Mobile computing reached its tipping point in 2011 when sales of smartphones and tablet devices surpassed sales of traditional PCs. Tablets and phones are less expensive and cumbersome than PCs and offer lightning quick connections on the go. These smart gadgets aren't just useful for checking Instagram or the latest NFL scores anymore; they have evolved to boost productivity for an increasingly mobile workforce. Nearly 35 percent of the global workforce is mobile and their printing needs to be mobile, too.
In the last two years, mobile devices have become far more business-friendly to accommodate the demands of the growing mobile workforce. There are better applications and more accessible information thanks to cloud computing. Yet hurdles to mobile printing have remained, namely the issue of data security and support across multiple mobile operating systems.
One of the challenges comes with the divide between the IT Department and End User. While End Users love to print, those IT Professionals who live virtually often prefer a paperless approach – they rarely print and have a hard time comprehending why users can't be more like them. This polarization can cause conflict and confusion. However, common ground is reached with both sides work together to answer the question: "What is Mobile Print"? To answer that question, you have to ask another more focused question: "What is Mobile Print to you?" Your answer to that question will be the correct one for your environment.
Some things to consider when contemplating Mobile Print needs for your organization – often it will take on many different forms based upon the needs of the user. So when a customer asks if you support Mobile Print, what must you do? Ask them, "What does Mobile Print mean to you?" The answer will show you the best way to serve them.
Here are the different forms of Mobile Print available to users today, and, they can usually work together without conflict, or confusion.
Wireless Printing: This is one of the most basic but confusing definitions. If you were to continue to have the user define what they mean by wireless print you will find typically two requirements. First they want to be able to print from their laptop when they are on a wireless network, or they want the printer to be on the wireless network. Either way, these are not mobile printing activities. What they are asking for is basic networking. Often, users print wirelessly without realizing it.
Mobile Printing via Installed App: This is one of the most common and widely accepted definitions of Mobile Printing. This can be a misnomer however. Direct network connectivity is required for an app to print. Many IT departments do not allow mobile devices to access and internal wireless network. Therefore the installed app will not be able to print. Another issue: complex printing jobs. Mobile devices do not have a printer driver, required for complex jobs. Printing various file formats is therefore limited. For example, Canon Mobile Print only supports PDF documents, while Samsung supports basic Microsoft Office documents. Once a user learns about these limitations they frequently conclude the installed app option is not workable.
Mobile Printing via a Service: This is the most flexible option and can be accomplished in many different ways.
Driverless Printing: This type of printing relies upon either the printer to understand how to print the document, or, printing depends on a service to process the document so that a printer will understand the print job. Example: a user emails a document and then instructs the printer to print. The benefit here is no software is required on the mobile device and it utilizes a standard that everyone already uses.
As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing a mobile print strategy. The only certainty is that your business needs one to stay competitive. Call us today to find out how we can help you chose the right strategy.
At Signa Digital Solutions, we know your business is unique, and your mobile printing solutions need to be tailored to meet your specific goals. We offer a variety of desktop apps that are easy to use and integrate into your existing network securely.