Gartner’s Weilerstein notes a few other trends related to printing, scanning and copying. He says there has been a push lately to go “paperless” when it comes to digital signatures, although some industries such as real estate and legal have resisted this surge.
Color printing is on the rise. He says companies are now printing about 20 percent more in color than black and white in recent years, mostly due to a price decrease in color printing supplies.
Printing legal documents has come under more scrutiny as well. Tuan Tran, general manager and global head for laserjet hardware and enterprise solutions at HP, says there is a trend with “pull printing” where the user prints a document but then has to authenticate his or her identity at the printer in order to generate the print job.
“Organizations have been deploying software that allows users to issue print jobs and then pick them up at any printer or MFP in the office, rather than having them default to the one nearest their desk,” says Weilerstein. “The printer pulls the job from the server at the time it is needed, rather than the printer server pushing the job to the print at the time it is used.”
He says the main driver for the timed printing and authentication is that it prevents another employee from picking up the documents. Weilerstein says there has been a dramatic increase in timed printing, print server use, and pulled printing in recent years.
In the end, workplace trends shift – sometimes edging over to the paperless office or moving to more localized printing in work-pods. All of the experts agreed: It’s important to compare industry trends against the actual needs and processes for your own employees.
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