BUSINESS

HP snaps up outsourcing opportunities with intelligent products

BANGALORE OCT. 3. Outsourcing is no longer relevant to the software services sector alone. In regions like Singapore and Korea, small and medium-sized enterprises outsource their business utility requirements such as scanning and printing to `hotspots' (similar to business centres where services like fax/copy/print/scan are available on cost basis). While universities and SMEs avail of these services for as little as $20 a month on a cost-per-page basis, large companies outsource these services en masse to vendors. And HP with its multi-functional products is geared to `explore the huge opportunities offered by this new segment.'

"The concept of outsourcing requirements such as printing, scanning and faxing is fast catching on. In regions like Australia, the U.S. and parts of Europe large companies have begun to outsource these services to HP. In India it will take some time for this concept to take off eventhough hotspots are already present here. HP is better poised to explore this opportunity due to its multi-functional products and technology-laced products like the Bluetooth-enabled portable colour printer and photosmart printer,'' Han-Kong Leong, Marketing Director, IPG, Hewlett-Packard Asia Pacific, told The Hindu.

Speaking on the sidelines of the HP Press Symposium held in Rishikesh recently, Mr. Leong explained the outsourcing delivery model adopted by HP's image and printing group. HP supplies the devices and services (including technical support) to vendors who operate the hotspots. "SMEs are working around the outsourcing model as their requirements are on a need-to basis,'' explained Mr. Leong. Although estimates are unavailable on the outsourcing opportunities for the printing industry, HP believes in its huge potential. HP's new product range that includes the Bluetooth-enabled HP Deskjet 450 printer, HP Color LaserJet 2500 printer series and HP Designjet 100 printer caters to mobile professionals, Soho segment and small-medium enterprises. The company is in the process of extending its product portfolio to introduce more technologically innovative products. "Technology is driving our product innovation and the Bluetooth-enabled printer is a step in this direction. Eventhough Bluetooth applications are still to be developed, we expect more developments when greater use of broadband happens,'' Mr. Leong added.

Concept stores: As part of its aggressive retail initiative, HP plans to up the number of retail outlets from the existing 450 stores to 1,000 in over 300 cities by next year. These stores would include exclusive IPG stores and multi-brand PC stores along with concept stores, according to Ravi Aggarwal, director, IPG.

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