In 1975, Business Week Magazine published an article called The Office of the Future. That article predicted that the paperless office – where computers shared information across a vast network, and no one needed to print hard copies any longer – would be a reality before the end of the 20th century.
One reason, according to futurists interviewed for the article, was that smaller devices would allow people to access files when they weren’t at the office, thereby reducing the need for printed documents. Many of the predictions from that old article did come true. But, like the flying car and vacations on Mars, the paperless office is one prediction that hasn’t materialized.
In fact, mobile devices are actually driving investment in printing technology. An IDC report
earlier this year confirmed this trend, reporting that 75% of tablet and smartphone users expect to increase the number of documents printed from mobile devices and that smartphone and tablet users are more likely to print than their non-mobile counterparts. "While total U.S. mobile pages are expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 12% during the 2012-16 forecast period, non-mobile pages will decline 5%," said Angèle Boyd, Group VP and General
Manager, Imaging/Output Document Solutions at IDC.
Mobile Printing “Most Wanted” Feature
According to a report prepared by KPCB, tablet shipments surpassed desktop PCs and notebooks in the fourth quarter of 2012, less than 3 years after the introduction of the original iPad.
32% of employees globally now rely on more than one mobile device during the typical workday. The truth is that printing is a basic productivity tool for most businesses, and most workers expect to be able to print from any work device. So it came as no surprise when British technology analyst TechNavio reported earlier this year that printing is the single most
requested feature in mobile devices.
“Many users assume they can simply click ‘print’ from their tablet or smartphone and print to their normal workplace printer,” TechNavio says. “But that isn’t the case with most mobile
devices. IT has misjudged both the security risks posted by mobile printing and the demand for it, creating a growing problem for many companies.”
The desire for mobile printing creates a security problem for many companies. Over 63% of the employees surveyed in a Check Point study in June 2013 said that they transferred files from a mobile device to a cloud storage service like DropBox or GoogleDrive so that they could print the document from a computer that wasn’t connected to the company network – and therefore not protected by the company’s security software.
Who Uses Mobile Printing?
There are many everyday business applications for printing. Think of these common scenarios:
- Sales people rely on every day. And, as any field sales representative will tell you, often that means a need to print from a mobile device while in a hotel or airport business center, at a client’s office, or delivering contracts and expense reports to their own corporate offices. Secure mobile printing lets IT meet the sales team’s need, while closing a gaping security hole in the corporate network’s endpoint security.
- Real estate agents know that the ability to print a document anytime, anywhere, can make the difference between getting a deal done – and losing it to another agent. Many of the documents Realtors handle are confidential, so a secure print solution for mobile devices is especially important to them.
- Traveling consultants are among the most frequent fliers on the planet. Their need to print documents securely is so important that some travel with their own printers. It’s a consultant’s dream come true: an end to scanning through hundreds of pages of documents on a small screen, or lugging a printer on every flight.
- Hotel staff can now use tablets to check-in guests as soon as they arrive at the hotel, with printed receipts and passes ready and waiting at reception as soon as the guests arrive.
- Lawyers use 20,000 to 100,000 sheets of paper every year according to The American Bar Association. There's nothing more confidential than the client files entrusted to an attorney. Secure mobile printing allows attorneys to print vital documents anywhere they can access a printer, whether that’s at the courthouse, a client’s office, or within their own office, without compromising their ethical obligations.
- Field trainers at franchise companies, restaurants, retail stores and many other businesses often travel from city to city conducting staff training and evaluations. These trainers have a constant need to update and print confidential documents such as personnel forms. Adding a secure mobile print solution to their tool kit saves time, money and headache.
- Insurance agents meet with prospective policyholders in a range of locations – and many state insurance rules require that applications be hand-signed in front of a witness. Until recently, that meant at least two face-to-face meetings, so that the agent could get the necessary application documents prepared and printed before returning them to the client for signing. With a secure mobile printing capability, insurance agents can modify documents on the fly during a meeting, then print on any printer network, and get the application ready to submit in one meeting instead of two.
Of course, there are many other day-to-day business activities where the ability to print
from a mobile device can save time and money. For more information about how a secure mobile printing solution from Breezy can help your company take full advantage of BYOD
and mobile devices, get in touch to request a demo.
Photo credit: Shannon Patrick shared this 1975 concept drawing of IBM's "Office of the Future" on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.