“The Need for Printing Will Always Remain,” says Epson SA Country Manager

Timothy Thomas, Country Manager, Epson South Africa.

A report published by the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) titled State of the intelligent information management industry 2021shows that organisations are expecting the volume of unstructured information flowing into their businesses to increase by 4.5 times over the next two years.

Other research conducted in 2020 found 56% of workers are still printing and 50% still scanning, despite over 60% not having printers or scanners at home.

This then presents twin challenges for employees, who have to securely manage hard copy documents and then also make it easy to share the documents across remote or hybrid working environments, simultaneously.

Tech powerhouses like Adobe and Microsoft have instead decided to focus on automation on the cloud to phase out paper-based processes for businesses, but Timothy Wilson, Country Manager of Epson SA says that printing paper is still as viable today as ever.

ITNA’s Luis Monzon had a chance to reach out and chat with Timothy about Epson’s insights into making and selling printers during a time where work has been changed forever, as well as why and how Epson has diversified into providing Pro AV solutions to South Africa’s education sector.

Here’s what transpired:

  • Epson is an electronics company that, by reputation, is focused on the manufacture of printers for both personal and enterprise use – how was the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shift into remote and hybrid work affected Epson’s business when it comes to the products it manufactures?

Epson has seen a significant increase in our ink tank home printing solutions during this period, which give customers a more affordable alternative to expensive ink cartridges or laser printing solutions.

By getting three years worth of ink in the box, home users can enjoy hassle-free printing and get up to 6,500 pages without the worry of replacing their ink.

South African consumers have always understood true value propositions and continue to adopt this new technology at a rapid pace.

  • Does Epson foresee a time when people will move away from paper and paper-based processes as digital transformation takes further hold?

The way customers consume their information, whether on paper or digitally, continues to change.

Trends in more developed markets show how printing is starting to rebound, especially as the cost of printing paper using new technologies continues to drop significantly.

The need for printing will always remain. That’s why our focus is on providing consumers with solutions that provide cost-effective options that support the need for environmentally friendly solutions and the reduction of waste associated with laser and ink cartridge technologies.

  • Has Epson decided to renew its focus in the Pro AV projector market because of the shift into remote work?

Epson had to shift its Pro AV display product focus since the live entertainment market fell flat due to COVID-19.

We were able to hold our position as a market leader in this space by switching to the high-end large venue education market and retail signage market, which allowed us to maintain good volume numbers and overall high-end projector space market share.

The education market still makes up two-thirds of our total projection market, so focusing on our large range offering of high-end projection products in this space has added value to our resellers and end-users.

The signage market is a new focus for us and allows us to offer a product set/line up that no other projector manufacturer can match or compete with.

These products go up against traditional flat-panel signage displays, allowing customers to design more engaging signage applications in any environment by using the objects advertised as part of the actual advertisement by projecting imagery onto them.

This creates a kind of “phydigital” experience by bridging the gap between a physical and a digital experience.

  • How is Epson trying to distinguish its projectors from competitors?

Compared to other projectors, Epson’s range has a unique broad line-up, unique technology patented by Epson, and an R&D (Research & Development) team that stays ahead of the curve when upgrading existing products or releasing new ones.

Firstly, Epson’s unique 3LCD system, which gives the product true CLO (colour light output, white light output measured in ANSI Lumens same as Colour light output), produces accurate and vivid colours. This systems’ image brightness is extremely accurate, allowing the projectors to be used in many ambient or well-lit venues without the need for darkening venues or closing blinds etc.

This unique technology has also kept us in the driving seat and has allowed us to retain the number one spot as a global projector brand since 2001. The range also has many different lens options and throw ratios, from XGA to WUXGA and 4k enhanced resolutions.

We are extremely proud of our market position locally in South Africa and globally. The product quality speaks for itself and we hope to continue on our growth path and be able to use projection in many more applications as we continue to grow.  

By Luis Monzon
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