The Cloud: The Gift That Keeps On Printing…

Cloud Printing

Smartphones and tablets are increasingly replacing functions usually carried out by laptops in our professional life. Mobile e-mail access is now a relatively mature technology and mobile printing additionally gives users the opportunity to print documents directly via their mobile phone. However, with the introduction of cloud printing, employees now have server-like access on the move, allowing the opportunity to print from a large pool of data without having to turn on a PC.

Cloud printing essentially works by reducing the necessity of having local printer drivers and a dedicated print network. Printers with cloud functionality can connect directly to the web and be accessed remotely by mobile phones or tablets. The technology requires documents to be stored in a specified cloud, whether it’s justcloud.com, MyPC Backup or Zip Cloud; once uploaded, these documents can be printed anywhere in the world provided you have a smart phone, internet connection and cloud printer.

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All of the leading manufacturers now have cloud printing software installed on their newest machines making it widely available for all. Xerox’s Connectkey, Canon’s PIXMA Cloud Link, HP’s Eprint and Epson Connect are compatible with all smartphones and operating systems and support of all types of files.

You can print Excel spreadsheets, PDF contracts, PowerPoint presentations, HTML messages or pictures.

You will first access your documents via your cloud application and select to print. The device will then identify the printer via its internet connection and find the necessary print driver. The print job will be created in the cloud using this driver before being sent via the mobile device to the printer. Most clouds will host thousands of printer drivers allowing compatibility with the majority of manufacturers. If a printer driver is missing, the user can usually alert the cloud maintainer, who will then add the driver.

Xerox Connectkey cloud printers will allow you to develop applications that can be used to make life easier in a particular business field. These applications can be embedded on the printer with easy-to-use on-screen tools. For example, a health insurance company can add a feature that allows scanning of reimbursement claims directly into their payment system. Connectkey will also allow you to scan documents directly to the cloud, making it easy for you to pick up something at home without having to take a hard copy.

Cloud printing technology is developing all the time and can now allow you to share your printer with anyone on the internet; this allows someone to identify your machine remotely and print something for you to take away. Critical internal documentation can now be shared by companies via the cloud: server access is no longer a requirement to completing, reviewing and sharing work; employees can now upload, amend and download documentation from home, on the train or in a coffee shop. Any security concerns are alleviated with security protection from Cisco and McAfee.

Solutions like Xerox Connectkey can transform your mobile device into an out-of-office document management solution. Never again will you be caught without an important document: hand-outs for presentations will be available at the click of a button; figures that might help close an important sale right in front of you. The only downside is that forgetting your briefcase is no longer an excuse!

By Steve Pond

steve-pondSteve is Divisional Manager of First Choice Ltd. As a Six Sigma qualified professional, Steve is responsible for operations, sales and all interim business management at the company. With over 15 years’ client service experience, Steve is well-placed to understand what an individual business requires from a Document Management service and how this can best be implemented to increase business efficiency, employee productivity and reduce costs.

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