Technology is the key to addressing the current crisis
How new solutions help organisations counteracting the negative effects of the Covid-19 crisis
Beyond its human toll, the current situation is placing a significant burden on businesses around the world. Companies and institutions reacted quickly and responsibly, prioritising the safety of their employees, customers and partners. Consequentially, established workflows and production chains were completely overthrown or halted within a matter of weeks. To recover from this unprecedented external shock – while at the same time continuing to ensure the highest level of safety for their employees – organisations will need to pursue new, innovative paths. Technology is a key lever for this and a trusted IT services partner such as Konica Minolta provides both the necessary know-how as well as the needed tools. These range from secure remote working solutions, to print devices which need minimal physical contact to intelligent video solutions helping to identify potential health risks and covering other security-related aspects.
The current developments have painfully demonstrated to us how vulnerable we are – as individuals, as organisations and as societies. This virus has turned our strength as a globally connected society against us. Yet, I am sure we will be able to stand up to it and its effects relying on another one of our strengths: our ingenuity and relentless drive to innovate.
Technology holds the key to tackle the current challenges in ensuring the safety of the workforce while ensuring business continuity and keeping us more and better connected than ever before in history
From a centralised business to a productive, decentralised collaborative network
As the share of ‘knowledge workers’ in our economies is steadily growing, working from home has been an option for a significant part of the workforce. The European Commission forecasts an increase of knowledge workers of 50-60% by 2030. Many departments in all kinds of organisations – from small business to large corporations to institutions – can effectively work independent of place and time. At least in theory, if they have the necessary tools. “While some organisations have been reluctant to embrace mobile work in the past, we are seeing an understandable surge in demand for such solutions”, says Lorenz: “In virtually all cases, the main barrier for the introduction of remote working solutions is not that this would be technologically impossible. Rather, it is a company culture issue that requires physical presence.” Positive experiences and best practices of remote working in the industries will reduce such hesitations as almost everyone was part of possible the largest homeoffice project in global.
Konica Minolta helps customers to unlock the potential of digital collaboration, providing them with exactly the solutions matching the needs of their organisation. The prime example for a powerful overall platform is the company’s Workplace Hub: It is an all-in-one solution that is not just providing the specific IT infrastructure needed but also a set of dedicated collaboration tools. The maintenance is ensured by Konica Minolta, and so are the constant management of licenses and updates. Available as part of Workplace Hub or in a standalone-version, the collaboration platform WorkplaceGo makes working across the organisation or with external partners without boundaries possible – including the seamless integration of Microsoft Office 365 and third-party applications. As a cloud-based solution, Microsoft Office 365- for example - is built to make decentralized work and collaboration possible. With Microsoft Teams, virtual meetings and seamless working in a team together in a single document can be a true game-changer for businesses, independent of circumstances such as the current crisis. For seamlessly, efficiently and safely sharing documents in the organization independent of device, location and time, Konica Minolta is providing dokoni SYNC & SHARE. “Such solutions allow you to bring together your best people – wherever they are”, explains Lorenz.
Helping to protect onsite employees with smart solutions
However, many employees need to be physically present in their companies.
Wherever employees cannot work from home, our approach is to provide innovative solutions that minimise risks as well. In office environments, for example, Konica Minolta’s current printers can all be remotely accessed via all common devices – minimising physical contact with the printers.
In retail or in the public sector, though, workplaces need to be accessed by many people – this is most visibly in the healthcare sector. Here, intelligent video solutions, such as Konica Minolta’s MOBOTIX devices, can provide important support: The thermal sensors of these cameras are able to detect abnormal body temperatures, for example. This can be used as an indicator, to take further precautionary measures. In addition, they can also serve e.g. for building protection in times of remote working.
Committed to overcoming the crisis – worldwide
Being a global company with a highly diversified portfolio, Konica Minolta supports many global initiatives. In Italy, for example, Konica Minolta works on improvements of the health system, by working together with the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, a research facility in Genoa, and the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia. Together, robots are developed to support the monitoring of patients – unburdening the medical staff. Furthermore, the weekly reports released by the R&D Lab of Konica Minolta in Rome are a widely accepted and used source by the Italian media. In Australia, Konica Minolta uses its 3D-printers to produce personal protective equipment and ventilators for medical staff, while Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Limited takes part in the initiative C19 Business pledge to tackle the crisis along with 200 companies from an economical side.
In the United States, the Konica Minolta subsidiary Ambry Genetics is working on providing tests for essential frontline employees and patients. Ambry aims at providing several thousands of polymerase chain reaction tests per week. Beyond this commitment, Konica Minolta, Inc and its Chinese subsidiaries have donated multi-functional printers (MFPs) and medical equipment to the value of $1.2 million in supplies in China. The products were donated to people suffering from the current crisis.
“We are all in this challenging situation together. Konica Minolta is committed to bringing it its knowledge and products to facilitate the current situation for businesses and employees. Having such a diversified portfolio we can contribute in many different ways. In providing collaboration tools for remote workers and further smart solutions, such as MOBOTIX cameras and smart printers, we aim to support every customer in this situation optimally”, concludes Olaf Lorenz from Konica Minolta.
 European Commission, 2019, Developments and Forecasts of Changing Nature of Work, https://ec.europa.eu/knowledge4policy/foresight/topic/changing-nature-work/developments-forecasts-changing-nature-work_en
About Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe
Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH, based in Langenhagen, Germany, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Konica Minolta Inc., Tokyo, Japan. Konica Minolta enables its clients to champion the digital era: with its unique imaging expertise and data processing capabilities, Konica Minolta creates relevant solutions for its customers and solves issues faced by society. As a provider of comprehensive IT services, Konica Minolta delivers consultancy and services to optimise business processes with workflow automation. The company further offers its customers solutions and managed services in the field of IT infrastructure and IT security as well as cloud environments. With regard to its office printing solutions, ‘IDC MarketScape: Western Europe Smart Multifunctional Peripheral 2018 Vendor Assessment’ stated that Konica Minolta is ‘recognised globally as a leading smart MFP provider of note’. As a strong partner for the professional printing market, Konica Minolta offers business consulting, state-of-the-art technology and software and has established itself as the production printing market leader for more than a decade in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa (InfoSource). In the healthcare sector, Konica Minolta drives digitalisation of clinical workflows and offers a broad range of next-level diagnostic solutions. Its Business Innovation Centre in London and four R & D laboratories in Europe enable Konica Minolta to bring innovation forward by collaborating with its customers as well as academic, industrial and entrepreneurial partners. For its solutions that combine ‘smart service with smart technology’, Konica Minolta was awarded the prestigious ‘Buyers Lab PaceSetter Award for Outstanding Serviceability 2018/2019’ from Keypoint Intelligence. Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe is represented by subsidiaries and distributors in more than 80 countries in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. With almost 10,300 employees (as of April 2019), Konica Minolta Europe earned net sales of over EUR 2.39 billion in financial year 2018/19.
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