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Anne Sharp

There is no doubt that HP’s ambition has been met with success. Brendan Perring speaks to Anne Sharp, UK and Ireland large-format marketing manager at HP, about how it is achieving this

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“The transformation from analogue to digital in the decoration market has only just started to ramp up, so there are huge opportunities for growth,” says Anne Sharp

The juggernaut of print rolls on

The wide-format print technology sector is fiercely contested, what is HP’s history in it and what are the key factors underpinning your success to date?

The key to HP’s success is a combination of many different factors, but at the heart of everything we do is our focus on our customers. We are the leading printing and personal systems technology company in the world, and in an ever-changing, connected world, HP Inc. keeps reinventing itself, its technologies, and what tomorrow holds. This is so industries, communities, and individuals can keep reinventing how they operate, ideate, and create what matters the most to them.

We operate with the heart, creativity, and energy of a start-up, but with the brain, muscles, and determination of a Fortune 100 corporation. We use this unique combination, along with our 50,000 world-class employees and 76-year legacy of innovation, to engineer experiences that amaze our customers.

We operate with the heart, creativity, and energy of a start-up

We believe in a blended reality created by the fusion of the physical and digital worlds. We believe everyone is a creator when empowered by intuitive, accessible technology. And we believe technology should work for you and adapt to your needs, context, and environment. With a diverse range of presses and applications, and the sheer breadth of our product range, HP is able to continually disrupt the large-format printing sector and deliver customers game-changing solutions.

We believe in a blended reality created by the fusion of the physical and digital worlds

What are the two top growth markets that print-service-providers should diversify into using HP’s wide-format technology and why?

We are seeing significant traction in two key areas: the move from single-function to multifunction in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) market and the growth in the signage/decoration market for HP Latex technology. This is due to the versatility of these systems to print on a wide breadth of substrates from vinyl and canvas through to wallpaper and textiles.
Within the AEC market, the growing need for collaboration between companies and geographies is key. Having large-format devices that enable this through the ability to scan and share—as well as copying and printing as an all-in-one device—brings true business benefits to a small company without the need for a huge initial investment.

The other area is the expansion into interior decoration, where customers can create beautiful, unique products including textiles and wallcoverings using industry-leading print technology. The transformation from analogue to digital in the decoration market has only just started to ramp up so there are huge opportunities for growth.
HP has also recognised the huge potential for growth in this sector—our HP Latex devices are at the forefront of this trend, with software including HP Wall Art offering users a more interactive relationship with customers, and strengthening collaboration with clients.
What is your own career history, and what do you enjoy most about your current role?

I personally have been in the print industry in one form or another for over 20 years, which I cannot really believe. I have always worked for manufactures, mostly in product management or marketing roles, and I have been involved in the launch of so many new technologies and seen them make a real impact and difference to our customers—cheesy as that sounds, it is always quite exciting. And in that time, I have covered everything from large-format printing to subscription-based models for the consumer print market. I think that is what I enjoy about my role is the ever-changing nature of the print market, there is always something new round the corner.

In my current role I look after the marketing of HP’s range of large-format printers for the UK and Ireland markets.

The diversity of our product range and the type of customers that we engage with means no two days are the same, which is always interesting and keeps me on my toes.

With FESPA just concluded, and The Print Show in the UK coming up, what did you roll out for the former and what are your plans for the latter?

When we attend trade shows, it is always with the objective of being able to meet and interact with our customers and showcase the best of our technology and applications. This enables our customers to come and talk to us about what they need and how we can work together—we felt that we met those objectives at The Print Show last year and that is why we made the decision to sign immediately to attend The Print Show in 2018.

Super-wide: HP brought out its big guns for The Print Show 2017

FESPA 2018 for HP was the launch pad for a lot of exciting new products, both in terms of new technology announcements such as the HP Latex R series, and some other new product announcement within exciting technology categories. Along with product announcements we took customers on a journey of applications, as at the end of the day it is all about what exciting new opportunities in print the new technologies can bring to our customers. At The Print Show 2018, we will be continuing this story and we will be showing for the first time at a UK show the new HP Latex R series.

What is your very latest piece of technology and what are its strengths?

This is hot off the press, as we launched this breakthrough innovation at FESPA with the HP Latex R series, HP’s first latex technology capable of printing on flexible and rigid materials with HP Latex Ink. It brings the most vibrant colours into the rigid printing world, and pioneers white ink capabilities with the introduction of HP Latex white ink.

The Print Show will be the UK launch site for the Latex R series, HP’s first technology capable of printing on flexible and rigid materials with its Latex ink

Equipped with a single, six-colour ink set, the HP Latex R series technology delivers unprecedented quality at speed, and is the first, true hybrid latex technology that merges HP’s renowned flexible printing capabilities into rigid printing.

The HP Latex R series brings unparalleled quality to a wide range of rigid materials, such as foamboards, foam PVC, cardboard, fluted polypropylene, solid plastics, aluminium, wood, and glass, among others. Unlike UV printing technology, which creates a thick layer of ink that completely covers the material and requires time to dry, HP’s water-based latex inks preserve the look and feel of the media. It also delivers odourless prints that are both safe for the environment and the printer operator.

Launched in 2009, the HP Latex series has been a runaway success for the company

Tackling one of the industry’s most pervasive limitations in printing, HP’s white latex ink has an innovative system that recirculates the white ink —both within the ink delivery system and at the print head—to avoid settling. It also has a unique storage system with automatic agitation for when the ink is not being used to minimise waste. For the first time, HP’s innovative white latex ink delivers glossy, high-quality ‘true white’ that does not yellow over time like traditional UV-based white ink does.

HP is often characterised as a market ‘disrupter’, whether that is through your purchase of Indigo or the launch of Latex which swept the market, what is the DNA that drivers that trend?

Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard created more than an audio oscillator in that Palo Alto garage, they built a way of doing business—the HP Way. It has guided us as we have graduated from the garage to the globe, and it continues to share how we at HP create technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. The HP Way fuels how we engineer experiences that amaze, and it inspires us to keep reinventing. Our 76-year legacy of innovation comes to life in all the remarkable ways we work together to imagine the future and make it happen.

HP’s mission is to engineer experiences that amaze, and nowhere is that truer than in the world of graphic solutions and large-format print. We want to enable our customers to accelerate their growth and expand to new markets with breakthrough technology for signage and decoration.

Key stats

  • Date HP founded: January 1st 1939
  • Date HP Inc founded: November 1st 2015
  • Number of global employees:  50,000
  • Date of HP Latex launch: 2009

For the full interview go to www.signlink.co.uk and search ‘Sharp’.

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