EFI Prediction - 2012, A Breakout Year for Mobile Printing

By TechZone360 Special Guest
Tom Offutt, Director of Business Development, EFI
January 05, 2012

2012 will be a breakout year for mobile printing in the enterprise. With the ongoing consumerization of IT, adoption of BYOD (bring your own device) policies, a forthcoming explosion of new mobile business apps and a workforce that is increasingly using tablets as their primary means of computing, business users will demand the same set of utilities afforded by traditional PC and laptop computing. The ability to print will be right at the top of their demands.

Where’s the evidence? Consider these facts:

  • The mobile printing market was sized for the first time this year by IDC, which expects the market to grow at 71 percent CAGR through 2015 to just over $1 billion.
  • Gartner predicts that by 2015, 80 percent of businesses will support a workforce using tablets.
  • According to a Kelton Research survey, more than 20 percent of respondents planned to deploy 20 or more mobile business apps in 2011.
  • More than 50 percent of CIOs surveyed by InfoTrends Research said they were considering the rollout of a mobile printing solution.

Printing from tablets and smartphones has never been easy. This issue has become especially problematic in 2011 for knowledge workers who are increasingly adopting mobile devices for their flexibility and convenience and are integrating these maturing devices into their daily routines at work. But unlike laptops and PCs, tablets and smartphones were not built with printing in mind. Printing from these devices has been frustrating for end-users and a headache for IT. The first iPads didn’t even offer users the ability to print. Apple changed direction with printing after it later became one of the most requested features by users. Apple finally included their AirPrint capability in the iOS 4.2 release. Other mobile operating systems such as Blackberry and Android have yet to provide users the ability to print directly from their devices without the assistance of a special app.

Mobile printing technology also made leaps forward in 2011 in preparation for meeting the need in 2012. Our own company launched a new on-premises software solution capable of supporting three methods of printing for enterprise mobile users. Other companies such as Canon, HP, Ricoh and Xerox also launched or enhanced their mobile printing offerings. And as Managed Print Service providers look to provide new value-added services to customers and expand their own revenue opportunities, mobile printing solutions will more frequently be discussed with enterprise IT buyers.

Although some surveys say that tablets are potentially a reason not to print—larger display, greener, etc. – there’s also the opposite view that there will always be a need to print certain types of documents. Some tasks, such as detailed document review, are often easier and more efficient in hard copy. In fact, there are a variety of market segments in which the need for mobile printing is increasing. The use of mobile devices within healthcare is growing at a fast pace because medical personnel need to be able to access patient records quickly and easily, looking up information in drug interaction or treatments databases. With mobile printing, they can print information, instructions or prescriptions for patients on demand, regardless of where they are within the medical facility. The market is also exploding in financial services, where companies use tablets to access client data from the corporate server. Mobile devices give them the flexibility to interact with clients without being tied to their desk and desktop PC. However, without being able to print anywhere in their multistory building, generating and reviewing client reports, factsheets and applications becomes cumbersome. These are just a few examples. The need for mobile printing will also grow in many other industries, such as legal and retail.

As mobile technology becomes more prevalent, I believe there will be an evolution in capabilities and a concurrent increase in user expectations with mobile printing. This evolution will continue throughout 2012 and EFI is set to be a major contributor to meeting and exceeding users’ expectations for simple, secure and cost effective mobile print solutions. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

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Edited by Rich Steeves

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