A Black-and-white Issue
Do your homework before switching to a digital copier. And consult with your IT folks to make sure you can network it later.
"The buzz word impacting everyone is digital. Digital is here to stay."
That's the word from Jeff Smith, director of consumer services for Buyers Laboratory, a Hackensack, N.J.-based consumer advocate for buyers of office equipment. But don't ditch that analog copier yet, Smith says. Although copier manufacturers are beginning the phasing-out process, analog copiers are going to be around longer than most people think.
"It's not going to be a short-term thing," says Smith. "I believe it will take eight to 10 years before the analog copier is really dead."
The future, though, does belong to digital, he adds.
"If you are a manufacturer and you don't have a full digital line, you are dead out there. Manufacturers are not going to go away from that," Smith says. It's not so much consumer demand driving this evolution, rather it's a sort of 'keeping up with the Joneses' manufacturing mentality.
Smith warns those in-plant managers thinking of switching to a digital copier to do some homework before jumping right in. He urges managers to work closely with their information technology department when selecting a digital copier. This is to avoid a huge obstacle down the line when you go to network the copier.
Smith also advises consumers to look for short-term contracts when leasing or renting equipment, and to stay away from making a purchase.
"You don't want to be buying old technology, nor do you want to be buying brand new technology that's not mature yet," he advises.
Smith says right now it is better to look for a 36- to 48-month lease or rental agreement than to buy either a digital or an analog copier. This will give new technologies a chance to mature and prove themselves, and come down in price.