What are the 21st Century Printing Needs?

What are the 21st Century Printing Needs?

Printing is so 20th century, isn’t it? These days, we all live in a paper-free world, and everything we need is right there on our laptop, or stored safely in the cloud, where we can access it via our smartphone.

If only it was that simple. Walk into any office, and you will still see stacks of paper and rows of filing cabinets. Modern technology has certainly reduced our consumption of paper, but it has by no means eliminated it. It does raise an important point, though.

Our printing needs in the modern era have not disappeared, but they have certainly changed. Are we meeting them effectively, or are we still using 20th century practices that are no longer appropriate today?

Laser or Inkjet?

This used to be the primary question in choosing a printer, and it is still relevant today. In short, laser printers are great for producing large volume print jobs in black and white, while inkjets are a cheap and cheerful solution for smaller print jobs or colour printing.

The key to assessing which is the most cost-effective is to have a good handle on the volume of printing you will be doing. This printer inks guide to ink cartridge vs ink toner is also a valuable resource to understand the pros and cons of the two options.

Wireless Printing

As it turns out, we have been more successful at going wireless than we have at going paperless, and these days, we usually sit down in the office and start work without needing to plug in an ethernet cable.

That is well and good until you need to send something to print. If you have an older laser printer in the office, this can be a real headache, and has led to a return to the old days, where managers have to ask their PAs or assistants to print documents off for them.

If the time has come to invest in a new printer, it definitely makes sense to choose one that has WiFi capability, and is compatible with Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint. These apps make it easy to print documents, charts and other media direct from smartphones and tablets. It’s so simple, even a CEO can do it!

Be aware that printers like these are generally designed for printing pictures and the like from smartphones, and might not be up to the task of high-volume print jobs in a busy and crowded office. However, for a small team or micro-business, they could be just what the doctor ordered.

Cloud Printing

The cloud has revolutionised offices by reducing the need for large storage capabilities, time consuming backup processes and labour-intensive software management and maintenance.

Cloud-powered features are having just as much of an impact on printing, and to future-proof your business, it is worth selecting a wireless printer that is able to log in to accounts on platforms such as Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive, so that users can print their documents and photos directly from the cloud.

Author

Mark Whitman is a sustainability and management consultant with significant experience in carbon management, corporate social responsibility and environmental management. He has worked with major companies such as Microsoft, BP, Westpac and Aegis Group. Mark holds a first class bachelors degree in economics and environmental science from the University of Cape Town and a masters degree from Cambridge University. He founded the Sustainable Business Toolkit in 2011 and is the lead editor for the website.

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