Changing the Way Work Gets Done: One Year Later, Xerox’s ConnectKey Workplace Assistants Still Making their Mark

It’s been a year since Xerox Corp. unveiled its most ambitious product launch in its century-plus existence with the release of the 29 ConnectKey-enabled AltaLink and VersaLink printers and multifunction devices. Xerox took to the road to promote its unprecedented product unveiling, visiting more than 25 countries in its Future of Work Global Tour, an initiative that has been warmly received by channel partners, end users, consultants and others.

Zia Masoom, Xerox

A number of products have been recognized with awards (more on that later) and it has positioned the manufacturer as a leader with its intuitive, secure and open platform that allows for customizable solutions that invites creativity while fostering productivity. We sat down with Zia Masoom, Global Marketing, Office Technology, Workplace Solutions Business Group for Xerox, to take the pulse of its performance at the one-year mark and gain insight into the work that went into this bold undertaking.

As celebrated as last year’s prolific and unprecedented product launch was for Xerox, much work went into the marketing of these new lines. Tell us about the making of the Future of Work Global Tour, and what was Xerox able to accomplish with this initiative.

Masoom: The premise of the Future of Work Global Tour was to offer customers, channel partners and prospects an opportunity to see—and personally experience—our new ConnectKey-enabled AltaLink and VersaLink products in locations where they work and live. This was a key element in our launch plans, making our technology real and accessible soon after the global announcement.

We wanted to fully engage our audience in Xerox’s largest product launch, to make them feel part of history. The Future of Work tour did just that and more—it offered a platform to demonstrate the value of the Workplace Assistant live and in person.

The tour’s atmosphere was electric as attendees quickly realized these devices could make work more productive, efficient and easier. We created an environment that allowed attendees to see and experience ConnectKey’s five main attributes (intuitive user experience; mobile and cloud connectivity; benchmark security; managed print services and productivity-boosting apps) in a low-pressure, informative and educational manner.

How have these Workplace Assistants been received by the market? What kind of feedback have you received?

Masoom: We’ve all experienced how mobile devices have made our personal lives more productive, and our Workplace Assistants are doing the same thing for the office. Feedback from customers and channel partners around the world has been very positive. People get it and are anxious to experience the benefits of our ConnectKey-enabled devices.

While there are several reasons behind the positive response, I think some key factors are the consistent touchscreen user interface across the entire line, the productivity boosting apps and security safeguards. This product line has also gained traction because users know that we’ve built the ConnectKey platform to address both the challenges and opportunities that exist in today’s office environment.

The AltaLink C8055 color MFP garnered a top printer award from CRN. What has enabled this model to resonate with end users?

Masoom: The AltaLink C8055 Color MFP sits very nicely in the middle part of office color portfolio and has garnered wide acceptance in that positioning. As a leading product of the Xerox mid-range product line, it derives its smart design and intuitive user experience from the ConnectKey technology hardware and software vision that makes work simple, easy and productive. The device has a broad appeal for medium-to-large workgroups looking for extra productivity within an affordable price range.

The VersaLink B7000 and AltaLink C8000 MFPs captured Editor’s Choice Awards from Better Buys. What are some of the key differentiators that enable these models to stand out from competitive offerings?

Masoom: Winning Better Buys’ Editor’s Choice Awards was a significant validation of the ConnectKey platform.  Both VersaLink and AltaLink provide many features as standard, whereas our competitors offer them as options. This value-added benefit is likely an important factor for Better Buys; for example, high paper capacity, flexible finishing options in addition to the NFC and security features that are built in to these devices, provide the user higher value. These devices have a true tablet-like interface which feels just like a mobile device—simple and intuitive—requiring very little or no training to use.

In regards to the AltaLink C8000 MFPs, they offer two key security differentiators: whitelisting technology from McAfee and integration with Cisco ISE.

Have solution partners devised any creative app integrations that have enhanced their MFP experience?

Masoom: Yes, we have a number of great examples of solution partners developing apps that are available to customers on the Xerox App Gallery, including:

  • XMedius SendSecure: Enables reliable and simple secure file exchange with a built-in audit trail for compliance with today’s strictest regulations.
  • MidAmerica Technology’s SignMe: Eliminates the need to print, fill out and then scan a document that requires a handwritten signature, allowing users to enter notes on the document once it is loaded as a print job and sign on the front panels of the Xerox device.
  • Mid America Technology’s SellMe: Allows businesses to create personalized and customized sales brochures in four touches of the UI screen.
  • JustTech’s Firmware Connect: Enables automatic firmware updates on many Xerox models.
  • e-Dox’s Timestamp App: Timestamps documents during the scanning process. This is for those that need to timestamp scans with a qualified timestamp to prove the integrity of a scanned document and the hardcopy is destroyed afterwards.

Moving forward, are there any planned enhancements or changes for future iterations of the ConnectKey line?

Masoom: Xerox continues to innovate the Workplace Assistant and ConnectKey technology. Enhancements and changes will be announced as an ongoing effort.

Zia Masoom leads worldwide marketing of Xerox ConnectKey Technology and Office midrange multifunction printer portfolio. He is a member of the Xerox Workplace Solutions Business Group, based in Rochester, NY.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.