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Digital Printing will see an increased demand in the new normal

By Kuldeep Malhotra, Dy. Managing Director, Konica Minolta Business Solutions India Pvt. Ltd.
September 27 2021: The global pandemic has literally acted as a ‘survival test’ for businesses and the world in general. People had no idea how things would change overnight, and adapting to this transition will become a necessity. The story of print players is no different!
In the wake of COVID-19, it became essential for print businesses to closely look at their existing processes and revamp the areas that called for quick reshaping. For instance, they had to start refocusing on their operations in terms of site-level (reduced staff due to social distancing and lockdowns) and ordering mechanism (customer orders - from physical to digital).  
One of the top trends witnessed during this period was digital printing. Many players in this domain started introducing digital printers while also switching their operations from offline to online. Here are some of the print trends that we came across during the pandemic:

Touchless Technologies 
COVID-19 made social distancing a critical practice for everyone to follow. In fact, it was the only possible way to contain the virus transmission. As a result, print players began investing in touchless advancements like biometrics or smart-card authentication, enabling users to give print commands and get the work done without even touching the device. The pandemic is here to stay and it is thus envisioned that these technologies will only evolve in the times to come, making the overall printing experience more effective and easier for everyone. 

Integrated Collaboration 
Several companies have already made work from home (WFH) permanent for their employees. It means mastering collaboration tools and platforms is more important than ever now – something that businesses need to adopt on both ends, i.e., office and home. This is what has created fresh opportunities for MPS providers to increase their productivity levels while also becoming cost-efficient at every point possible. These solutions are also crucial for businesses to ensure end-to-end customer interaction and engagement when it comes to addressing routine queries and spreading awareness around the new developments of a brand. 

Cloud-enabled digital workflow solutions 
After the pandemic hit the world, it has become even more important for print businesses to eliminate paper-based processes and adopt digital replacements. This change has created space for more innovations like multi-function printers (MFPs) that allow users to perform document capture tasks more efficiently while automating their existing workflows and making functions more seamless than ever. However, as the world goes digital, print players must also ensure robust security to their customers owing to the ever-evolving threat landscape and malicious actors that are always on the lookout for data breach.  
While one might be thinking that COVID-19 is the worst thing that can happen to humanity, several print businesses are considering it a newfound opportunity to innovate and grow like never before. Although digital printing is just a start of a new era in this ecosystem, the future of printing is likely to be hybrid, where businesses must focus on paper printing as well as digital servicing. After all, nothing can replace the importance of touch and feel!