Xerox sees middling quarterly results

October 22, 2014

xeroxThe OEM reported a two percent decline in revenue overall and six percent decline in its document technology segment.

The results saw total revenue reach $5.1 billion (€4 billion), a fall of two percent over the last year’s results, with 57 percent of this total coming from the services segment, which saw a one percent increase in revenue to $2.9 billion (€2.2 billion). In turn, the document technology business, representing 40 percent of the total, saw revenue of $2 billion (€1.5 billion), a fall of six percent.

Operating margin meanwhile increased 0.1 percent year-over-year to 9.5 percent, leaving an operating profit of $486 million (€383 million), whilst $595 million (€469 million) in cash flow was generated in the quarter, and Xerox also repurchased $251 million (€198 million) in stock during the quarter, with an expectation that, having repurchased $730 million (€575 million) in the year already, it will have bought back around $1 billion (€788 million) by the end of the financial year.

Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of Xerox, stated: “This quarter we delivered earnings at the high end of our range. Profits from our document technology business came in above expectations while Services results were lower than planned. Our document technology business continues to provide strong profitability, and we are continuing to invest in our services business for revenue and profit improvement by strengthening leadership and evolving our operating model to better leverage our scale and drive efficiency and customer value.

“These activities will position us well for the future. Our business continues to deliver strong cash flow that enables us to invest for growth while returning capital to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.”

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Lexmark reports revenue growth in third quarter

October 22, 2014

lexmark-logoThe OEM saw a three percent growth, which “exceeded” its predictions.

The results showed revenue growth of three percent, revenue excluding Lexmark’s exit from inkjet in 2012 growing six percent, and MPS and Perceptive Software combined revenue increasing by 21 percent.

GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) revenue was $918 million (€723 million), whilst non-GAAP revenue was $921 million (€725 million), giving the growth of three percent, and “excluding the planned and ongoing decline in inkjet exit revenue”, this growth is six percent”.

In terms of the company’s Imaging Solutions and Services (ISS) segment, revenue “was about flat” compared to the same quarter last year, at $835 million (€657 million), but without the inkjet exit revenue, it grew three percent compared to last year; MPS grew 12 percent to $205 million (€161 million), non-MPS revenue was flat at $570 million (€55 million), and inkjet exit revenue of $60 million (€47 million), which was six percent of total revenue, declined by 29 percent.

Product-wise, hardware revenue grew eight percent to $196 million (€154 million), whilst supplies declined two percent to $593 million (€467 million), and laser supplies revenue grew two percent to $533 million (€419 million). As previously mentioned, the MPS and Perceptive Software revenue – packaged as Lexmark’s “higher value solutions”, is expected to pass $1 billion (€787 million) this year, with combined revenue of $291 million (€229 million) showing a growth of 20 percent over last year, accounting for 32 percent of total revenue.

Lexmark’s predictions looking forward include an expectation that total revenue in the fourth quarter of the financial year would be “down two to four percent”, with the inkjet exit continuing to “have a diminishing negative impact on revenue growth”, though excluding this, the OEM believes revenue in the next quarter will “grow year to year”.

Paul Rooke, Lexmark’s Chairman and CEO, commented: “In the third quarter, Managed Print Services and Perceptive Software combined revenue grew 20 percent, representing nearly one third of Lexmark’s total revenue, and is on track to exceed $1 billion this year. Our strong results reflect the work we have been doing to transform Lexmark to a solutions company, creating a unique portfolio of higher value imaging and software solutions.”

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Brother releases new monochrome range in Australia

October 22, 2014

Brother's MFC-L2703DW

Brother’s MFC-L2703DW

The eight new printers are said to offer “value and reliability for improved efficiency”.

The range of devices includes four MFPs, or Multi-Function Centres, as well as four single-function machines, with Brother International Australia stating that the printers are designed to deliver “affordable, reliable printing” to SMBs. Value-related features include automatic duplexing and standard and high-yield toner cartridges (1,200 and 2,600 page-yields respectively).

The printers include the HL-L2300D, L2340DW, L2365DW and L2380DW single-function machines, and the MFC-L2700DW, L2703DW, L2720DW and L2740DW MFPs. All printers bar the HL-L2300D feature wireless connectivity and mobile compatibility, allowing users to use Apple’s Air Print and Brother’s mobile printing apps, and each features either an LCD or touchscreen.

