Why mobile printing is important in enterprises?

working mobile

When I’m on the move – and I do that a lot – I realize why mobile printing is important for businesses.

I can still remember exactly how excited I was about my first BlackBerry back in 2004. On the way to work, even on the bus – checking all my mails. That was a real productivity gain at the time. I was setting up our Asia-Pacific office in Sydney back then and right away bought a device for our then, one and only employee.

Since then, a lot has happened with iPhones, iPads, Android, MDM, MAM, BYOD… But the majority of users still use email, the calendar and telephone features on their smartphones for business purposes (and that’s what this is all about). Of course, there are many companies that map entire workflows to mobile devices, including signatures etc., but this is usually done based on specially developed apps and for specially planned workflows of selected employees.

At present we can see that a change is taking place. Microsoft Office, unexpectedly, is making the difference and ushering in the next step in mobility. “Yes, I really do work with Word on my xPhone,”… sometimes I have to justify myself when talking about it. Some people don’t even think it works until I show them (a few still don’t believe it even when they’ve seen it). With the mobile view, I can read and edit text on my smartphone really easily. Making the first draft for an upcoming presentation quickly in PowerPoint is not an issue. To be honest though, I personally still don’t work much with Excel on my smartphone.
Why is that important? For us at ThinPrint at least I can say that it is. We have been supporting organizations with mobile printing from tablets and smartphones since 2003. It started with Windows Mobile, Symbian and then really, for the first time on a broader scale with BlackBerry. Since then, it has mostly been specific, special-usage scenarios, such as printing out delivery lists in the warehouse, printing out forms at the customer with a special mobile printer, printing out large building plans on construction sites without an IT infrastructure, and of course, with our history, printing from virtual desktops.

This has been changing for about a year now. Thanks to Office 365, which seems to be gaining ground almost everywhere (not least thanks to Microsoft’s licensing policy and also thanks to the Files App in iOS 11), more and more file-based work is being completed on mobile devices. The use of file sharing services such as OneDrive, ShareFile, iCloud and Teamplace add to this effect.

The difference is that these are no longer special workflows for selected employees. Everyone who has a smartphone or tablet in the organization starts using it, often each for himself, with the most varied use cases, from creating drafts, through editing to approvals and even publishing. Anyone who uses MS Office can benefit from this. The workflows don’t even need to be planned, but arise spontaneously, for example when a document is attached to an e-mail or a link to the mobile fileshare is attached. This has led us to notice this sharp increase in demand for mobile printing. And this is probably the most obvious answer to the question asked at the beginning – Why mobile printing is important in enterprises? The answer is that the more file-based work is done, the more often employees want to print files. Our customers of course don’t want their employees to have to go back to their PCs just in order to print.

Here comes some self-promotion! That’s why this year we launched ThinPrint Mobile Print, a new product designed purely for printing from mobile applications, and this of course includes Office, directly to network printers in the organization using existing user rights. It can be combined with MDM systems such as MobileIron, AirWatch/Workspace ONE, Citrix XenMobile or Sophos. This is especially applicable to companies that want to support file-based mobile work across the board for all their employees.

And that’s the goal of mobility – that I can accomplish everything, everywhere, whether on the road or moving about through the company’s headquarters. The more productively I can use my time in every location, the sooner I can go home, and of course I’d love to do that in Sydney again.

PS: Of course, on the bus or in the train, I don’t actually print on the spot, but to a printer queue. In the office I can then go to a printer with my card, authenticate and pick up my printouts. That’s all there is to it!

Also read our blogpost The digital workplace – will printing play a role in the workplace of the future? 

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