Xerox is one of the major printer brands on the market, and their ConnectKey Technology is one of their most distinguishing features.
But what exactly is it? What are the benefits? Does it cost anything?
Xerox ConnectKey Technology is a broad platform that encompasses a lot of different features and is specific to certain machines in Xerox’s catalog.
It’s important to know what Xerox ConnectKey is and which machines it applies to because it could end up being the deciding factor on whether a Xerox machine is the right fit for you.
We are Xerox Platinum Status Partners and have learned everything there is to know about the company’s ConnectKey Technology and how it can help companies achieve their printing goals.
We’ve also learned that Xerox won’t be a fit for everybody and there is a chance that you won’t find value in some of the features of their ConnectKey Technology.
We’re not going to try to sell you on it; ultimately, it’s up to you to decide. We just want to use our expertise to provide you with the knowledge you need to confidently make that decision.
This blog will cover what Xerox ConnectKey is, what machines it’s compatible with and the key functions of the platform before summing up who would and wouldn’t be a fit for its features.
What Is Xerox ConnectKey?
Xerox ConnectKey Technology is an all-encompassing platform that Xerox products utilize that includes features designed to make users more productive in completing general office tasks.
There are many features to Xerox ConnectKey, but the primary ones that come with the platform include:
A tablet-like user interface that lets you touch, swipe, pinch and scroll to complete tasks (similar to a smartphone)
The ability to print from your phone, as well as manage, print, scan and share documents to and from a cloud-storage service.
Enhanced printer security features.
Managed Print Services.
A customer-facing App Gallery that lets you add, delete or swap tools and apps as needed.
These five features make up the bulk of the benefits of Xerox’s ConnectKey Technology. Let’s dive more into these in the next section:
5 Key Functions of Xerox ConnectKey Technology
Here are the five major functions of Xerox’s ConnectKey Technology:
1. Easy-to-Use and Customizable User Interface
The most apparent feature of Xerox’s ConnectKey Technology is the tablet-like interface, which is built to mirror your smartphone device in functionality.
This makes navigating tasks feel familiar since most of us have smartphones and use them every day.
Also noteworthy about the interface is your ability to customize it in ways that better meet your business’s needs.
For example, if you were a school and wanted to put the “Connect for Blackboard” application. listed in the Xerox App Gallery, on the home screen of your printer to speed up tasks, you would be able to do that.
You can also tailor the home screen on an individual basis by enabling login credentials for each user. This means that users can design their home screen with the apps they use the most.
See the picture below for an example of Xerox’s user interface:
2. Allows Technology to Become Mobile and Cloud Ready
With workplaces increasingly going remote and online, it’s important to be able to conduct tasks like printing from your phone or getting access to a document without having the physical copy.
Xerox ConnectKey allows you to connect and print from your phone via applications such as the @PrintByXerox app, Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service.
You can also choose from multiple cloud-storage service applications, like Microsoft OneDrive or Microsoft 365, to print, scan or share documents with individuals or groups from a remote location.
3. Provides Advanced Printer Security Features
Another notable feature of Xerox’s ConnectKey Technology is its advanced printer security features.
Printer security has become a more pressing issue for companies lately, as Quocirca recently reported that 68% of respondents in their 2022 Print Security Landscape reported a data loss as a result of print security failures in the past year.
ConnectKey-enabled devices contain a four-point approach to security: Prevent, Detect, Protect and External Partnerships. Here are examples of how each of them works:
-Prevent: Access points are protected from malicious attacks, proliferation of malware or misuse of unauthorized access to the printer by features like user authentication and access controls.
-Detect: A comprehensive Firmware Verification Test can be run that alerts the user if changes to the printer have been detected.
-Protect: When using built-in tools, unauthorized users will not have access to sensitive data. All data stored on the device uses the highest encryption available that is currently approved by standards set and used by the U.S Department of Defense. The data can only be released by the intended user.
