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How the humble printer has become your personal assistant

How the humble printer has become your personal assistant

The printing industry may seem to be at odds with the exponential growth of digitisation but it's an essential part of the office ecosystem

Remember that large plastic box that occupied a huge space in the corner of your office? All it did was print documents and nothing more. Now leading vendors offer advanced printing solutions that incorporate state-of-the-art features bringing high-levels of functionality to your fingertips.

At one time printers just printed – that’s all they did. Now in the age of the internet connectivity and ubiquitous cloud services they do much more. They are nothing less than another powerful device with a range of highly specialist functions, that meet the expectations of customers that have been transformed with the development of digital technology. Printers play a crucial role in the digital workplace and nowadays they offer apps, true mobile access and increased security.

Here we asked Pui-Chi Li, Head of Marketing, Xerox MEA, about the latest developments in the sector.

How the role of printers changing in today digital environment?

While at first the printing industry may seem to be at odds with the exponential growth of digitisation, it is in fact an essential part of the office ecosystem. Developments have meant that we have not only embraced this trend, we have looked at how we can help our customers to face the challenge of digitisation in their own business. Xerox commissioned a study of 600 IT decision-makers and influencers, the desire to transform to a digital rather than paper-based enterprise is clear and strong, but for most, it is still out of reach.

By implementing ever-smarter tool sets on devices to help streamline work processes, offering apps, which allow truly mobile access, increased security and analytics, optimise workflow; printers continue to play a key role in the digital environment.

Have printers moved away from being devices to becoming workplace assistants?

Yes they have, Xerox for example introduced 29 new ConnectKey®-enabled printers and multifunction devices that transform traditional printing devices into smart, connected workplace assistants.

The ConnectKey printers and multifunction devices are cloud ready with one-touch access to the cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive or Office 365. They are also mobile friendly, making the job of printing from your mobile devices quick and easy.

How is the role of the printer changing from being just a machine to a connected device?

With IoT trends today, almost all devices are connected to the internet and printers are not an exception. I would reframe this question by saying, how can printers not be connected in the modern workplace environment. Our offices are no longer bound by a specific location or time, a lot of working professionals prefer a fluid workplace and connected and cloud enabled devices allow such environments. We can work together while being countries apart, print from anywhere in the world, send documents to our emails, cloud storage units, shared folders like Google docs and Drop Box, anything you can imagine. Looking at the working style of Millennials it is hard to imagine modern workplace without being agile and constantly connected.

How are mobile and cloud based solutions incorporated into your products?

A mobile device became the work hub away from the workplace with Xerox® ConnectKey® Technology. Users can now manage work from anywhere, via laptop, tablet or smart phone. Download, share, print, scan, distribute and even translate documents on the go, simply by tapping an app.

By using the ConnectKey Technology optional Wi-Fi feature and the organisation’s cloud service to connect everyone’s mobile devices to ConnectKey MFPs with native mobility including AirPrint, Mopria, Google Cloud Print, and the Xerox® Android Print Service Plug-in. Plus, DropBox™, Google Drive, and OneDrive are pre-installed on VersaLink® printers and downloadable from the AppGallery on AltaLink® MFPs.

Do your products have any translation abilities?

Xerox® Easy Translator Service is a comprehensive suite of cloud translation services that is ideal for mid-sized business that have the need to translate documents. Users can choose from an express or a professional translation.

The service has key features such as Instant machine language translations from MFP, phone or PC, easily translating and localising over 40 languages including Arabic and French, with output available in over 20 file formats, world-class OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Furthermore, human translation is available for the ultimate in quality and speed. Depending on the length and complexity, you can put your English language document on the scanning glass and get your Arabic version printed in less than 30 seconds.

Such features can add significant value and agility to many verticals across the Middle East region, especially when legal translation certification is not required, this can help different organisations and governmental institutions to collaborate with their regional and international partners at a much faster pace. We can definitely see how education, government, banking and finance, healthcare and many other sectors can benefit from this feature. In addition to Easy Translate, all ConnectKey printers are enabled with an Arabic language interface specifically designed for this region.

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