Digital Digest: Konica Minolta Helps Shape The Future at Dealer EventJanuary 2014 By Mark Michelson
LAS VEGAS—With the tagline "Shape the Future. Strategy. Passion. Leadership," Konica Minolta hosted roughly 1,100 attendees representing 334 dealerships at its 2013 Konica Minolta Business Conference and Product Expo, which was held at the posh Venetian/Palazzo Resort here from Nov. 17-20. The 2013 event also happened to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the merger bewteen Konica and Minolta.
Rick Taylor, Konica Minolta president and COO, led off by noting positive fiscal year 2012 (ended in March) results. Total revenues were up 6 percent; hardware revenues, 8 percent; and units sold, 9 percent. More impressively, software solutions were up 44 percent and IT services increased by 59 percent. Noting that fiscal year 2013 was on track for similar success, Taylor added that dealers accounted for 52 percent of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.'s sales, surpassing the 48 percent direct business amount written through Konica Minolta branches. The organization has also transformed from a hardware-oriented business to a services and solutions model, he said.
For the production printing market, Kevin Kern, senior vice president of marketing, provided an update on the new 23x29.5˝ KM-1 digital inkjet press. Employing Komori press technology and Konica Minolta inkjet heads, the six-up UV digital press will be available in a six-color version. Following a beta installation during the first half of 2014, the first production units will begin shipping in about 14 months.
The new 85/100 ppm bizhub PRESS C1100 will be available by early summer. It features new Simitri (EP) toner technology, extended service intervals, increased duty cycles, no need for a second fuser unit and the ability to handle a wider media range with less paper curl.
The new bizhub PRESS 2250P is a mid-range device for transactional, books and on-demand applications. Also of interest was the announcement that Konica Minolta and its dealers will begin selling 3D printers from 3D Systems.
In addition, Konica Minolta has expanded the IT services offerings available to its dealer network. Incorporating the IT Services program from Konica Minolta's All Covered division, dealers will now be able to offer their customers cloud services, enhanced backup and security solutions, as well as application development resources.
Likewise, Konica Minolta's EnvisionIT vertical solutions have been expanded to include software, hardware and IT services designed specifically for the Government, Financial and Manufacturing industries.
The conference program also featured some household names. Sportscaster Jim Nantz, lead anchor for CBS Sports' golf coverage, gave the keynote address. In 2007, 2010 and 2013, Nantz became the first commentator in history to broadcast the Super Bowl, NCCA Men's Final Four and the Masters—all in the same year. (Konica Minolta sponsors "Konica Minolta bizhub SwingVision" super-slow-motion swing analysis during CBS golf broadcasts.) In addition, attendees saw comedian Dennis Miller perform. PI