The Mobile Printing Challenge

Mobile devices are transforming business productivity. For many, the workplace is no longer defined by the traditional office; employees are now accessing corporate applications, data and services from multiple devices and locations every day. With a highly mobile workforce, organisations need to ensure employees have the same access to corporate applications as they would from the desktop, while protecting sensitive data. One area in need of better control, which has yet to catch up with the desktop experience, is printing.
 
Most businesses are reliant on printing to a certain extent, and although print volumes are flat to declining, there is still a need to provide easy access to printing for mobile workers. This could be simply being able to send a print job wirelessly to an office printer from a smartphone, sending a print job in advance to an office printer while on the road or allowing guest visitors to print securely from their mobile devices.
 
Whilst the explosion in the variety of smartphones and tablets used in the workplace is boosting productivity, enabling mobile printing across multiple platforms and printer vendors can prove a real IT headache. Mobility has shifted some of the control of IT from the IT department to the users. In the past the IT department would usually have complete control of the print infrastructure, managing the installation and deployment of printer drivers. Now, users may be installing their own printer apps, without IT's knowledge and often expecting support for mobile printing from previously unsupported devices. Consequently IT groups around Australia are grasping for any available options that ensure mobile printing is controlled, reliable and most importantly, secure.
 

There are several ways to print directly from a mobile device such as:

Integrated Mobile OS support.

This native printing capability most closely matches the "File > Print" Windows desktop user experience. Apple's AirPrint, for instance, is built-in to the OS, making it easy to print to an Apple AirPrint supported printer or MFP.  Although Airprint is a good tool for local network printing, Bonjour, Apple's automatic printer discovery technology is normally confined to a single subnet (portion of a network), so does not discover printers across broader networks. Online has a selection of Print Management Solutions which offer automatic printer discovery for Airprint as well as for the Android platform, via an app.

Mobile Print Apps.

Many print vendors have their own printer apps which allow direct printing to compatible printers or MFPs on a wireless local-area network.  Mobile print apps can also take full advantage of printer options, so offer more control than generic printing via the mobile's integrated functionality.
 

Google CloudPrint:

Google Cloud Print is a fairly new addition to the market. Commonly referred to as GCP, Google Cloud Print enables printing over the web via Gmail and Google Docs to supported Google Cloud Print Ready printers. Unfortunately, the list of GCP-supported devices in the business range is fairly limited, but this is easily combatted with one of Online's Print Management Solutions which has the ability to enable Google Cloud Printing across most, if not all, of your printers and MFPs. By itself, GCP is unable to track and secure printing via a mobile app, integration with a print management solution is necessary.
 

A New Solution

In response to the lack of standards around mobile printing, the Mopria alliance was established in late 2013 by Canon, Samsung, HP and Xerox. In February 2014, other vendors including Adobe, Brother, Epson and Konica Minolta also joined the alliance. Mopria aims to align standards that make printing compatible from any mobile devices to any printer. Initially support is focused on sending print jobs over Wi-Fi connections or "tap-to-print" through near-field communications (NFC). While it may be a while before we see any new technology released by the Mopria alliance, Online can ensure you don't miss out on the benefits with the implementation of one of our Print Management Solutions with Mobile Support.
 
While most printer manufacturers offer a range of solutions based on the above approaches, Online is able to offer a range of one-size-fits all approach across almost all smartphone platforms and printer vendors. While smaller businesses with a standardised printer fleet may find the individual mobile print apps sufficient for their needs, larger businesses with a mixed fleet (of both mobile OS and printers/MFPs) should consider integration with brand agnostic secure printing solutions.
 
Secure printing, through one of Online's Print Management Solutions are an effective approach for larger mixed fleet environments.  When a user prints, the job is held in a release queue until it is released at the printer or MFP after following user authentication (this may be an ID badge, PIN code, access card or username and password).  This offers a range of benefits, including an audit trail of what is being printed and eliminating paper waste as documents are not left uncollected in output trays which in turn reduces the chance for sensitive documents to be picked up by the wrong recipient.
 
With the full support of Online Business eSystems and their range of Print Management Solutions, we can help you boost mobile productivity while security risks are managed.  With BYOD showing no signs of abating, businesses need to act fast and get smart about managing and securing mobile print.

 

To learn more about our print management solutions and how you could bring more mobility to your business, contact your Online Business eSystems account manager, call 08 9091 4544 or send an email to the PDS (Professional Document Solutions) department.