Paper 'still has role to play in digital world'

Konica Minolta senior executive officer Jun Haraguchi was in town to mark the third anniversary of the Japanese print and imaging product manufacturer setting up Konica Minolta Business Solutions Asia - its regional headquarters - in Singapore.
Konica Minolta senior executive officer Jun Haraguchi was in town to mark the third anniversary of the Japanese print and imaging product manufacturer setting up Konica Minolta Business Solutions Asia - its regional headquarters - in Singapore.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

THERE is a trend towards a "paperless" world but it will not materialise for some time yet, said Konica Minolta senior executive officer Jun Haraguchi yesterday.

Mr Haraguchi told The Straits Times: "People have been talking about going paperless for years, but we do not see any signal of this. However, change is definitely there.

"Customers are now looking more towards document management and changes such as cloud technology."

PAPERLESS FUTURE?

I don't believe we will live in a completely paperless world soon. I don't think so. Maybe our sons and daughters will, 20 years later, when our generation is gone.

- Konica Minolta senior executive officer Jun Haraguchi

But he still sees paper as having a role, saying: "I don't believe we will live in a completely paperless world soon. I don't think so. Maybe our sons and daughters will, 20 years later, when our generation is gone."

Mr Haraguchi, who is based in Japan, was in town to mark the third anniversary of the Japanese print and imaging product manufacturer setting up Konica Minolta Business Solutions Asia - its regional headquarters - in Singapore.

The firm also has one of its five global innovation centres here, complementing those in Silicon Valley in the United States, London, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Singapore contributes 5 to 6 per cent of Konica's business globally, but this is expected to hit double-digit figures soon.

Mr Jonathan Yeo, general manager of Konica Minolta Business Solutions Asia, said there is an increasing shift towards digital content and seamless mobility across devices like smartphones.

"What used to be printed, such as fliers, are moving towards the digital. The reason is personalisation on demand. Also, keeping physical copies requires space and they might become obsolete really fast."

He said the Singapore Government is very "technology-savvy" and is also going digital.

Mr Yeo said that in light of the WikiLeaks controversies in recent years, the Government set out last year to track every single document as part of enhancing its security. "So we implemented a system to track every document from the time it is created until it is destroyed, such as who sees it, who is authorised and the rights management, on top of the regular hardware you see in every office," he added.

The system, which is still in its trial stages, will hit full pace in the next six months. Konica, which was awarded the $1.2 million contract, is working on the project with a software company.

Konica employs 240 staff in sales and marketing here and 15 in business innovation.

fabkoh@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2015, with the headline 'Paper 'still has role to play in digital world''. Print Edition | Subscribe