From the printing press to mobile-friendly printers, the way consumers print paper over the years has changed.
But according to Ralph Slider, senior vice president of field operations for Michigan Office Solutions (a Xerox company), the printing business is evolving even more so within the last five years.
“Now the interface on our machines, when you go up to touch it, is like an iPhone,” he said. “It has apps on it that allow you to translate from English to Spanish, English to Italian. It has apps on it that you can scan a document in, and let’s say schools and teachers need to proofread the papers, they spend hours and hours just proofreading papers to figure out if they were plagiarized or not. You can scan a document today and hit a certain app on a Xerox asset and it will scan the document and go out to the internet, and it will validate whether or not it has been plagiarized or not.”
After being in the printing industry over the course of a few decades, John Lowery, president of Applied Imaging, said when he started at Applied Imaging, there was a belief the digital revolution would change the rate in which people print because they would be able to store and manage documents digitally.
The digital world has allowed people to store their documents online, and because of the internet, Lowery said there are many more documents available now than ever before. As a result, people are printing at a faster rate. To eliminate the possibility of wasting paper, however, now there are ways people can print via phone.
“You can print from your phone, by what we call AirPrint or mobile print,” he said. “There are features that we call FollowMe Printing. So, if we install a software we call PaperCut, you can print a job, (but) it is not going to print the job until you release it with a code. So, that has saved a ton of wasted paper that people print and then just don’t pick up. It can also follow you from office to office. So, you can print something and wherever you put in that code, it will release it at that machine. So, if I travel to Lansing and I don’t want to take the papers with me, I can just go to the unit that is in Lansing and put in a code and it will print it out. It is also a security function for people who don’t want others to view their document.”
While there are many options for people in offices to store information and review it digitally, Lowery said he doesn’t think printers have gone away as much as people thought they would.
“I just think people like to print a document,” he said. “They still like holding it in their hands. We have seen areas were print has gone up. People still like to mark up (paper).”
Slider said that in the future, printers will continue to become workflow motivated by helping people move from the physical paper to the digital, like iCloud, and iCloud to the physical paper with the help of more software.