-External Partnerships: ConnectKey Technology provides valuable partnerships with security leaders such as McAfee and Cisco to ensure that ConnectKey-equipped devices meet international security standards. These features include McAfee’s Whitelisting technology and Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE).
4. Managed Print Services
Managed print services are also offered as a part of Xerox’s ConnectKey Technology, and they can help you do things like:
Automate business processes
Optimize and manage your devices remotely
Assist your help desk with built-in tools
Achieve environmentally sustainable goals by cutting down on waste and energy usage.
Managed print services are broad in what they can offer, and depending on which managed print provider you use, will differ on the features that they include.
Read our blog on the pros and cons of managed print services to find out if it’s something that could help your print environment.
5. Xerox App Gallery
The final major feature we will discuss in this blog will be the Xerox App Gallery, which is a part of Xerox’s ConnectKey Technology.
ConnectKey allows users to access an entire collection of apps designed to enhance productivity and allow the product to function as more than just a traditional printer.
There are several applications in the App Gallery, including productivity apps like Xerox Translate and Print and industry-specific apps like the Share Patient Information app.
There are around 70 applications currently listed in the Xerox App Gallery, but most of them cost money and they will not be a fit for every workplace.
Read our blog on the pros and cons of apps for your printer to see if you could benefit from the features offered by apps.
A portion of the Xerox App Gallery:
What Printers Are Compatible with Xerox ConnectKey?
So, you now know what Xerox ConnectKey is and the features that come with it, but what devices is it compatible with?
Xerox ConnectKey is on Xerox’s main line of what you can think of as “traditional office printers,” which would be their VersaLink Series and AltaLink Series of machines. ConnectKey comes standard with these devices and does not require any additional purchase.
However, there are some ConnectKey features on AltaLink machines, the more advanced Xerox models, that may not be included on most VersaLink machines. These include advanced security features like McAfee’s whitelisting technology.
Smaller devices, like the Xerox B225, or larger production machines, like the Xerox Versant Digital Presses, Xerox ConnectKey does not come standard with the device and cannot be added to the machines.
Below are two graphics that list out all of the Xerox ConnectKey-enabled devices in their product catalog:
Is Xerox ConnectKey Right for You?
Now that you’ve learned about Xerox ConnectKey, is it the right fit for you?
There’s no clear-cut answer on who would and wouldn’t be a fit for a machine equipped with ConnectKey Technology. But here are broad descriptions of who would be a fit for ConnectKey:
You would be a fit for a ConnectKey-enabled device if:
You are a workgroup that would like to navigate your printer via a touchscreen interface.
You would like to be able to print from your phone and have the ability to store and pull documents from the cloud.
You would like to have advanced security features to protect against security breaches.
You would like to incorporate managed print services into your workplace to better optimize your print environment.
You are interested in downloading apps for your printer to increase productive workflow.
If the points above sound like something you would be interested in, then it would be worth looking into a Xerox ConnectKey device.
However, if you don’t believe that the features above would benefit your workgroup, then buying a device with ConnectKey likely wouldn’t be worth the investment for you.
Read our blog on how to choose a printer for your budget and business needs to use as a resource if you’re stuck on how to find the best printer for your workplace.
Which Xerox Machine Would Be Right for You?
By this point, you likely know whether Xerox ConnectKey would be a good fit for you or not.
You might now be wondering: “Which of the ConnectKey devices would be right for me? How do I choose?”
Our goal is to give you the resources so that you can confidently answer this question yourself.
Read through our blog on the top 3 multifunction printers (MFPs) for small-to-medium-sized businesses to see a few of your options broken down in more detail. These are all ConnectKey-enabled devices that could be a fit if you’re a small or medium-sized workgroup.
If you’re a large business, you will want to look into the AltaLink C8100 Series of machines if you’re interested in a ConnectKey device. Read through our review of the AltaLink C8155 to see a comprehensive overview of one of the machines in the Series.