Imaging in the Cloud

By Ronelle Ingram //

In today’s world of imaging there is a great deal of interest in the Cloud. Not the big white fluffy cumulus clouds in the sky. Cloud is a catch all term that covers paying for computer linked services with a fee based program rather than buying the hardware, software and administrative services for in house use. The cloud service provider is responsible for IT assets and maintenance. Anyone who has ever used the internet is using a form of cloud computing. Internet users are accessing information that is being stored and managed off site for a fee.

Printing through a cloud connection is one of the new innovations that are being perfected in the world of cloud computing. The direct importance of cloud computing on the print on paper industry is that it can help increase the usage of toner and ink throughout the world. Gartner Research describes cloud printing as “The next digital printing breakthrough, changing the business model from costly and limited ownership to flexible anytime anywhere access to printed communication.” Gartner goes on to estimate “That 90% of the Global 1000 will be utilizing Cloud Print Services by 2015. Currently over 10% of the Global 1000 already employ Cloud Print Services.”

Cloud computing evolution is providing a group of services that enables the user to outsource specific computer needs. These include infrastructure, business processes, applications, software, storage, retrieval, collaboration, security and printing from your smart phone or tablet. Cloud computing is offered in different forms: public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds. Cloud computing is a way for the user to obtain many additional computer related processes without having to buy or manage inhouse computer related hardware, software or administrative services.

Cloud computing is a natural extension of Managed Print Services. When using MPS the end user transfers all their needs for obtaining hardware, software, supplies and service to an outside source. The user agrees to pay a specific amount of money for each image that is made to the company that is managing their MPS program. In cloud computing, the user agrees to pay a fee to have another organization handle all the details that enables their computer system to provide all the solutions they require.

The popularity of MPS with the sellers and users of imaging hardware has greatly increased the acceptability, and usage of compatibles. However, one of the key selling points of MPS is to ultimately decrease the overall cost of printing. In most offices that are using MPS, the days of carte blanche printing of documents is gone. This is accomplished by mandating the use of scanning, storage, retrieval, instant messaging, automatic emailing, defaulting to monochrome prints, color accessibility via password protection, double sided images, etc. The entire concept of MPS is to save money by reducing printed documents by leveraging technology.

The advancement of cloud technology is now enabling the connecting of smart phones and tablets to designated printers anywhere in the world. In theory, Cloud printing allows a user to take a picture and print the electronic image on their home, office or any printer of their choice. Cloud technology provides an additional way for toner and ink products to be used. Better still, images (pictures) taken with and transmitted via smart phones will usually use a great deal of color toner or ink when printed. A statistic that is important to makers of compatible toner and ink supplies is that 80% of all people using the internet will soon be connecting through their mobile phones. With the emerging technical advancements of cloud printing capabilities; 80% of 3,400,000 active mobile phone users = 2,720,000. They will have the technological ability to send a color print directly to a printer located anywhere in the world.

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