Workflow Q&A: Joe Contreras, Director, Product and Solutions Marketing, Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc.

Joe ContrerasWorkflow recently had the opportunity to talk to Joe Contreras, director, product and solutions marketing, Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc., about the untethered office, security issues in mobile workflow, TABS’ plans for the future, and more.

What are some of the tools available to both businesses and remote employees to make the “untethered office” a more functional reality?
Toshiba has developed e-BRIDGE mobile printing apps that users of mobile iOS and Android devices may scan from and print to our e-STUDIO products.  Customers may also attach scanned files to email, share documents with other iOS and Android applications as well as upload files to a cloud storage support service such as Box.com, Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive).

Is the ability to print from mobile devices an important feature to customers? Are other features, such as scan-to-email or the ability to upload to cloud storage, becoming more important?
With the rapid emergence of the BYOD, it is becoming paramount for today’s workforce to have the capability to print from their smartphone and tablet.  In many office settings workers are literally using their mobile devices from 9 to 5 (and then some).  In fact, many in today’s workforce do not even own a desktop computer.
Scan-to-email functionality is also a vital element to better enable employee productivity.  Rather than printing meeting materials, many eco-conscious employees prefer to receive and open such documents via email or through a cloud application.

What are some of the challenges inherent in creating a secure mobile workflow? Are any Toshiba devices or platforms affected by the Heartbleed bug?
There are a number of challenges inherent to create a secure mobile workflow environment.  From a device security level standpoint, every 3.5 seconds, someone in America loses a cell phone.  Because of the prevalence of lost phones, it is important to have security measures for documents residing on mobile device belonging to employees or vendors.  With the prevalence of BYOD users, this is key concern for companies.

Another mobile security challenge is managing data in transit.  In other words, how do you secure information while forwarding email from a mobile device to a personal email address?  To better protect this information, users need a way to secure documents so that others cannot view content when it leaves a mobile device.

With respect to the second question regarding the affect of the Heartbleed bug on Toshiba’s MFP, while in default mode out of box, none of our MFPs are vulnerable to the Heartbleed vulnerability.  Should users activate secure socket layer or SSL protocol, a patch available through our authorized dealers will eliminate this bug.

How has workflow/business process management altered the print industry’s landscape?
The vast Today’s workflow or business process management process is definitely altering the print industry’s landscape.  As mentioned earlier, more employees are steering away from print preferring to receive and read documents digitally.  Toshiba addresses this change in practice via our mobile print applications.  That said; the vast majority of people still prefer reading some material in printed form.

What is the greatest challenge Toshiba America Business Solutions faces today?
As an industry, our greatest challenge is addressing the decline in print.  To tackle this obstacle, Toshiba has created the first multifunction product (MFP) incorporating erasable toner to allow people to reuse the same sheet of paper multiple times.  Also, by entering the digital signage market with our Ellumina line, we are now managing our customer’s information in print and digital format as well as content that is visually displayed.

What do you see as your greatest opportunity?
While we continue to develop award-winning MFPs supported by our innovative Encompass analysis program, our greatest opportunity is digital signage.
After only entering the sector a little more than a year ago, the business is already profitable with a number of impressive implementations including Live Nation, Qualcomm Stadium and The Palace at Auburn Hills.  This spring we installed displays – including the widest scoreboard in minor league baseball – throughout brand new BB&T Ballpark home of the Charlotte Knights – the Chicago White Sox’s Triple-A team.

What is your greatest concern for this industry?
As mentioned earlier, our greatest challenge is the decline in the number of overall prints.  However, by managing customer information in digital format as well as content that is displayed visually, we will continue to support our customer’s most vital asset – information – across all mediums.

In what area is TABS investing most heavily this year?
We continue to invest significant dollars in developing our award-winning e-STUDIO color and monochrome products backed by customized manage print services programs to support our current and future customers.

Toshiba will also enhance our industry-leading Encompass print fleet analysis program.  To commemorate the 10th anniversary of our innovative audit tool, we will launch Encompass X, which offers such feature-rich elements as real-time reporting, satellite views of customer locations, 3-D data cubes, more intuitive user interface and customizable quotes.
Of course we will continue to further invest in our Ellumina digital signage line while providing customers with a complete solution to achieve marketing and sales objectives.  Ellumina includes everything from indoor and outdoor displays, video walls, kiosks, QSR menu boards, and custom interactive touch experiences incorporating best-in-class equipment.

Visit TABS at http://business.toshiba.com/usa/index.html

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