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Deal! Stramaglio Makes the Case for M2M Technologies

3 Jul, 2006 By: Marc Spring imageSource

Deal! Stramaglio Makes the Case for M2M Technologies

veteran, Mike Stramaglio, celebrated Independence Day a few weeks early this
year, closing a $10 million dollar “deal” that makes him President/CEO of the
newly formed MWA Intelligence, Inc.

Like the NBC game show, Deal or No Deal, which challenges players to choose a
briefcase they think may contain up to $1 million dollars, questioning the
player’s confidence by offering them other “deals” while narrowing the field of
briefcases, Stramaglio’s long career as a key industry player makes him a
favorite to succeed. From senior management positions at Minolta and Ricoh to
COO of Hitachi Koki Imaging Solutions, or CEO of Imaging Portals to his latest
position as General Manager of EFI’s MWA Solutions, Stramaglio has proven
himself as an industry visionary who knows the right “briefcase” to pick,
knowing just when to make and take the deal.

Purchasing the assets of the Mobile Workforce Automation division of
Electronics For Imaging, Inc. (EFI), Stramaglio will build on a 14-year history
of leadership in field service management and the rapid growth of the
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) space to transform field service operations from a
necessary cost center into a revenue generation vehicle, and customer retention
opportunity for customers, partners, end users, and vendors in the industry.

“EFI has taken a position that they needed to focus on a new and core
business strategy and MWA was not a part of this focused effort,” said
Stramaglio. “They also believed that MWA Intelligence needed independence to
focus its resources on its customers, partners and employees with the necessary
resources, speed and aggressiveness required for a leadership position in the
high-growth and fast-paced M2M space.”

M2M revolves around the automation of assets such as utility meters,
elevators, combines, trucking, medical imaging, vending machines, and
yes…copiers, printers, MFPs and other office equipment. The industry is on track
to exceed $100 Billion by 2010. This is nearly equivalent to the entire document
technology marketplace. And, these figures are being achieved in one-third the
amount of time it took the document technology industry.

“Everyone in the copier channel has heard about solutions selling, automated
meter reading, bi-directional service, inventory management, supply chain
management and other areas capable of improvement via technology,” continued
Stramaglio. “Our business is once again morphing. Over the past several years
we’ve seen changes in color, scanning, MFPs, and printer-to-copier migration.
What’s the next generation? We have clearly left the box; the box became the
enabler to the software. Technology continues to move rapidly toward
software-based solutions: scan, remote printing, and networked-based solutions.
There are an infinite number of possibilities to leverage technologies of today
and in the future. We are no longer tied to the channel. We’ve been talking
about it for years, but today it’s not talk anymore, it’s a huge opportunity for

M2M is an all encompassing type of technology platform and is associated with
many new and exciting technologies. Automated metering for copiers is just an
example of evolving technology solving a major supply chain dysfunction with
real-time solutions born out of M2M technology. PDAs are becoming ubiquitous
and, increasingly, feature embedded Internet capabilities. Companies are adding
more and more features to these simple handheld devices that are used to carry
out business-critical and secure activities on a daily basis by their remote
mobile workers.

In addition, companies are looking to use these embedded technologies to
monitor assets remotely and automatically with minimum to no human intervention.
As mass adoption of wireless networking takes place, the embedded technologies
will be connected to the Internet via wireless networks. Information being
received from a variety of different devices must be delivered into secure
databases, ERP/CRM systems for further processing, reporting, analysis, billing
and more. All the components of the supply chain must be connected and
integrated to drive profit to a companies’ bottom line.

Another example in automating inventory management would be leveraging RFID
technology to track mobile inventory. RFID is gaining popularity over barcode
scanning due to its accuracy and ease of use. Tying the automation of a service
operation and asset management together can be a very powerful combination.
Assets can indicate maintenance codes and automatically can place service calls
by advanced remote diagnostics for increased response times and greater customer
satisfaction. In addition, automated service call creation can greatly reduce
expenses in any service operation by allowing technicians to troubleshoot less
significant problems via the phone instead of immediately being dispatched.

“Our enterprise and applications for service management (Intelligent Service
and Intelligent Workforce) and remote asset management (Intelligent Assets)
improve customer satisfaction as well as real-time expense recovery, creating
opportunities for new and greater sales, and repeat sales,” said Stramaglio.

1. Governance - The utility industry faces challenges: intense
competition, regulatory compliance, growing public criticism of increased
pricing, frequent mergers and acquisitions, cost-effective yet environmentally
friendly solutions, and more. Regulatory policies and governance shape the
utilities industry, and us, as daily end users.

2. Economics & Investment - As the economy fluctuates, companies face
periodic revenue shortfalls, so begin to watch where they spend money. They look
for lower-cost solutions and technologies with immediate or greater long-term

3. Technology/Integration/Standardization - As regulatory policies and
changing economics shape our future, automation, integrated solutions, and
standard practices are becoming more important. Companies demand integrated
solutions as they facilitate the need to limit their utility resources yet
comply with standards like Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).