All the devices feature a ‘Deep Sleep’ power saving mode “which kicks in when the machine is not in use”, whilst in terms of speed, the HL-L2300D, L2340DW and MFC-L2700DW reach 26ppm, and the remaining five devices reach 30ppm.

Kelly Wilson, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International Australia, stated: “Brother constantly strives to offer our customers quality printing while keeping costs low. To provide Brother users with greater value, reliability and convenience, every printer and Multi-Function Centre from this new series is feature rich at an affordable price so every customer can enjoy stress free printing.”

The HL-L2300D is available at AU$129 ($113/€89); the L2340DW at AU$149 ($130/€103); the L2365DW at AU$169 ($148/€116); the L2380DW at AU$229 ($201/€158); the MFC-L2700DW and MFC-L2703DW at AU$249 ($218/€172); the MFC-L2720DW at AU$279 ($245/€193); and the MFC-L2740DW at AU$329 ($289/€227).

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Cartridge World USA signs up ERP provider

October 22, 2014

The US franchise has chosen Armanino to create an accounting and financial reporting solution.cartridge world

Virtual-Strategy reported on the franchise’s appointment of Armanino LLP to provide it with a “custom-tailored” accounting and financial reporting solution, as part of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

Armanino, which says it is the “largest independent accounting and business consulting firm” in California, is providing Cartridge World with its Intacct system, and claims that Cartridge World’s expenditure on the implementation of the ERP system “will be recouped within six months of deployment”.

Intacct is cloud-based and will allow Cartridge World to get “customised analysis of KPIs [key performance indicators] and budget variances from multiple locations”, including North America, the UK, France and Australia. The “multi-dimensional” software also allows users to ‘tag’ transactions and data for “custom reporting”.

Lindy Antonelli, Partner at Armanino and Founder of the Cloud Accounting Institute, stated: “Armanino is excited to work with Cartridge World, an international franchisor that offers printers, ink and toner, and printer repair for home and business customers, in consolidating its global accounting and financial reporting.

“By utilising Intacct, the only accounting solution endorsed by the AICPA, we sare able to automatically consolidate reporting across geographies and minimise time-consuming manual reporting with a cost-saving cloud solution.”

Michael Dixon, Director of Finance at Cartridge World, added: “By reducing our annual subscription fee by two-thirds of what we were previously investing, Armanino has helped us redesign our workflow to maximise our savings. With Intacct, we are able to tie our global presence together under one simple to use cloud accounting solution.”

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Circular economy transition debated

October 21, 2014

Remanufacturing is seen as a key part of a circular economy model, with recycling “the loop of last resort”.recycle

The Guardian reported on the debate earlier this month in Brussels, with MacArthur and a number of others “outlin[ing] the European legislative and policy levers needed to transition to a circular economy” in the region.

She spoke about a “transition” from linear industrial processes to “restorative mechanisms that can keep resources in use for longer”, though the newspaper notes this is “challenging […] not least because it requires systems redesign at every level”. However, MacArthur noted that “sheer determination” and “overcoming entrenched attitudes and behaviours” will help to ease in the idea of a circular economy in Europe.

A number of those present were “in favour of policy intervention” in the form of “strengthening business obilgations around eco-design and producer responsibility”, which in turn would “stimulate market demand for more goods and services”. MacArthur’s foundation in turn is looking to create a policy toolkit to help identify what “legislative levers” are needed to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, which The Guardian notes should help “more progressive policy makers”.

The European Commission (EC) in particular was marked as one such progressive body, and member of the EC cabinet for the environment, William Neale, told the debate that the proposals “had taken the Commission outside of its comfort zone […] it’s not something we are used to dealing with”, but added that this was largely due to “what and how to make the markets work […] when you start to talk about remanufacturing, reuse and prevention”.

He added that certain areas of WEEE legislation revision “should help promote moves towards circularity”, and that the EC “was pushing for minimum rules for extended producer responsibility” to “make businesses more accountable for the products they produce and sell once they have been used by consumers”.

The EC is also “keen to hear from those businesses innovating at the sharp end […] we don’t always hear from the progressive companies […] we need to find a way to get that advocacy happening here in Brussels”. MacArthur in turn stated that “if investment within the EU was focused on business models that could accelerate […] growth from resource constraints” there would be a “massive opportunity here for us in Europe” despite the “huge challenge to shift” from linear to circular.

