Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 2014 Observations - Mopria Alliance grows while its latest research reflects IT managers valuing mobile tech, appreciating print, and defying age perceptions

by Jim Lyons
July 31, 2014

Early in July, I wrote a very brief post at (, excited about a just-released marketing research report sponsored by Mopria, the mobile printing alliance I have covered since its inception in 2013. The research and resulting report, conducted and compiled by The Economist, was commissioned with the goal of shedding further light on the impact of mobile technology on the enterprise by surveying high-level IT managers. The research is a treasure trove of interesting findings that include the high value IT managers place on mobile technology for its impact on collaboration and gains in productivity, their appreciation of the importance of paper and printers/scanners, and, by looking a little more deeply, data that seems to defy perceptions about differences in age/generation with respect to these attitudes.

 At the time of the report’s release, I took a rather quick look at the research results (contained in a 14-page report entitled “Untethered employees – The evolution of a wireless workplace” and available for free download via And I also had a pending interview with Mopria executives (actually executives from representative companies who make up the alliance), to discuss their views on the study and share any alliance news beyond that. So I concluded that July 8 blog post by stating that I would be publishing an update with more findings and results of my conversations within “a day or so”. And now, here it is the end of July, and I'm just now getting to that update! Part of the delay I can honestly blame on, “it's just one of those summers”. But I also must say I have had, with the fascinating research results particularly, much more to chew on than anticipated!

The Research

Going back to that first look at the survey results, which were gathered from 332 members of The Economist’s executive panel, from all over the world and in senior positions in IT management roles (over half “C” level), I was particularly impressed with the broad-based nature of the questions, or more specifically, the study was not overly print- and hardcopy-focused, as by definition the Mopria Alliance is. The research goes far beyond the relatively narrow aspect of the why’s and when’s of printing from mobile devices, i..e. smartphones and tablets, instead, seeking to further understanding of the current and future impacts of mobile technology on the enterprise – which of course ultimately will drive the narrower concerns.

Also, that “first look” showed me I had little to fear that this would feature questions leading to results along the lines of, “I want to print from my device - I didn't know that I can print from my device. If I could print from my device I would do it”, then further leading to optimistic forecasts about the future of mobile printing that is just around the corner. (And that's not to belittle that stage of research, but just recognizing there was a time for, and a place for that, and we need to move beyond that.) What the industry needs now is meaningful understanding of user needs, market segments, and, from this research, IT management’s vision. Happily, The Economist and Mopria have gone a long way with this study in satisfying the latter.

Before getting into print and hardcopy, the research makes it clear – that the application of mobile technology in the office is all about increasing collaboration and productivity, at least, in the view of these executives. Combining the categories of “very positively affect” and “somewhat positively affect”, huge majorities of the respondents in the survey (pushing 9 out of 10) cited the categories of collaboration and productivity has being most affected. Innovation, idea generation and creativity followed, still all with large majorities on the plus side (see illustration above). Note – The breakdown on these responses between groups represented in the survey, is material enough for at least one more post of its own, so look for my analysis coming from me in the future.

The research summary next takes the step of highlighting improved communication as one of the keys to the aforementioned improved productivity, which naturally leads to the potentially changing role of print and paper in the communication mix.

The appendix of the report provides more responses to more detailed questions and results of probes on the importance of printers, scanners, and paper itself in the mobile-influenced office (some of those results can be see above).

It is interesting that printers/scanners and paper are right up there relative to laptops and smartphones in their importance ratings, per the 332 respondents. (It is also interesting to note the much lower numbers for “Tablets (e.g. iPads and similar devices)”, in light of the recent Apple earnings announcement and the admission that their tablet business has beenweakening in quarterly unit sales. With the also recently announced agreementwith IBM seen as a potential lift to iPads by boosting them in enterprises – the Mopria/Economist results seem somewhat prescient!)

Having access to cross tabs not available in the summary, I was anxious to see what the oft-cited “age”, or generation factor, might have on responses on these questions. As might be expected given the senior nature of the executive positions sought out for the survey, the 332 respondents skewed older, with just under half age 50+, and only 16 percent age 40 and below. The remainder (36%) in the age 40-50 bracket. But on the “importance to you” and “importance to your employees” questions, the younger respondents actually recorded the highest percentages on the combined “very” and “somewhat” important percentages. (See graph below.) While findings like these are far from conclusive, they do offer encouragement for the industry that the relevance of print and paper will not fade away with the Baby Boomers.

(Proportion of respondents within age ranges, responding, “very important” or “somewhat important” to “How important are each of the following office tools to the performance of your employees’/your jobs?” – source Mopria/The Economist data, July 2014.)

