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It's Getting Cloudy in Print: Mobile Printing Goes Mainstream

By Ken Noreikis //

 

The trend of where and how documents are printed transitions to mobile devices, making mobile printing solutions a must for managed print providers.

 

Historical View

Although mobile printing has only really begun to take hold recently, it has existed for many years. Twelve years ago, the initial version of the PrinterOn Mobile Printing Solution was developed. Before most had even heard of a BlackBerry, PrinterOn saw the need to be able to print from any device, use the cloud for processing documents and send them to any PrinterOn-enabled printer in the world. This visionary way of thinking has made PrinterOn the leading mobile print solution provider.

The public market was the first to deploy mobile printing. Hilton Garden Inns, Admirals Clubs, Delta Sky Clubs, public libraries and universities were the early adopters, understanding that offering mobile printing was a way of driving brand loyalty by enabling the mobile executive to be more productive while on the road. This was the beginning of the mobile printing revolution.

Current Market

In the past several years, there has been a major shift in the market towards mobile printing. This shift can be attributed to three things: the massive adoption of smartphones and tablets, the acceptance of cloud computing and the increased need for convenience printing.

As worldwide adoption of smartphones and tablets continues to accelerate and intersects with proliferating applications and mobile cloud-computing services, the ability to print on-the-go from any print location remains one of the most desired capabilities by users of these devices.

Over time, the desire for printing from a mobile device has consistently been a top request in surveys from major research firms..Only now does the technology exist to provide print capabilities to a wide range of mobile applications in a manner that extends and enhances the mobile user’s desired workflow and habits.

The acceptance of cloud computing as a viable and secure way of moving and storing data has also helped this shift to mobile printing. Cloud solutions are now a desirable choice for many businesses since there is no software to download and maintain.

The need for convenience printing by mobile executives who travel, work at home or in the office is on the rise as well. They need to be able to print wherever they are and with a consistent user experience. This consistent user experience drives productivity and makes it easy to print from anywhere, to anywhere.

Future Adoption

A number of factors will serve to expand the opportunity for mobile printing and its adoption in the mainstream.  The rapid growth of advanced smartphones and tablets are providing new opportunities for users to access, create and interact with digital content. As users’ expectations shift to on-demand and instant access to their digital content, printing technologies will also need to adapt to allow users to print whenever and wherever they choose to printers located in diverse physical locations.

The broader mainstream acceptance of cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) will increase users’ expectations of device and printer agnostic solutions. Technologies such as Google Docs allow users to access their content from any device and from any location. As these technologies mature and proliferate, PrinterOn’s technology will allow users to print from any device to any printer and will serve to enhance the mobile user experience.

PrinterOn’s solution provides users and organizations the opportunity to make their printers “cloud capable” quickly and with little effort. By enhancing the capabilities of existing and future print devices and through the use of PrinterOn’s network of public venue printers, PrinterOn bridges the gap between mobile digital content and printed output while at home, in the office or while traveling.

Critical Requirements and Use Cases

For mobile printing to be successful and accepted by the mainstream, two things must be in place: a stable infrastructure for delivering the service and multiple deployment options that support a wide variety of use cases.

Since mobile printing is a hosted, cloud-based service, up-time and reliability are of the utmost importance. Users worldwide are accessing this service 24/7 and expect it to work. If the experience is not successful, a first-time user may never use the service again. The infrastructure also needs to be scalable. A deployment of two printers or thousands of printers must have reliable, repeatable set-up procedures and provide a consistent user experience in the end.

A mobile printing solution must also be able to support a variety of use cases. Every market is unique, and typically there are specific requirements to be met.

For mobile printing in public, auto discovery of print locations through the use of GPS-based search is a critical requirement to allow users to easily find nearby and accessible printers. Printers deployed in public venues need to support free-to-user or pay-per-use deployments. The ability to integrate different types of payment methods into the service is important. Secure document processing and release are critical requirements in the public, unattended print market as well.

The enterprise/corporate space may require configuring printers to require access control lists for internal corporate users and/or support for open printing to support corporate visitors who have the need to print.

Other requirements may include integration with print management systems that already exist. Some may want to deploy a hosted cloud solution (SaaS). Others, particularly in the enterprise and higher education space, insist on an on-premise solution deployed directly on corporate servers to protect and keep data secure.

How Mobile Printing Fits Within the MPS Offering

The market shift is requiring managed print services (MPS) to provide and support on-the-go printing to its customers. A natural fit for managed print services, the mobile printing solution needs to be flexible enough to meet the demands and requirements of a vast market.

Green initiatives can also be met. Mobile printing allows a user to print only what they need when they need it.   Enabling release codes prevent unwanted documents from being printed at all.

Mobile printing is a value-add service which completes the MPS offering. Corporate users can be provided with a whole solution that is not just limited to the workplace. The mobile printing experience continues whether the user is at work, at home or in public.

Conclusion

Although overall print volume in the market is not expected to increase going forward, the trend of where and how print is initiated is transitioning to mobile devices. Considering the adoption of mobile devices, acceptance of cloud computing and the need to continually drive productivity, the time is now for mobile printing to achieve mainstream adoption. Managed print service providers have an opportunity to provide incremental value to their corporate clients by offering a mobile print solution as part of their go-to-market approach.

About PrinterOn

PrinterOn is the world’s leading Mobile Printing Solution within the public, business and home markets. PrinterOn uses Cloud technology to enable users to print documents from any smartphone, laptop or tablet to any PrinterOn-enabled printer in the world. There are over 6000 PrinterOn printing locations worldwide. The PrinterOn mobile printing solution has been deployed in hotels, universities, airports, libraries and corporations in over 35 countries. Since its inception in 2000, PrinterOn has processed over 4 million mobile print jobs and has printed more than 20 million pages. PrinterOn holds many significant approved patents that protect our technology and has a number of patents pending. For more information visit www.printeron.com or contact us at sales@printeron.com.

 

 


 

Ken Noreikis, vice president sales and marketing, is a senior sales executive with 25 years of sales and marketing experience in the technology industry. He started with Spicer and PrinterOn in 2006 as vice president sales and marketing for both divisions with overall responsibility for revenue and market and product strategy.  

In addition to his strong sales and marketing experience, he has significant experience managing cross-functional teams focused on go to market strategy, product management and product development. Noreikis is currently responsible for sales, marketing, product management and product development.

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