by Amy Weiss | 11/4/2014

The Executive Connection Summit (ECS), held Oct. 27-29, 2014, presented opportunities, questions, and answers surrounding a fast-changing industry. The title of the summit couldn't have been more apt as the connected world is here, a fact demonstrated by the content and the speakers as they worked through the rapidly shifting world of the imaging channel. Hopefully most attendees were left as I was, with not just a sense of change, but a feeling of tremendous momentum. 

“Events like this make you evaluate the future,” said Chip Miceli of DPOE at a press conference on Monday night, and that summed up the event entirely.

Kicking things off and setting the tone was Kevin Gilroy, senior vice president in charge of indirect channels for SAP Global. Gilroy’s presentation was entitled “SMEs at the Technology Inflection Point: Building a Next Generation Business,” and covered innovation and SAP Business One and its future and impact within the print imaging industry. “I’ve never seen a period in time where there is this much opportunity and this much danger,” he said, explaining there is potential for wealth, for careers to skyrocket, but also for failure, for companies to sell at a loss. Choices and the proper education matter in this world, and naturally, SAP and its partners are helping companies with both.

Illustrating further what is both the dichotomy and convergence of the imaging channel, the next presenter was Tod Pike, senior vice president at Samsung. Presenting “Printing Solutions for the Connected Enterprise,” he provided insight into the OEM mind and how it will change the future of dealers. Pike is always an excellent speaker, but the thing that caught my ear again was the something he’d mentioned previously at a dealer meeting. Samsung sees the two biggest areas of opportunity as tablets and printers. What I find really interesting about that (beyond the obvious) is the potential Samsung has on an enterprise level. When Tod Pike talks tablet sales, he’s not talking consumer. He’s talking enterprise, he’s talking connected devices, and he’s talking an area of opportunity in which Samsung could potentially leverage a serious advantage over rivals including Apple (maybe Apple should have stayed in the printer business).

Bob Ferrar, senior director of Intel, IoT Solutions Group was next up, and spoke on – naturally – the Internet of Things. While Ferrar spoke about many amazing accomplishments and possibilities for this connected world, I think I’m going to say with reasonable confidence that the takeaway was “smart beer kegs and cupcake machines.” Those are two items into which Intel is putting its chips, making them smarter and more predictive (prediction: I’d like a cupcake). Smart urinals, by the way, are also on that list.

Greg Van Acker, VP of sales for OKI, presented an overview of OKI’s offerings that go beyond print and hardware, and into technologies and solutions. Like its OEM brethren, the company has worked hard to expand its offerings into the digital world, offering services and solutions along with its hardware offerings.

The next presenter proved how much impact a truly excellent speaker can have on an audience. While Cisco might not have been the top-of-mind company for attendees of the ECS going in, it was after Joseph Bradley, managing director, IoT, finished his presentation titled "Building on IoT to Create new Revenue Resources." Bradley seemed to be the favorite speaker of everyone I talked to, myself included (and I mean no slight to any of the other wonderful presenters, who were the cream of the crop). I came back with so many soundbites and ideas from Bradley's presentation that this blog would be "War and Peace" if I included them all. Instead, in the hopes that a picture is worth 1,000 words, here are two of his slides: an infographic of the connected retailer and his key takeaways.

 

The day's closing speaker, Paul Dippell, CEO of Service Leadership, presented "Success Traits of Office Equipment Companies with Top Managed IT Results." Managed IT has become an interesting and hotly debated area of convergence (emergence?), particularly with managed print providers. Allowing for that hot debate, Dippell's presentation included a panel of VARs, independent consultants and end-users.

Day 2 of the event featured an even more diverse lineup, led by Sharp's Doug Albregts, and I will guide you to Patricia Ames' blog for more on Albregts and others. The day included a number of presenters from the fantastic Technology United organization, and to do the companies and TU itself full credit, that will be the topic of a separate blog (what did I say about "War and Peace"? I'm afraid I'm almost there.) However, I would be remiss if I did not mention BPO Meda's own #RockStarAnalyst Robert Palmer, who presented "Office Solutions: Expanding Beyond the Core." Palmer summed up in one presentation what I've spent this entire blog trying to say: the imaging channel is changing, and expanding into the connected world of business process optimization, security, workflow, etc., is not only important, it's necessary.

I'll wrap things up here the way I started, with the word "connection." The event, the speakers, the industry – it's the key. If we continue the way we spent those two days, only good things are in store.

 

Amy Weiss, vice president and editor-in-chief of BPO Media, has more than a decade of experience in publishing. Her background also includes public relations, television and radio, as well as more than 20 years as a freelance writer and editor, with work appearing in numerous print and online publications.