to that of any Toshiba product’s footprint.
Through this process, emissions are balanced to become ‘Carbon Zero’ which allows for positive business activities with no detrimental effect to the environment.
Up until the end of December last year, Toshiba TEC UK has offset 92,069 tonnes of CO2 emissions, which equates to the equivalent of 66,716 transatlantic flights, lighting 1,438,578 energy saving light bulbs for an entire year, powering 11,803 homes with electricity for one year or taking the train from London to Edinburgh and back 1,534,483 times.
“We will also shortly launch an online impact report resource that will enable dealers proposing a fleet to produce a summary for customers that details the CO2 reduction and CSR benefits for that specific deal,” Mills said. “We see this as an additional value-added resource that will support our partners in winning new business,” he concluded.