Mobile explosion creates printing issues for enterprises

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It is rare to be in a social or business setting today and not see heads bowed down toward smartphones and tablets. So it may come as no surprise that mobile devices are expected to outpace PC sales 8-to-1 by the end of 2014 (Gartner, June 2013).

More than half of U.S. adults own a smartphone, and a recent survey reports that tablet ownership is up from just 4 percent two years ago to 35 percent today. As these numbers continue to climb, users are seeking PC-like benefits, such as printing, from their mobile devices, particularly within the enterprise.

“Desktops and laptops have more than a 20-year history and an entire infrastructure around making printing available from those devices within the business environment,” said Julie Knight, manager, worldwide solutions marketing, Lexmark. “None of that history exists with mobile devices and there is a lack of IT infrastructure to support mobile printing today.”

Mobile devices and their operating systems vary widely, causing a different printing experience for each user. “Any time you have a different user experience across a large base of users, it creates a nightmare for IT to manage,” Knight said.

Some of the issues created by the lack of IT infrastructure around mobile printing include basic questions like how a user can print to a specific printer within an enterprise. Those enterprises that offer mobile printing must deal with an entire set of IT issues such as connectivity and control over the usage of the printer, and confidentiality of what is being printed.

“People within an enterprise trying to print from their mobile device expect the same ease they have come to know with traditional PC printing,” Knight said. “But the lack of IT infrastructure in most companies today leaves users on their own.”

Printer companies are committed to providing the best user experience possible, and that includes printing from the mobile device. To that end, companies like Lexmark have joined the Mopria Alliance. The Mopria Alliance is a nonprofit membership organization of leading global technology companies focused on providing simple wireless printing from smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

Over time, the IT tools and the ability for IT to regulate and control mobile printing will continue to develop, thanks in part to the Mopria Alliance and programs like Lexmark’s Print Management, which enables mobile printing for enterprises within their global networks; ensuring prints are available from any device and at any location they are needed.

“At some point we are going to stop calling it ‘mobile printing’ and it will just be ‘printing’. The standard will include printing from any device, including tablets and smartphones,” Knight added.

For more information about Lexmark, contact MCC’s Document Solutions Division today.

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