Facilitating Secure Mobile Printing Seamlessly
Whether you want to hear it or not, the global workforce is going mobile. IDC reports that there will be 1.3 billion mobile workers in 2015, that’s over 37% of the total workforce. The IDC also report that Irish organisations will invest more in smartphones and tablets throughout 2014 than ever before, while PC sales will continue to decline.
With the increased use of mobile devices by the workforce, several questions arise relating to safeguarding the data available to these devices, whilst ensuring the productivity of the mobile workforce.
As my expertise lies in the area of print and intelligent document services, in this blog I look at the growing demands of the mobile workforce and the print infrastructure options available to organisations in supporting this rapidly changing environment.The opinion that the adoption of mobile devices would kill printing is unfounded and a recent report from Lyra Research now part of the Photizo Group forecasts massive growth in the area of mobile printing, estimating an expected 2 billion pages to be printed by mobile devices in 2015 with an expected further increase to 10 billion by 2020.
Below are a number of products on the market that will allow mobile users to print from their devices while maintaining a documents security.
- HP’s Mobile Print Accessory
HP’s Mobile Print Accessory provides some excellent features to allow users print securely and easily from their mobile devices. Adding NFC technology and Wi-Fi Direct to its newest HP fleet of printers allows users print direct to their HP printer without the need to connect their mobile device to the corporate network. This alleviates the need for system admin’s to setup print permissions and makes it easier to manage while still ensuring document security through encryption. The use of a pass phrase can also ensure you’re in charge of who can use your HP device. This feature is available on most new enterprise models but is also available as an add-on accessory with easy USB installation directly onto your existing HP device.
- HP’s Mobile Print Accessory
For a more comprehensive corporate solution HP also provides EPrint Enterprise. This solution integrates easily into your IT Infrastructure and is easily managed and scaled. HP ePrint allows your mobile workforce to print from any mobile device to any of your registered printers. The security side features available with ePrint are excellent, administrators can control who can print and which printer the mobile users can use. The user’s documents also travels through encrypted channels and the solution can also integrate with your existing pull print solution.
- Safecom Mobile Print
The SafeCom mobile app lets you print to your organisation’s existing SafeCom managed print solution, providing Pull Print functionality via your Mobile Device. There is no need for software to be installed on mobile devices or to connect your mobile device to your corporate network. For administrators Safecom Mobile is easy to manage and provides the end user with a self-registration method via a web portal. Users also have access to the Safecom mobile app on Apple devices and the app allows you to release, retain, and delete documents directly from your mobile device. Another option available is to scan a QR code with your mobile device at your nearest Safecom enabled printer to release your stored print job, a lot of solutions are using this option, but to me it’s more of an annoyance than a useable solution.
- PrinterOn Enterprise
The PrinterOn Enterprise solution makes it possible for employees and guests to print to corporate printers without having to connect to the corporate network. Some of the more intelligent features of the enterprise version are identified below. All PrinterOn mobile printing workflows can be authenticated against Active Directory or LDAP which allows your IT control access to printing and keeps related costs down. PrinterOn allows users to connect to printers across multiple corporate networks locations. One excellent feature gives mobile users the ability to use GPS to find available local printers from within the PrinterOn mobile apps. One differentiator PrinterOn gives is the ability to print directly from within SAP connecting users with enterprise bar code, RFID and document printers globally. PrinterOn also offers APIs that can be used to develop custom solutions for your organisation integrating cloud printing into existing workflows through small-scale mobile applications or installed ERP systems such as SAP. PrinterOn provides a range of Printing Apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Kindle and Windows tablets, so all devices are covered.
- FollowMe Mobile
Although this is an add-on to the tried and trusted FollowMe managed print solution from Ringdale, it is still an excellent product and worth a mention. FollowMe's mobile printing features allows users to print to any enabled printer on your corporate network. Documents can be submitted for print via e-mail, web-client and any mobile phone or tablet device with a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. Print jobs are then processed by the FollowMe Q-Server and held securely until the user is ready to release their documents at any enabled printer. This driverless technology gives users the freedom to print, without the need for a print driver, connection to the corporate network or even a computer. A highlight of FollowMe Mobile is the seamless integration with Apple AirPrint, where the user simply taps print on their iPad or iPhone, then the device automatically sends the document via Wi-Fi to any enabled printer, without requiring an additional App. In addition it also integrated with Google Cloud Print.
Above are just a few of the mobile print options available to organisations. Forecasts from Gartner this year predict that 90% of companies will support corporate applications on personal devices.The adoption of mobile printing will happen sooner rather than later and can release the potential of the mobile platform and provide a more collaborative, productive and efficient work environment for all users.