Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In Search of Innovation Xerox joins the gang; and builds a new research facility in India.

Mar 17, 2010

Xerox Launches Innovation Hub in India

CHENNAI, India – A central concept behind "open innovation" is not only to have ideas yourself, but also to know where and when to learn from someone else. Xerox Corporation's (NYSE:XRX) new research facility – the Xerox India Innovation Hub – will bring together Xerox scientists and engineers with leading Indian academic institutions, research labs and industry partners. Its initial mission: develop document management solutions that are relevant to emerging market countries and contribute innovation to solutions and services delivery.

"The Xerox India Innovation Hub exemplifies our continued commitment to customers in the emerging markets," said Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox chief technology officer and president of the Xerox Innovation Group. "Creating a research facility in India allows us to make use of local knowledge and to extend that expertise to our global initiatives.""What is interesting about this is that outsourcing to India has been a common theme for quite a few years now. A highly educated workforce with a very low labor cost. We have seen our fortune 1000 outsource their IT to India, China, and the like; now even our greatest companies are sending out their research facilities. Now I don't think that Xerox has forsaken anyone at this juncture. They strategically need facilities all around the world to cover all of the areas that they serve this is just the newest one.

Both China and India have vied for US company's affection relative to outsourcing. In a very recent Forbes article, "China: $1 Billion And Ambition" by Rebecca Fannin, 03.19.10, 06:00 PM EDT What China is doing to become the world's outsourcing giant? She goes on to say in her commentary some of the efforts and hurdles that China has in their way. She mentions, "China's disadvantages compared with India are real, though. First, India has a natural advantage with English-language skills. Second, India is typically considered less risky when it comes to intellectual property protections. India also has an edge in managerial skills to tackle more high-end, technical projects." You can find her article at the above link.

Even with China's efforts and challenges India has been a first choice for outsourcers. Jack Welch opened a $130 million technology center in Bangalore India, which is GE's largest research and development center outside the US. "IBM Opens New Autonomic Computing Technology Center in India" ; as IBM joins the crowd and moves a research facility to India. IBM has research facilities all over the world, in their press release they state," The Autonomic Computing Technology Center is part of IBM's globally integrated approach to innovation -- a network of 63 major software development and research labs worldwide that develop, test and support a wide range of emerging and established technologies that span software and services."

As the world "shrinks" we will see the one world economy become more of a reality. As travel has become more efficient companies are quick to look outside of their bubble to see what new lands there are to conquer. Companies gravitate to emerging markets hoping to corner their share of the new found wealth and expansion.

Xerox is not new to building research facilities and collaborating with global academic institutions. Xerox produces a lot of patents. In my article "Amidst the slaughter rises Xerox Technology" I talk about Xerox Innovation which is well documented. It is one of the things about Xerox that that has always amazed me. This devotion to invention goes back to the acquisition of the discovery of the photo copier.

Chester Calson, "So who do we blame for this?" who was the one that started this "E Ticket" ride for us in the first place.

In 2009 Xerox brought the game to another level which I think we will see some of the fruit of that very soon. With On Demand and Graph Expo coming we are sure to see Xerox innovation first hand. Xerox patents were up 19% over 2008 which that had a staggering 600. In 2009 they logged in at 706 new patents. You can find more about 2009 accomplishments at "Xerox Patents Up 16% in 2009" Innovation is the key to survival in this industry. With companies pushing hard on companies like Xerox it has become a battle in the cage like we see in the ultimate fighting challenges.

2010 will be a very telling year for the office equipment industry. I think we should get a snapshot of what we are in for in the coming years. I am hoping this is a turning point for many of us. As the refugees start to find homes and things start to return to normal.

Hopefully the painful changes will be made at the begining of the year Q1 and we won't have any more scary announcements for the remainder of the year. After the initial round of annoucements I am hoping that all of the news will be about innovation and success stories and not about layoffs and more mergers.

I think that they may be a few surprising innovations that come from some forgotten players, but that is another article.

Happy Sale'ing…

Pirate Mike

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