What toner cartridges can teach us about the IoT

By | 2 minute read | November 22, 2016

What toner cartridges can teach us about IoT

What can toner cartridges, millions of multi-function printing devices, ubiquitous connectivity, and analytics teach about the potential of IoT?  Sometimes you need to look outside your industry to discover how pioneering organizations exploit existing and developing technologies to discover new ways to improve service, reduce cost, and redefine business models. We are reminded of this by the crowd that attended the breakout session “What is 2% Worth? – How Small Improvements Can Make Major Gains in Efficiency” presented by Photizo Group at the recent IBM World of Watson conference.

Photizo’s use of connected printing

Photizo Group is a leading market intelligence and consulting firm with a dedicated focus on the imaging industry, which includes desktop printers and copiers all the way to high-volume, high-quality commercial printing equipment. Photizo realized the multitude of connected printing devices and volume of operational data they generate, when carefully analyzed, can provide detailed understanding of usage that can be applied to improve device utilization, which, in turn, equates to quantifiable economic benefit.

Predictive analytics solutions prevent wastage

Photizo, employing IBM’s predictive analytics solutions, focused initially on toner usage and discovered that cartridge is typically still about 15 to 20 percent full when the “low toner” message is displayed, often leading to premature cartridge replacement. Across the imaging industry, that represents approximately $750 million in wasted toner per year. Combining this information with in-depth analyses of industry- or line-of-business-specific use cases (start of school, tax season, medical records, end-of-quarter close) Photizo developed predictive algorithms that enable service providers to accurately predict when toner cartridges will run out so that replacement cartridges can then be delivered on-time. The result – optimum timing of cartridge replacement, lower operational costs, and significant reduction in environmental impact of wasted toner. Economic benefit of “just in time” cartridge delivery could be as much as $20 million annually for companies that have hundreds of devices.

Improving repair services

Photizo realized that the wealth of operational data can also be used to improve repair services and availability of commercial presses. Analysis indicates that service optimization can reduce costs by as much as 30%. A 2% increase in availability of a commercial press can equate to $100 to 700 thousand per device in additional revenue generation per year. This detailed case study explains how the imaging industry is ideally situated to benefit from the IoT and analytics, and how Photizo has pioneered the application of these capabilities to provide quantifiable benefit.

Applying the lessons

How might this example be applied to other industries and uses? Ask three questions:

  1. Which already-connected devices within your area of responsibility could realize better performance via careful analysis of operational data?
  2. What are the immediate, quantitative benefits you might attain – cost savings, greater device availability or reliability, waste reduction?
  3. How might these changes help change your business model?

Learn more

To learn more about how IoT is transforming the imaging industry, take a look at this case study.