Israeli firm Preton (pronounced pre-tone) has secured a patent for its ‘pixel optimiser’ technology which it says can significantly reduce printing costs by more efficiently printing everyday computer documents.
The technology uses algorithms to identify and remove overlapping and wasteful pixels during the printing process, thereby reducing the amount of ink or toner required – but not reducing the quality of the printed document.
The company says that enterprise customers using its PretonSaver software – a print management solution – along with the pixel optimisation technology have been reporting average savings of 25-35% on their printing costs without any compromise on quality, with larger firms achieving monthly savings of up to $200,000.
A Tel Aviv-based start-up, Preton has been around for a few years already and its technology is already installed on around one million desktops, mainly in Europe and Asia. CEO and founder Ori Eizenberg told OPI that Preton has been enjoying success in the UK market, especially in the public sector. One police force, he said, had reduced its print output by 30% after implementing the PretonSaver software, and was making savings on the remaining 70% by using pixel optimisation.
Preton has also established a foothold in the US, forming a partnership in 2011 with managed print provider Pharos, which has bundled the Preton technology into its Blueprint solution for enterprise customers. It has also recently opened its own US office in Florida.
Preton’s software comes in three versions – home, small business and enterprise – and a cloud version of PretonSaver has just been released. Pricing is based on the number of PCs involved and is set at between $1 and $2 per PC per month. Currently available for Windows platforms, Eizenberg said he was looking at developing an Apple-compatible version and is also keeping a close eye on the evolution of mobile printing and what that could mean for the print market.
Eizenberg said he was now looking to establish partnerships with large, multinational players in the managed print or print hardware sectors, and that discussions along those lines were already under way. OEMs – which largely saw pixel optimisation technology as a threat – are now beginning to see it as a potential benefit, he argued, especially as they develop their own managed print offerings and look for differentiating solutions. Managed print providers are also looking for something different as managed print services (MPS) becomes more widespread, even commoditised.
According to the latest figures from research firm IDC, the worldwide MPS market is set to grow from $26.2 billion in 2011 to $47 billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 12.4%, so there is clearly potential.
“We believe Preton will continue to see success globally,” said Holly Muscolino, Research Director at IDC. “As the MPS market matures, both suppliers and their customers will be looking for additional avenues for greater efficiencies and cost savings. The industry will embrace technologies such as pixel optimiser as a competitive differentiator and a way to drive up margins.”
Despite recent concerns that print is in secular decline, Eizenberg says he is not noticing decreases in print volumes from Preton’s installed customer base. The number of actual printers that a company owns may be falling, he states, but this is not necessarily translating into lower print output, even with the rise in the number of tablet devices.
With the patent now secured, the Preton CEO is comfortable that his firm will maintain its advantage in the pixel optimisation field. Major players such as Adobe have been looking at developing their own technology – Adobe launched its LeanPrint product earlier this year, though this appears to work as more of a pre-print document analysis tool. What it does, though, is add more credibility to the whole notion of pixel optimisation.
As more players in the OP/productivity industry offer MPS solutions, those pushing a cost reduction message with their customers will surely be interested in looking at pixel optimisation technology.