A Print Appliance for Branch Office Success: The ThinPrint Hub

print appliance by ThinPrint

The print appliance ThinPrint Hub simplifies printing for branch offices and remote locations.

In Q1 2016, ThinPrint added hardware in the form of a print appliance to its portfolio for the first time – the ThinPrint Hub. How has the ThinPrint Hub developed over the past two years, where is it primarily used and what can customers expect in the future? We talked to Frank Hoffmann, responsible for the ThinPrint Hub and managing director at ThinPrint, about these and other questions.

ThinPrint Blog: Frank, first a quick look back. What were the reasons for launching the print appliance?

Frank Hoffmann: Our goal is to optimize our customers’ printing environments while significantly reducing their costs and administration workload. We definitely saw room for improvement here, particularly when it came to the integration of branch offices. We found that many of our customers used local print servers to integrate printers in their branch offices into the ThinPrint environment. We wanted to offer an alternative solution, i.e. a print appliance, which both saves the costs for hardware and the operating system as well as reduces the administrative workload and thus significantly reduces the burden on IT departments.

We have achieved this extremely successfully thanks to our ThinPrint Hub – it’s a powerful yet economic piece of hardware. The ThinPrint Hub is very easy to install and is managed centrally, so that IT specialists don’t even have to be available on site either during the initial installation or for maintenance. This of course saves not just a lot of time but also costs.

ThinPrint Blog: How have sales of the ThinPrint Hub developed?

Frank Hoffmann: Very, very good. Immediately after the release of the first hardware version in early 2016, we noticed high demand for test devices that clearly exceeded our quite positive expectations. Initially that meant some delivery problems keeping up with demand, but we were quickly able to increase production.

Another positive aspect was that many of these tests were so successful that the print appliance was immediately used in real conditions and corresponding follow-up orders were placed. In 2017, we found that the projects started to become significantly larger, which was also confirmed by an increasing average volume per order. We also saw for example, that after initial successful results with individual branches, customers connected the entire branch network via our print appliance and this trend is continuing in 2018.

ThinPrint Blog: Are there special verticals in which the ThinPrint Hub is particularly popular?

Frank Hoffmann: ThinPrint is used in a large number of different industries, and that of course also applies to ThinPrint Hub customers. It’s of course increasingly being used by customers who operate a large number of branch office and these customers can be from the finance sector or municipal administrations to name just two examples.

The Hub also plays an important role for customers for whom printing is a critical business process. With the parallel use of two ThinPrint Hubs, you instantly achieve high availability for clients. We also see that our print appliance is becoming increasingly important to our service providers. These customers benefit greatly from the fact that their clients’ printing environment can be integrated with minimal administrative effort. Service providers can now order the ThinPrint Hub directly via their customer account. Just like with licenses, usage is billed monthly.

ThinPrint Blog: How has the ThinPrint Hub developed technologically since its introduction?

Frank Hoffmann: The hardware version was updated to a new version (2.0) just a few weeks ago. This ensures that the ThinPrint Hub is fully up-to-date on the hardware side and that stable performance is ensured at all times, even with a large number of print jobs.

ThinPrint Blog: What new features have been added?

Frank Hoffmann: The ThinPrint Hub is constantly evolving, as we often include our customers’ feature requests. The Hub is also used as a release station for authentication at the printer for our pull-printing solution Personal Printing, printers are now also found automatically and no longer have to be created manually. And there are many other improvements that make using the Hubs even easier for admins as well as adding more security, such as support for the IEEE 802.1x standard.

ThinPrint Blog: Are there strategic partnerships?

Frank Hoffmann: The success of the ThinPrint Hub and its increasing use in larger environments naturally also entails higher technical requirements. Here, we strive to exploit the synergies that result from cooperation with other providers to the benefit of the customer. We are currently in ongoing negotiations with manufacturers from the IT infrastructure sector.

We’ll soon be able to announce a first partnership in this area. At this stage however, we can’t name specific details but can say that with this strategic partnership, we will be able to offer even greater improvements in terms of centralized management of the Hubs.

ThinPrint Blog: When you’re talking to potential customers, why should they choose the Hub?

Frank Hoffmann: It’s very simple – there’s simply no better way to integrate branch office print environments into centrally managed IT systems. You save on hardware and software costs and considerably reduce the workload of IT administrators with the ThinPrint Hub. With a list price of just €259/US$259, you can even save yourself a laborious ROI analysis.

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