She commented: “I can’t deny that [transition would be a challenge] for a second. But it depends on the way that you see this. One of the biggest challenges is the change in mindset. Because the case studies are there, we know that this is possible; we’re able to do so much of this. We are very used to hearing the words ‘legislation’ or ‘taxation’ as something very negative, but they can be hugely positive things, they can really help to steer. There’s an opportunity here to reset things.”

Recycling, she concluded, is “the loop of last resort” in a circular economy, as “most of the value in a circular economy lies along the inner loops; the reselling, the remanufacturing, the disassembly, the de-componentisation. Within a circular economy, the recycling increases because companies are creating a system whereby those products come back”.

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Fuji Xerox releases two new A4 MFPs

October 21, 2014

Fuji Xerox' ApeosPort-V C3320

Fuji Xerox’ ApeosPort-V C3320

The colour and monochrome devices feature “high functionality” for “diverse work environments”.

The OEM stated that the “highly customisable” ApeosPort-V C3320 and 4020 have been designed to “cater to the needs of both large corporations and small and medium-sized businesses” in the Asia-Pacific region, with the aim of helping these businesses “optimise performance and drive productivity”.

The A4, digital MFPs are colour (the C3320) and monochrome (the 4020), and utilise controller software to connect to the OEM’s mobile and cloud services, as well as “provide universal operability and software functions” similar to that of an A3 MFD, particularly with a tilt-able seven-inch touchscreen, and warm-up times of 20 seconds and 18 seconds respectively.

In terms of mobile and cloud connectivity, the printers are compatible with Google Cloud Print, Air Print and Print Utility across “various mobile platforms”, and can also be linked to Fuji Xerox’s Working Folder, which allows users to “digitally store scanned documents or upload received faxes automatically”.

Other software features include the ability to add “build-on software” customised to a business’ specifications; utilisation of Fuji Xerox’s server-less On-Demand Print to link with other machines on a network; and the ability to use the OEM’s security solutions to “take total control” of printers fro a central server, “thus enhancing data security”.

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Toner leak treated as hazardous incident

October 20, 2014

Officers at the scene in California (Credit: NBC Bay Area)

Officers at the scene in California (Credit: NBC Bay Area)

A hazardous materials team investigated the spill after an employee was taken to hospital.

NBC Bay Area reported on the false alarm on Friday 17 October, which came after an office worker at a small business in Union City, California “was taken to Washington Hospital […] as a precautionary measure” after getting “bright yellow powder” on their face from opening a package.

The package delivered to the business at Dowe Business Park contained broken toner cartridges, and “after opening the package and complaining of burning eyes and a runny nose”, the employee went to hospital, with investigators and a hazardous materials team from Alameda County “respond[ing] to the scene to investigate the chemical makeup of the substance”.

The police “cleared the scene” and left within a couple of hours, having investigated the “suspicious substance” before finding it was toner powder, with officers noting that they had been called to what they referred to as a “possible hazardous materials spill”.

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AIOs can be hacked through scanners

October 17, 2014

An AIO with the scanner lid open - the lasers would reflect off the lid into the machine

An AIO with the scanner lid open – the lasers would reflect off the lid into the machine

Researchers hack printers and computers through lasers shone at the printer’s scanner.

PC World reported on the hack, discovered by researchers at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, which works by “flashing visible or infrared light at the [open] scanner lid” of AIO machines, thereby infecting the printer and by extension the computer attached to it.

The experiment came about after cryptographer Adi Shamir, alongside researchers Yuval Elovici and Moti Guri, aimed to find “methods of controlling malware running on air-gapped systems”. Air-gapping isolates computers from the internet, and is “considered one of the best ways to defend critical systems and their sensitive data from cyberattacks”, but this can be “undermined” using the printer hack method.

The three wanted to “subvert the goal of preventing internet-based attacks”, as if a virus is installed on a computer disconnected from the internet through a USB drive, the hackers would “have a hard time controlling” it or stealing information because “there is no internet connection”. However, if an AIO is connected to a computer with malware, attackers could “issue commands to a malicious programme […] by flashing visible or infrared light at the scanner lid when open”.

Shamir presented the ‘Scangate’ hack at the Black Hat Europe security conference in Amsterdam, with the research finding that “if a source of light is pointed repeatedly at the white coating on the inside of the scanner’s lid” during scanning, the image will “have a series of white lines on darker background[s]”, which match the light hitting the lid.

