The printer was once considered one of the most important pieces of equipment in any office. Today, printing needs have changed, but they have certainly not disappeared. Step into even the most digitally advanced office in the world and you will still see plenty of paper around, and printers busily working away. That’s not to say, however, that the printer is not having to evolve with the times.
Here we look at what we expect from printers in the modern workplace.
Fitting into the design.
Far more thought goes into office design today than even 10 years ago. This is partly down to the changing role of the office as a whole. Remote working means that those who just need to sit at a computer screen can as easily do so from home. The office is a place for promotion of teamwork and sharing ideas. As such, office environments are far more open, airy and designed to be relaxing places to be.
You see this not just in the furnishings but in the design of equipment, the choice of color schemes and yes, even the printers. Just take a look at Samsung’s MX7 range or anything from Brother’s extensive choice of all-in-one laser printers – they are sleek, futuristic, ergonomic and blend in to any setting.
Eco-friendly and cost efficient.
Every business needs to consider its carbon footprint, for both financial and reputational reasons. Sustainability is the watchword, and the printer has long been seen as something of a black sheep, using paper, electricity and toners with a voracious appetite. Today’s office printer needs to “get with the program” and that means cutting down on waste.
Duplex printing has to become the norm, along with a philosophy of using draft print quality as much as possible. This will also reduce ink consumption, which can be a drain on both finances and natural resources. Business owners can do their bit and compare printer toner cartridges here to save even more money on their printer consumables.
Today’s workforce uses a wide range of devices and platforms, and the key to business efficiency is interconnectivity. The modern printer must communicate with any device easily and without a wired connection. That means it has to be compatible with software such as Google Cloud Print for Android and AirPrint for iOS, as well as being able to link via conventional networked WiFi, Bluetooth and to other cloud based platforms such as Dropbox.
Ease of use.
It wasn’t so long ago that operating the printer, dealing with printer jams and changing a cartridge or toner was almost seen as a dark art, the secrets of which were revealed to only the select few. In today’s flexible working environment, that’s just not good enough.
Modern printer manufacturers have made huge steps in making their products more user friendly, and today, they have automated software that self-diagnoses faults and provides simple user information and instructions. Some even have the capability to reorder their own ink and toners when they are getting low!