Mopria Executive Update

To get a firsthand Mopria perspective, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with two Xerox vice presidents, Karl Dueland and Carl Langsenkamp. Dueland has been one of my regular contacts during the launch and then the development of the Mopria alliance and updated me on the latest stats, noting the number of member companies now stands at 23, representing 93 percent of the market share of all printers, and the ever-growing number of supported printers and MFPs now stands at an ever-growing 245 models. An even more impressive number is the 19 million units in the field which a currently Mopria compliant, either having been purchased this year when that list of 245 started (with the HP Color LaserJet M476, the first Mopria compliant printer), or having been purchased previously but field-upgraded since. He pointed out that beyond printer OEMs, other members included applications and hardware companies. And as far as the research report, he pointed with pride to some of the points I’ve already covered here. “The study hits on the printing world and the mobile world, with C-Level respondents from all around the world. Some of the timely topics we included that of the trend in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and related trends.”

Coming Attractions

I mentioned near the beginning of this post that I have had a lot to chew on, especially with all the data that has been made available to me. And I continue to chew! I will conclude my summary here with the promise that even if it's not “in the next day or so” I will return with more reporting and analysis which include insights from this research. And special thanks to my colleagues from the partner companies of Mopria, Edelman and The Economist for taking special care to answer some of my detailed questions and also provide access to the data. It is much appreciated and hopefully it will be of considerable value to my readers as well, as together we continue to understand and in response, innovate in the ever-growing and ever-changing world of mobile, and its subtle and not so subtle impacts on printing and imaging.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Imaging and Printing Disruptive Innovation - at Actionable Intelligence blog

Thanks to the team at Actionable Intelligence for offering me a guest blogger role, with a post (my first with more to follow?) discussing this summer's "Disruption" debate, as applied to the world of Imaging and Printing. In "Disrupting the World of Imaging and Printing", I also give a little shout out to one of my recent favorites, the HBO series "Silicon Valley", which was fun!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mobile Trendsetter blog - thanks HP!

As I deal with a queue of so many great blog post ideas, while also trying to engage in summer activities of a personal nature, it's really nice when something comes along that's both flattering and helps "get the word out". HP asked me to respond to a few questions with my views on mobility, and surprise - within what seemed like a couple days, there I am in "Mobile Trendsetter: Jim Lyons, The Imaging Channel"!

I invite readers to visit and read my comments (though fair warning - a number of my comments reference right back here, to some of my recent posts). HP asked some great questions, and the responses from my fellow "Mobile Trendsetters" are worthwhile reads as well.

And once again, thanks HP!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Google Glass Economics, Part Three

eBay Glass auctions during mid-July, 2014
It's been nearly a year since I became a Google Glass Explorer, and started a dedicated blog ( In that time, I've given my Glass unit a pretty good "run for its money", mostly by taking hands-free photos and a few videos. I have also used it in the classroom, at least a bit, and loaned it out to several friends and associates for them to get some hands-on experience with what has turned out to be a very controversial product, even to the point of fear and ridicule! For an example, See "The Daily Show" sendup (below), which actually including well-known Glass Explorers (going the opposite direction than I did with my blog, naming the segment "Glass Half Empty".)

The Glass "aftermarket", via Ebay, is one of the things I have found most interesting while following the Glass saga. The $3,000 - $5,000 being commanded during the Summer of 2013 indeed influenced my decision to drop the $1,500 to get my Glass unit and join the program, figuring I had a profitable "out" if I decided to exit the program. At that time, Glass had an aura of exclusivity, with Explorers selected mysteriously based on their Tweets earlier in 2013, and terms and conditions technically only allowed loaning or gifting units, and not selling them. (Those early eBay listings all contained some form of "caveat emptor" language.) But since then, Google has broadened the Explorer program, to the point where used units no longer command a premium over the $1,500 list price. The expected discount-for-used (See eBay screenshot, above.) I chronicled this back in March with "Google Economics Part Two", which happened to be my second-to-last post in the dedicated Glass blog, choosing to bring my intermittent Glass Observations to this blog. Back then, a non-scientific sample of three Glass auction listings on eBay averaged closing bids of $1,413. This week, the four auctions pictured in my screenshot sold for an average of $1,139.

Will there be a "Google Economics Part Four" post, you might ask? Stay tuned...I have a very strong feeling that there will be!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Impact of Mobile in the Workplace as viewed by The Economist

A new report sponsored by the Mopria (Mobile Printing) Alliance (see "May 2014 Observations - Market Segmentation Among Smartphone Users Who Print?") offers some interesting perspectives on the impact of mobility in today's workforce. Titled "Untethered employees - The Evolution of a wireless workplace", the summary of the research undertaken by The Economist comes up with some interesting results, with at least a little bit directed to the current and future role of hard copy (e.g. "paper remains a presence in many workplaces.")

I am awaiting an interview with Mopria executives, and will share more of what I've gleaned from the report, as well as highlights of my discussion, in the next day or so.