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Mobile Trendsetter: Jim Lyons, The Imaging Channel

Jim Lyons headshot July 2014.jpgIn the previous weeks, we’ve spoken with Al Sacco of CIO.com, Chris Marsh of the Yankee Group and Michelle Maisto of eWeek. Today, we continue the Mobile Trendsetter Interview Series with Jim Lyons, an analyst at The Imaging Channel and a former employee in the HP Imaging and Printing Group.

 

Needless to say, Jim knows our business well – but his time as an analyst has allowed him to put HP’s offerings in perspective with the rest of the industry. We are excited to hear his take on mobility, the Internet of Things and changing workplace dynamics.

 

Without further ado, here is a recap of our spirited conversation with Jim:

 

HP: First, what are some of the mobile trends you’re seeing in the enterprise?

 

Jim: I can repeat what many others have about mobility, collaboration and productivity. I have been most intrigued by the recent “calling the workforce back home” trend, famously started by Marissa Mayer at Yahoo and followed shortly after by HP, among others, in recognition that “all remote, all the time” is not always the best way to get the most out of teams. This is not to mention individual job satisfaction, which can plummet as workers become more and more isolated, as in so many “remote worker” settings I’ve encountered.

 

HP: What about mobile printinghow do you think it’s changing the way enterprises work?

 

Jim: Good mobile printing is actually more of a hygiene factor, but that’s not to downplay its importance. I think we have bridged a period, or at least are close to bridging it, when mobile printing was a bit of an unknown. Now it’s an expected function, reaching “conspicuous by its absence” status, as one of HP’s famous CTO’s would have said. In my “Mobile Printing Year-in-Review” blog post last December, I recounted a story of a friend, an executive from a large but unrelated industry, honestly asking me why printer setup and execution was so difficult from his Windows laptop as compared to his mobile device. That was a major sign of progress for me.

 

HP: Who is most likely to print from a mobile phone? Are there any market segments that you view as more likely to print from mobile devices?

 

Jim: That is one of my favorite questions, which I called out in the same year-end blog post mentioned earlier. In the half-year since, I have definitely seen progress on the industry’s part in understanding and acting on better segmentation. I also recently speculated, via another blog post, on the idea that (so far at least), iOS users are more active in the print realm than Android users - which goes along with higher rates of app usage, mobile shopping, and many other activities which skew among mobile users to the Apple side of things.

 

Zillow has even reported that their mobile app users among the iOS crowd are likely to be real estate buyers, and Android users on Zillow have a higher propensity to rent. Again, that may not last, but insight into market segmentation and consumer behavior is all-important in emerging areas like mobile printing. (Disclaimer - since leaving HP, I have also been a part-time MBA and undergraduate professor of marketing and economics, so these topics are right up my alley.)

 

HP: How is mobility contributing to the rise of the “internet of things”?

 

Jim: I see them as essentially inseparable, each contributing to the other’s growth.

 

HP: As the “internet of things” evolves, how might multi-function printers play a role as the central hub of business processes?

 

Jim: I hate to repeat myself :smileyhappy:, but I also have recently explored this topic in a blog post. This also goes back, at least a bit, to the point about “hygiene factors”. Somehow, people in the industry can interpret this inclusion of printers as “things” as something of an insult - like printers and MFPs deserve some higher-tier status. But that to me is the point - it’s a democracy of sorts, where all “things” are of relatively equal status in the network.

 

As the question implies, an MFP can be a frequently-used on-ramp/off-ramp (how we used to think of it), which may be used many orders of magnitude more than a simple sensor in some remote corner of the network. Actually, in researching my post, I contacted a former analyst colleague, who covers the Internet of Things extensively now, and we were able to deconstruct the development of Managed Print Services as a proof point for future Internet of Things development - pretty cool!

 

HP: Any other thoughts or comments?

 

Jim: Keep the optimism and creative flowing!

 

We would like to thank Jim for taking the time to speak with us and give his unique insight as both a former HP employee and current industry analyst. Please return for our next post in which we will recap the different perspectives shared by our mobile trendsetters and conclude our summer blog post series. Feel free to chip in with your own questions and comments; we’ll see you next time!

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