Samsung Electronics started its printing solution business thirty years ago as a late entrant in a well-established market. It entered the A3 market in 2010 as the only new player in 30 years, and since then, has already gained significant market share, ranking #2 in global A4 markets.
In 2014, Samsung Printing Solutions released the industry-first Android-based printing user interface, surprising the industry with a new printing paradigm. The brand is now drawing attention, winning awards and continuously launching new products. How has the company come this far, and what plans does it have in store for the future?
For answers, we interviewed Chin Yoon, Vice President of Enterprise Business Group Sales & Marketing at Samsung Printing Solutions. In this two-part series, we ask him about Samsung’s entry into printing, its success stories, and future plans to transform the industry.
Samsung makes a dramatic appearance with a “different” solution
Q: Please introduce yourself and tell us what you do at Samsung Printing Solutions.
I’m Chin Yoon, and I’m in charge of tech sales – pre-sales, post-sales – here at Samsung Printing Solutions. I also manage solution product management and marketing. I used to be in charge of product planning for Polaris. It’s been 27 years now that I’ve been working in the copier industry.
Q: Having been in the printing business for so long, what can you tell us about the industry’s first reactions to Samsung entering the market as a new player?
Samsung the giant in consumer electronics was entering the B2B printing market. Of course everybody was curious. When we first came out, we tried to fit in, creating products and solutions that everybody else was, and had always been, offering in this industry. But dealer channels asked, “Why Samsung, then? If you’re the same as everybody else, why would we choose to sell your products?”
So, as new kids on the block, we tried new things. When competitors saw our entirely Android-based system, they were taken aback. “Isn’t it hard to use? Printers and copies are different; they can’t run entirely on Android…” But when they tried out our printers, they saw that it was different. They saw that it was good.
Dealers had the same reaction. “Now, this is Samsung.” Ever since then, competitors have kept a close eye on us. A brand’s first printers are bound to falter in terms of quality, but this is something that a company can quickly overcome. Competitors have always been wary of us, and we still catch them off guard with the speed with which we launch new products.
Q: So what is Samsung doing better than other brands that are dominating the printing industry?
User-friendliness is our biggest point of difference. When people first try out our new copiers with the Smart UX Center, their first reaction is, “What is this? This seems complicated.” But after five or ten minutes, they’re saying, “It’s so easy.” This is all thanks to Samsung’s strength in user interface development for mobile devices.
Second is our security. People assume that because the Smart UX Center is based on Android, there may be security issues, but that’s not true. The Android platform and main system platform are completely separated, so there’s no reason to worry about security. Plus, Samsung Electronics itself is strong in security technology. From hard disk encryption to erasure, we have so many security solutions, which are built into all of our products, including A4 and A3 printers. You can look at it this way: the security solutions that we’re known for in our mobile and semiconductor technology are in our printers, too.
The merging of printer and mobile with Samsung’s mobile technology
Q: What other mobile technologies has Samsung utilized in its printers?
We were the first to use NFC* technology – the same technology in our smartphones – in a printer. When other companies were focusing on printing through a remote connection to the cloud, we introduced “direct” mobile printing that worked with a tap of the smartphone to the printer.
Now we’re working on adding BLE** technology. NFC uses RFID* technology, which requires a physical tap between two devices to transmit a message, but BLE allows a certain amount of distance between the devices. The user can perform an action even from a certain distance from the device being approached. Not too many competitors’ products support BLE as of yet, so we’re trying to come up with ways to add this function to our printers.
*Near Field Communication
**Bluetooth Low Energy
Q: What is Samsung doing in the area of cloud printing?
We’ve acquired PrinterOn, a mobile printing software company, and right now, we’re only selling PrinterOn’s cloud printing solutions. Samsung Cloud Print is Samsung’s own cloud printing solution, currently available for download, and we’re continually developing it.
Right now, in terms of printing solutions, we have embedded solutions and server solutions, but with a growing adoption of the cloud, there will be less demand for server solutions. Although many enterprises still believe that a server is safer than the cloud, a lot of them are switching over to the cloud. And I believe Samsung will eventually be developing all of its solutions for the cloud.
Q: What is Samsung doing to dispel the notion that the cloud is not secure?
We explain that with all our cloud printing solutions, all data traffic is encrypted, and when documents are received, they are authenticated. No data is ever stored in the cloud – it is passed through. And if documents need to be stored, then we offer extra security solutions for that.
Let’s say an enterprise needs secure pull printing. It’s a global company with a total of 30,000 printers. If each server can only manage 100 or 200 of these devices, then that’s 300 servers the company has to buy and operate. With the cloud, you don’t need a server. One cloud controls everything, so it’s completely scalable. Even a small or dynamically evolving company can use the cloud and adjust the solution to its changing needs and budget.
So the needs for and benefits of cloud printing are clear, and we’re continuously working to put the message out there that cloud printing is secure, and will most likely be mainstay technology in the future.