HP is in the Business of “Turning Bits Into Atoms”

Mark Anderson interviewed Vyomesh Joshi, EVP, Imaging and Printing Group for Hewlett-Packard today in a session titled “The Future of Printing and Imaging.” It was one of many invigorating discussions that aligned with multiple ongoing themes/priorities I see emerging at FiRe:

* Understanding your mission.
Some might say HP is in the business of “selling printers,” but Joshi put forth the idea that printing is just one of many ways to convert “bits into atoms.” If you think of it that way, it opens up a world of opportunities. Creating devices that enable virtual 3D models to be output into physical objects comes to mind.

* Optimism: Market opportunity abounds for the insightful and prepared.
48 trillion pages are printed each year and HP has 2 percent of that market. It’s clear they see the glass as more than half full.

* We now live in a customer-centric world — customers are in charge.
Usability has become an essential goal in product development. Joshi claims ease of use is “the biggest thing we need to work on.”

* Software and the Web are becoming the primary focus for many businesses.
According to Joshi, for the printing and imaging group, 60-70 percent of the engineering effort is in software development, not hardware.

* Social media and user generated content are fundamentally changing business.
Sharing photos is clearly moving from a paper-based medium to a Web-based model. Many of the sessions today detailed the Web 2.0 phenomenon.

Regarding social media, Mark asked a question that resonated with me personally. Are we seeing the “PageMaker” (desktop publishing) phenomenon again?

In the 80’s I worked for the Aldus corporation in the effort to prepare Windows PageMaker 1.0 to ship, and spent a lot of time testing output from an original HP Laserjet. I’ve felt for some time now that social media (and blogs in particular) are indeed the latest incarnation of the DTP phenomenon.