UK peripheral-to-network connectivity specialist H. Bollmann Manufacturers Ltd, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, is hoping the PeripheralVision network printer management software it introduced in the UK last month will generate as much as $30m revenue for it by year-end; that’s 100,000 licensees for the $300 software. It’s yet to get a concerted US campaign going, claiming […]
UK peripheral-to-network connectivity specialist H. Bollmann Manufacturers Ltd, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, is hoping the PeripheralVision network printer management software it introduced in the UK last month will generate as much as $30m revenue for it by year-end; that’s 100,000 licensees for the $300 software. It’s yet to get a concerted US campaign going, claiming it’s overstretched trying to fulfill intial demand in the UK and from its web site, where a demo is available. Its two-person operation in Norristown, Pennsylvania is primarily a technical support shop. The software allows network administrators to map TCP/IP-based LAN, WAN or Internet network configurations and to manage network devices such as printers from a single screen. HBM marketing manager Ralph Ehlers explains that PeripheralVision works like any other network management software, collecting information from all types of network devices via agents which send Management Information Base (MIB) status information about the device back to the application. Agent information must be compatible with the de facto Simple Network Management protocol or a Network Peripheral Management Protocol (NPMP) being developed by the Network Peripheral Task Force (NPTF), a group chaired by HBM managing director Klaus Bollmann which boasts a roster of printer companies that includes Texas Instruments, Kyocera, Mannesmann Tally, Fuji Xerox, Minolta, Mutoh, NEC, Okidata, Ricoh and Brother. HBM claims 99% penetration of the Japanese printer market through NPTF and claims all of the members are in the process of developing NPMP compatibility for their products. Ehlers says NPMP is faster and more lightweight than SNMP and requires less memory. PeripheralVision creates a graphical map of network devices based
upon agent information with custom icons for different brands of printers plus copiers, desktops and servers. The connections made between devices allows the administrator to see which print queues are going to which printers and where they are located on the network. In addition to an administrator console, client components loaded on to each desktop allow users to add and delete their own print jobs from queues. Print watcher The Hardcopy Observer likens PeripheralVision to Adobe Systems Inc’s PrintMill software; although PrintMill only supports PostScript it can print on any Internet printer. PeripheralVision supports SNMP but won’t be able to print to any Internet printer until its next incarnation.
Fast and friendly
HBM says the key advantage PeripheralVision has over other network management solutions such as HP OpenView or SunNet Manager is that it’s friendlier and fast and it doesn’t cost $15,000. However Ehlers claims HBM’s not trying to compete with the HPs and Suns of the management world. He says PeripheralVision’s not designed for users that want or need a $15,000 software package and he thinks it unlikely that MIS departments which have already spent thousands on a premier network management solution will be able to comfortably switch to a $300 piece of software without having their finance people asking why the original sums were spent. Ehlers says HBM’s looking for volume in any case. The current Version 1.1 will be followed by new releases that include support for input of Unix titles, drag and drop printing to any attached Internet printer, vertical windows and other facilities, in OEM and end user packaging. It’s still working on an OEM strategy. It doesn’t know whether it’ll do a Unix or Mac version of the Windows 95 software – Ehlers’ PeripheralVision team is only eight-strong now. HBM’s primary business is the design and manufacture of Ethernet and Token Ring cards and print servers. German-born husband and wife team Klaus and Hanne Bollmann are also founders of Burgess Hill, Sussex-based networking equipment manufacturer Network Technology Plc, in which they hold a 60% stake.