Using Morse code to send the message in light, and then interpreting the Morse code into binary data, the hacker could then access data on the computer through the malware already on it, as the malware would “interpret the commands” as instructions. Shamir added that “several hundred bits of data” could be sent in one scan, which PC World states is “enough to send small commands that can activate various functionality” in the malware infection.

Additionally, the researchers “successfully” tested such an attack from 200, 900 and 1,200 metres away, using a laser to “flash visible light at the window of the office where the scanner was located”, lighting the room and sending the message. A more powerful laser could “produce reliable results from up to five kilometres away”, with infrared light more likely in this case to work “because it’s invisible to the naked eye”.

Also, instead of waiting for the malware to “initiate a scan”, hackers could wait until the scanner is used, and “then run their attack”, with the lines appearing on the sides of the scanned document. The three researchers again revealed that they “found a way for the malware to send data back to the attackers”, using the light from the scanner to send information back judging by the “amount of time the scanner’s light is on and reflects the open lid”.

Data that could be stolen this way could include encryption keys, though detecting scanner light from a distance “would require very sensitive equipment”, and on a higher floor hackers would “have a hard time getting good visibility”, though a drone could be used “to get closer and observ[e] the scanner from a better angle”.


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Lexmark announces Corporate Cartridges line

October 17, 2014

Lexmark CS310n

Lexmark CS310n

New line of toner cartridges for EMEA region designed to boost sustainability in businesses.

IT Web reported on Lexmark’s release of its new line of Corporate Cartridges designed for businesses in the EMEA region, with the toner cartridges compatible with Lexmark’s A4 CS/CX colour and MS/MX monochrome devices.

The OEM stated that the products are “driven” by the company’s “commitment to corporate social responsibility and guided by the principles of zero waste and the circular economy”, using Unison toner and “advanc[ing] the sustainability benefits of the Unison Print System” through the use of components recovered by the Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program (LCCP). They also have a “robust and durable design to deliver long-term reliability and sustained print quality”.

In order to ensure “consistent product availability” as well as minimise the environmental impact of supply chains, the cartridges are manufactured in the EU, with pricing “equivalent” to the OEM’s Return Program cartridges.

Mark Hiller, Lexmark Regional General Manager South Africa, said: “Lexmark has a strong tradition of innovation and commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainability. This new line of corporate cartridges represents our most sustainable supplies offering to date. In addition to the environmental and social aspects, the cartridges are also backed by Lexmark’s limited lifetime supplies warranty.”

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Panasonic launches new MFPs in MEA

October 17, 2014

The OEM has produced the KX-MB2100 series of MFPs.Panasonic2-182x212

AME Info reported on Panasonic Marketing Middle East and Africa’s (PMMAF) launch of MFP duplex printers at the GITEX 2014 event, with the KX-MB2100 series of machines said to help offices “save on paper usage and printing time” as “printing on one side of the page can be wasteful and inefficient”.

The three devices in the range include the KX-MB2170, KX-MB2130 and KX-MB2120, and feature print speeds of up to 24ppm alongside “enhanced” document security and mobile printing compatibility, with the duplexing said to reduce paper consumption “by up to 75 percent”. The machines and their drums are said to have respective lifecycles of 75,000 and 10,000 pages respectively, which Panasonic says means they are “highly durable” printers.

The aforementioned document security comes in the form of the Print Data feature, which “secures print documents from being leaked by protecting them with [a] high level of security”, consisting of a password “temporarily stored” on a connected computer’s hard drive that means the print can only be authorised through entry of the password on the printer.

In turn, mobile printing compatibility is ensured through working alongside Google Cloud Print and Panasonic’s own mobile printing application, whilst a Quick-job setting allows for “frequently-used functions or complicated copy/scan settings” to be programmed to the Quick-job key, “saving users their time and trouble”.

Nelson Edward, Manager of System Networks and Communication for PMMAF, stated: “The KX-MB2100 series is an ideal machine for any office that requires time and energy-saving devices that are user-friendly. Our quick duplex printers not only avoid excessive wastage of paper, which is a growing issue today, but also offer a simple and organised option for printing documents.

“The secure print feature adds an extra advantage to corporates who like to protect their confidential documents from any leakage whatsoever. This multi-function printer is sure to give any company an immediate boost in productivity.”

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