4. Data Integrity & System Security - Despite the concerns around the
security of wireless and web-enabled applications, wireless technologies and the
Internet are still aggressively moving forward.

5. Web and Wireless Solutions - Technologies such as Bluetooth, Zigbee,
Mesh Technology, intuitive browsers, a variety of open-architecture software and
device-diagnostic hardware solutions are emerging as a necessity for any
business operation.

6. Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) - This multi-billion dollar issue
is in the office equipment market and in other industries as well. Solutions for
locating, tracking, managing and automating remote assets are required to
maintain competitive advantage.

7. Customer Care & Satisfaction - We experienced dramatic increases in
demand for workforce management including scheduling, dispatching, processing,
re-assigning, prioritizing and tracking of workforce and/or work orders.

“I am frequently asked why M2M, and even why automation is good for a dealer,
said Stramaglio. “The real question should be, ‘What is best for the customer,
how does the customer benefit and how does the dealer support it?’” According to
Stramaglio, dealers who have deployed MWA’s service management solutions under
EFI have enjoyed a significant increase in the number of service calls by as
many as 1.4 calls per day. In a recently study conducted by five dealers,
results indicated that, on average, these dealers closed 3.44 calls before using
MWA service management and automation solutions. After utilizing MWA’s same five
dealers, over a six-month period, increased from an average of 3.44 to 4.53
calls per day.

Effective M2M technology allows dealers to manage their mobile service
workforce and their company’s assets in time efficient and accurate billing. The
result is better DSO, improved AR, better cash flow and happier customers.

“Collecting meters today have been researched to death. Cost ranges from $7
to $28 per read,” said Stramaglio. “This is unacceptable and needs to be solved
by new technology, supported by the demand of customers who no longer wish to be
bothered by fax cards, telephone calls, e-mail and/or carrier pigeons. We know
this cost can be reduced to a few dollars and the attitude, performance and
customer satisfaction is well worth it.”

Dealers today have the opportunity to avail themselves of products that
support printing, scanning, professional services, routing and all sorts of data
mining and other solutions that will provide short-term and long-term advantages
for the user and the dealer. The dealer can ill afford to miss the opportunity
because they are waiting for the OEMs to guide them or provide them the
solutions necessary for dealer success.

“The dealer business model is an interesting contrast in that it is both
simple and yet complicated, which is not atypical for a mature industry such as
copiers. The good news is that our industry remains one of the most exciting and
lucrative industries worldwide.”

Document technology continues to morph and this next generation is the most
exciting yet. Copiers, printers and scanners all have their place as an
important component of the imaging solution suite. This is only a small slice of
what can happen when considering the entire imaging enterprise, whether it be
data mining capabilities from companies like MWA Intelligence, BEI, DLL, or
back-end ERP/CRM system requirements with companies like OMD Corporation,
Digital Gateway, La Crosse Management Systems, ECI2, Nexent Innovations, and
others, taking it further to opportunities yet to come.

Making the Right Choice

The most compelling part is yet to be told with the advent of
newtechnologies that will include, RFID, GSM, GPRS, Mesh Technology, Zigbee, and
a long list of others. These can be directed at providing more effective tools
for the dealer to employ and progress into other tools the dealers can and will
distribute for the benefit of the end user client.

“All of this technology is part and parcel of what I live and breathe every
day,” said Stramaglio. “Today’s technology must provide some type of ‘technology
warranty’ for the dealer, and this is what I believe we provide. It is our job
to ensure that we provide migration from connected to wireless and from hardware
to software via all of the above technologies, with partnerships required to
deliver the best applications for the dealer.”

“MWA Intelligence, Inc. is driven to provide a powerful array of software and
hardware solutions capable of improving very serious dysfunction in our supply
chain via a strong asset management enterprise suite of solutions,” Stramaglio
continued. “We are dedicated to internal growth via investments in R&D,
engineering, support, and sales & marketing. We are committed to an acquisition
strategy that will allow us to create or acquire the resources we need for
success in the M2M space!”

According to the latest research from InfoTrends, the U.S. copier marketplace
will consist of nearly 22M units by the end of 2006, with flat hardware sales
eroding further. ”We must concentrate on expense reduction, revenue capture and
new solutions capable of attracting new business via new models and/or
services,” said Stramaglio.

From improving low-cost print and job routing to sophisticated remote field
service and mobile workplace, M2M solutions are more astute with these changing
technologies than ever before. Dealers need to recognize that their customers
are looking beyond the box to solutions and are not going to be resistant or
embarrassed in pursuing remote service management or automated meter reading.

“This is a great time for dealers to become total solutions providers,” said
Stramaglio. “MWA Intelligence has the solutions and the opportunities for
growth. We’re ready to make a deal, are you?”

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