Printer makers tap on cloud solutions to remain relevant

Firms like Epson are offering printing as a service, helping companies cut time wastage and cost.

In Summary
  • A recent report shows that cloud computing could eliminate a billion metric tons of CO2 emissions by the end of 2024. 
  • Advanced technologies are gaining popularity, pushing the global printer market to grow from $10.71 billion in 2022 to $11.37 billion in 2023.
Epson Regional Head ,East and West Africa – Mukesh Bector during the Epson Media Workshop.
Epson Regional Head ,East and West Africa – Mukesh Bector during the Epson Media Workshop.
Image: Handout

The push for the manufacture of durable electronic devices is forcing firms to devise newer ways to survive in the short and medium term rather than depending on product sales. 

Unlike a few years ago when companies could entirely rely on selling products and their components to sustain operations, changing regulations on e-waste management is rapidly tilting the scale.

The Manufacturers producing devices with longer life cycles mean companies are having to devise newer ways to ensure they still remain in operation.

One such revolution has been witnessed in the printer manufacturing space.

In an era marked by growing environmental consciousness, printing firms are rolling out greener solutions that also help customers cut operational costs. 

This is even as studies show that with the right printing technologies, companies can cut carbon emissions by over 80 per cent and almost 45 per cent of printing costs. 

The latest report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that cloud computing could eliminate a billion metric tons of CO2 emissions by the end of 2024. 

Major players operating in the printing industry like Epson are having to re-focus on developing advanced technology solutions like printing as a service that enables organisations to cut on operating costs through outsourcing of printing services

In 2018, Epson for instance pioneered the industry with c– a Print as a Service (PaaS) programme for IT value-added resellers selling to small and medium-sized businesses.

The firm says that with organisations increasingly adopting paperless operations, purchasing printers is emerging as an additional cost to businesses.

“With the market trends shifting from selling devices to selling services, resellers are looking for tools that ensure they retain the long-term relationship with their end users while also receiving the full value of that relationship,'' the firm says about Cornerstone in a product review. 

This program assists resellers in establishing enduring relationships with their customers, capturing the complete end-user system revenue and margin while concurrently reducing the overall cost for IT VARs (Value-Added Resellers) to serve their clientele.

Overdrive Consultants Kenya director Keval Devani says that at first, they were skeptical about switching to a service model, but after adopting Epson everything changed.

“The efficiency gains are incredible, and the cost savings have exceeded our expectations. Our printers are now dependable assets, contributing to our success. In the past, we calculated ROI on printer purchases, now we just pay for what we print,” said Devani.

In Platform as a Service (PaaS), Epson says it involves developing cloud-based platforms that enable seamless integration of printing services into various applications and workflows.

This essentially means multiple organisations can independently use a single printer for all their needs.

Epson’s prowess in Cloud Computing has resulted in cloud-enabled printing services that offer flexibility and scalability for businesses of all sizes.


Through deeper engagement in Managed Print Services (MPS), collaborations with partners such as Epson and HP can lead to additional cost savings, particularly for industries reliant on extensive document usage.

Studies suggest that sectors such as law firms could reduce print expenses by up to 41 percent through properly managed services, while financial institutions and healthcare organisations might achieve savings of 33 percent and 27 percent respectively.

“Epson's Printer as A Service embodies reliability. With their proactive maintenance and support, we've experienced minimal disruptions to our workflow. The reduced operational costs have been a welcome bonus, boosting our bottom line. The ink is large and needs changing only after printing 50+ reams and we have noted consistency in print quality and speed,” added Devani.

Studies show that the industry is one of the hardest hit by the changing business landscape, pushing industry players to the edge as they struggle to remain relevant.

High operating costs of the printer are a key factor that hinders the growth of the printer market. 

Market research shows that low-cost printer uses ink cartridges, one black, and one-color cartridge to work and it can cost $40 to $60 to purchase brand-name substitutes for both.

If users print a lot, they will have to replace them regularly and the complete set of replacement color ink cartridges may exceed the original price of an inkjet printer in some cases.

The high operating costs of printers are likely to restrict the printer market growth in the coming years.

Even so, advancing technologies are gaining popularity, pushing the global printer market to grow from $10.71 billion in 2022 to $11.37 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1 percent. 

“The streamlined experience, coupled with the cost-saving benefits, has allowed us to reallocate resources towards innovation and growth. The wastage and unauthorized printing has been cut back thanks to all the user-based configurations and limits we were able to enable per department,” added Devani

The report by Gartner shows shipments in the Middle East & Africa region were up by 32 per cent compared to Q1 2022 but were down by 17.6 per cent compared to Q4 2022

The report valued the global commercial printing market size/share at $466.64 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $574.12 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 2.4 per cent during the forecast period.

This is attributed to the fact that it is used by businesses to strengthen communication, drive sales and build brand awareness. 


Apart from cutting costs, printing as a service is helping companies cut time wastage. 

A study conducted by Gartner suggests that around 50 per cent of help desk calls are related to print.

This means that the IT department is constantly at the back and call of any printer issues; thus decreasing productivity when it comes to achieving their daily tasks.


When pursuing net zero targets, moving IT systems to cloud-based solutions is something that any company can do, and is a great first step.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) estimates that this can reduce carbon emissions by as much as 88 per cent compared to on-premise systems that are inefficiently utilised and need constant cooling.

While the technology has full of positives, it presents several challenges that have the potential to sink companies. 

A Cisco report highlight the risks of unsecured printers and also suggested businesses' best practices for integrating print into an overall information security strategy.

It states that 60 per cent of businesses in the United Kingdom, United States, France, and Germany suffered a print-related data breach in the last year, which resulted in a data loss that cost companies an average of more than $400,000.

The report says that as printing technology continues to advance, IT professionals must stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the print industry.

"Training programmes and workshops focused on printing technologies, cybersecurity, and network infrastructure will empower IT teams to make informed decisions when selecting printing solutions,'' the report says.

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