How will you get the apps to customize your MFP (multifunction printer)? The answer depends on which brand of MFP you choose.
Different brands of MFPs
Unlike as in the smartphone world, where the two dominant players (Apple and Google) follow pretty much the same development and distribution model when it comes to apps, in the MFP world there are more than 10 players—each of which is taking a slightly different tack.
On the one end of the spectrum are vendors that are fostering an open approach to development, letting partners develop apps and deliver them directly to end customers. A few OEMs have set up “app store” portals where certified apps can be searched and downloaded.
But even that model has variation: Some OEMs require dealer partners to be the “gatekeepers” of those app portals, while other MFP makers allow customer IT personnel or even end users (with the proper permissions) to download apps to their MFPs without dealer involvement.
And more conservative MFP makers are maintaining a circumspect approach, allowing app development only by authorized partners and tightly controlling which apps are offered and by whom.
Pricing, too, is all over the map. Some apps are free; some are free to dealers but carry a list price that the dealer is free to charge or not as the sales situation warrants; some apps are priced at $9.99, while others are priced as high as $999 per license.
Clearly, in these relatively early days of the MFP app paradigm, there’s a long way to go before there’s any consensus on a go-to-market strategy. And with so many MFP makers, there may never be a common approach like we see in the smartphone realm.
Businesses interested in MFP apps to improve their workflows should find out how these apps can be accessed. For example, they will want to know if they are able to download the apps themselves, or if a technician must be involved. Print technology providers are a great resource for this information.