The printing industry is undergoing significant changes that we see in other industries: digitization, modernization, data-driven decision-making and other technology-related changes. These changes reflect the needs of the modern consumer, including the need to have personalized printed materials as efficiently and quickly as possible.
As with other technology trends in the industry, the print technology and office supplies environment is filled with phrases and jargon that are new to most consumers. In addition, office supply companies and vendors looking to take advantage of these technologies without really knowing what they are doing.
Advanced technology can help companies achieve specific goals such as reducing inefficiencies, increasing ROI and improving print quality across all departments. However, it is important to understand which printing technology solutions are most feasible today.
Cyber security is one of the hottest technology trends in all major industries, but it has direct application to printing technology and software. Many printers are now equipped with enhanced encryption software, security features and even identity authentication to keep printed materials and digital files safe.
Cloud storage and sharing is a huge part of many businesses, both small and large, sending documents efficiently. MFPs and multifunction devices are starting to emerge with the ability to print documents from cloud storage with relative ease. This is useful in the home office as well.
Print queues are already optimized in several MFP models with software that can organize print queues. But users should expect models to further enhance these capabilities and integrate them with project management software.
MFPs can detect when toner ink levels are low and when there is not enough ink in some documents to complete printing. Many printers and similar devices are implemented with analytics features, based on regular print queues, to improve printer performance.
Artificial intelligence or “AI” is an evolving but constantly improving feature of MFPs. Soon, however, businesses of all sizes should be able to use MFPs that can automatically schedule prints and offer other automated features. The printer will be able to be part of the smart home much like the TV. With the raspberry pi smart tv and printer, for example, will be able to be controlled by “smart” technology.
Scanning technology has come a long way. But expect more cybersecurity and cloud sharing features to improve scanning workflows and document security.
Inkjet printing is already widely used in private households as well as in small and large businesses. However, the demand for more personalized print materials and specialized documents will drive new improvements in inkjet printing from MFPs.
Voice-activated technology is fairly new outside of smartphone technology. However, small consumer printers will likely provide voice-activated printing to print documents on command. Commercial MFPs are already at the threshold of making this technology available to businesses.