How Samsung aims to put developers at the forefront of the printing apps revolution

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.


It’s always better working to live rather than living to work; and continual advancements in technology are improving the workplace experience.

Samsung released a report last year as part of its Smarter Futures series, envisaging the office of 2025. The study argued that increases in big data and analytics, as well as smart technology, will enable employees to use any surface as a screen.

It’s a long way off, admittedly. But there is a case for more low hanging fruit to be targeted. Take Samsung’s Smart UX Center, a printing UX system which combines open architecture with customisation and the flexibility to make the traditional printer work for organisations, rather than the other way around. The Korean giant is aiming to transform printing with what is being claimed as the first of its kind system – with developers at the forefront of the revolution.

“We think this is a great opportunity for developers,” says Kasey Kim, vice president of R&D at Samsung Printing Solutions. “Just like smart TVs have become the focal point of the smart home, the Smart UX Center can turn the multi-function printer [MFP] into the hub of the office, so any business with an MFP will need apps.”

The market opportunity is big. According to market research firm IDC, both the total managed print and document services market and the basic print services markets are expected to grow over the next few years from $13.4bn and $17.9bn in 2014, respectively, to $21.8bn and $26.1bn by 2019. Put in perspective, this is a combined $48bn dollars in addressable market value, with an increasing focus on customized services that can help businesses streamline operations.

Printing applications – and the printing market in general – is ripe for disruption. Today, the Samsung Printing App Center is home to lots of apps which improve the printing experience; from apps which allow users to send faxes remotely, to mobile printing, to creating your own workflow with multiple tasks.

But the potential opportunities are limitless.

Starting this month and continuing until the middle of October, Samsung is running a competition for app developers and enterprise users to come up with new printing app ideas, with cash prizes totalling $33,000, as well as potential partnerships, on offer. To help developers get started, the company has put together a guide on how to launch apps in the UX centre.

“With our expertise in the printing industry, we’re using this guide to work closely with app developers to vitalize the global printing app market,” said David SW Song, senior vice president of the sales and marketing team at Samsung Printing Solutions. “Samsung will continue to seek ways to improve the printing environment for offices everywhere and strengthen its position as the leading company in the global printing ecosystem,” he added.

For Samsung, while the potential partnerships on offer to contest winners may form an attractive part of the competition, the overriding theme is somewhat more altruistic – changing the face of printing, and with it the workplace.

“We have created the core technology,” says Samsung principal engineer Juho Eum. “We’re depending on the creativity of the developer community to really make it shine.”

You can find out more about the competition by taking a look at the event page here.

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