HP and the Art of Small Business

HP today announced a bevy of products and services designed to help small businesses grow through the use of technology. The news came out of a special San Francisco event hosted by HP and entitled The Art of Small Business. The event showcased several small business owners that use HP technology, but HP’s expanded product portfolio took center stage.

According to HP, the new products reflect the needs of small businesses in four critical areas: mobility and networking, business protection and security and retail point-of-sale. “HP empowers small businesses by making technology simple and accessible, freeing time for business owners to focus on the business itself,” said Satjiv Chahil, an HP senior vice president.

Mobility and Networking
The HP products in this category include two laptops — the Compaq 6515b and 6715b Notebook PCs – and ProCurve Networking by HP 1400 Series and 1700 Series network switches.

Both the 6515b and 6715b notebooks include built-in wireless technologies, including mobile broadband, next-generation Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for convenient wireless connection to the Internet from just about anywhere. They offer a range of AMD processors, including dual-core mobile technology, for fast performance.

For the security conscious (and that ought to be everyone), the notebooks include Drive Encryption for HP ProtectTools that encrypts data on the hard drive so that no one can access it if either the notebook or its hard drive is lost or stolen. HP says the notebooks will be available in late April with prices starting at $649. Models with mobile broadband are due in May.

HP’s target audience for the ProCurve 1400 and 1700 Series switches includes small and growing companies that lack an IT staff or don’t have much familiarity with networking. Designed without fans, the switches are built to run quietly, which HP says makes them both energy efficient and suitable for placement in open-plan offices.

Built on industry standards, the switches are designed to work smoothly in networks that use products from a variety of vendors – a common occurrence, according to HP. They also include a lifetime warranty with next-business-day advance replacement, free telephone and email support, and free software updates. HP estimates availability starting April 1 with prices ranging from $109 to $379.

Business Protection and Security
The three new products fill this category include the HP StorageWorks Media Vault Pro, the HP ProLiant ML115 server and the HP Compaq dx2300 Business Desktop PC.

HP’s StorageWorks Media Vault Pro is designed to help small business better cope with their expanding storage requirements as they grow. The storage system comes with an empty expansion bay for an extra hard drive and RAID 1 capability for added data protection. It also comes with Spare Backup Workgroup software – an automated backup service to save critical data at an enterprise-class, off-site data center. The service also lets SMBs collaborate on-line with partners, clients or customers. SMB owners can also opt for Web-based archival services that can help them meet compliance regulations. The product will be available May 1 and sells for $799.

An entry-level server, the HP ProLiant ML115 is designed to be an affordable, efficient option for handling networking, file-and-print, shared Internet access or small team e-mail. It features AMD Opteron and Athlon processors and offers expandability through multiple PCI and PCI-Express slots, four DIMM slots and a four hard disk capacity. Base pricing starts at $499.

Retail Point-of-Sale
HP designed the rp5700 Point of Sale system using industry standard technology so it would be compatible with retailer’s existing technology. It features a five-year product lifecycle, available five-year warranties and a complete range of HP-branded POS peripherals You can also get the system with Microsoft POS 2.0 software for small, single-store retailers. It will be available starting April 16, with a base price of $999.

In addition, HP also announced the following services and software for small business.

HP Smart Data Protection Service helps SMBs protect critical business files against loss from a variety of threats by providing a variety of capabilities.

  • Worm and Trojan prevention
  • Microsoft operating system patches
  • Data backup and restore capability
  • Maintain overall system health (hardware diagnostics, system bios, driver updates, software rollback)
  • 24×7 and online support available during local business hours
  • Sold as a one-year fixed HP Care Pack Service; includes installation, start-up and support forbackup and restore
  • Three capacities: 1GB, 5GB and 10GB, different prices based on storage requirements

Smart Data Protection is currently available for XP and Win 2000 only, with Vista availability in May. Prices start at less than $12/month.

HP designed Easy Printer Care Software 2.2 to be a one-stop management solution to save time and control costs. It offers proactive alerts to resolve printing problems, generates printer usage reports and periodically tracks toner cartridge and paper levels for reordering. The software lets you manage up to 15 HP LaserJet printers and multi-function printers.

HP Easy Printer Care Software 2.2 is free and will be available for download on June 1. It will also be available on the Optional install printer CD provided with HP’s newest printers and MFPs. Currently, you can download version 2.0 (and eventually version 2.2) directly from this HP Website.


Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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