When HP, Samsung, Xerox and Canon banded together late last year to create the Mopria Alliance standards for making it easier to print from mobile devices, journalists and analysts said it was an effort to return printing to relevancy. And when top software vendors started joining the alliance, journalists wrote about an “explosion” of new printing uses.
Headlines like that didn’t bother users or members of the alliance, says Prat Agarwal, Head of Business Development at Breezy, because they already knew why the alliance was important.
“We joined the Mopria Alliance for the very simple reason that with emerging standards, more and more organizations are willing to invest in products that meet those standards,” Agarwal explains. “It formalizes what Breezy and other vendors had been doing, and provides reassurance that products that meet the Mopria standard will work the way they are expected to work. We’re very proud to be among the first software vendors accepted into the Mopria alliance.”
(Graphics Credit: Mopria Alliance)
Comparing Mobile Printing Solutions
As the office expanded beyond PCs to smartphones and tablets, workers quickly became frustrated with the difficulties they had in printing documents from their mobile devices. Shadow IT –apps designed for consumers and downloaded by end users without IT knowledge or oversight – quickly became all too common.
“If IT doesn’t know about an app, it can’t manage that app, and can’t ensure that it isn’t exposing sensitive company data to hackers,” Agarwal explains. “So large and small companies have found themselves trying to figure out how to meet employee’s mobile printing needs, secure the company’s data, and avoid blowing the IT budget.
“Mopria is a great step toward a most integrated set of standards, and Breezy’s on-device encryption keeps company data secure. As Mopria standards develop, the two solutions will be able to deliver what end users and businesses have been hoping for: truly hassle-free secure mobile printing from any device to any printer.”
The goal of the Mopria Alliance is to develop a set of interfaces that give mobile operating systems simplified printing software, and let apps easily draw on that ability. Mopria is also working to establish standards for sending print jobs using Wi-Fi Direct wireless networking or by tapping a printer with a phone that supports near-field communications (NFC).
“The primary benefit of the Mopria Alliance is greater compatibility between different devices”, the Breezy executive said. “Our customers appreciate that, especially those in education, healthcare, insurance, banking, and financial services – where they need to be concerned about both security and compliance standards. It’s an important check-box when comparing solutions.”
The End of Printer Drivers?
The Mopria Alliance hopes eventually to go so far as saving users from the hassles of finding and installing print drivers, the software that lets a computer talk to a specific printer. The Mopria standard specifies that vendors have to support any mobile operating system, and any printer.
Agarwal says that the end of the printer driver doesn’t mean that printing is an endangered business. “In fact, the more information that is archived digitally, the more gets printed. The amount of digital content is increasing at an enormous rate, and even though page volumes may fall by a few percent, there is still an overall increase in the number of printed documents.”
He thinks that a paperless world might be nice, but says that most workplaces aren’t quite ready for that. “Until every document and file is accepted in electronic form, mobile users will need the ability to print simply, easily and securely from their devices, no matter which app or printer they are using,” he adds. “And that’s where Breezy and the Mopria Alliance come in: making it easy for them to get the job done.
An overview of the most common use cases that require secure mobile printing and a comparison chart to the most popular solutions are included in the new ebook from Breezy, The Definitive Guide to Mobile Printing. It’s now online and available for free download.