How smart printers are changing the game for office management

November 29, 20184 minute read

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High tech in the ’90s meant an office crammed with large, single-function equipment: fax machines to fax, printers to print, scanners to scan, and copiers to copy. Office management, in turn, equated to clearing paper jams and replacing cartridges.

Looking back, you’ll realize these pioneering technologies weren’t the most efficient, but they actually set the stage for today’s digital transformation. Don’t believe it? Let’s take a look at just how much smart printers have changed and streamlined office workflows.

Open up your office in a box

A different device for everything may have been the height of technology 25 years ago, but with the amount of real estate they each took up, it’s no surprise manufacturers soon tried to consolidate them. Eventually, they succeeded, leading to the arrival of “all-in-one” print technology.

Offices began phasing out their mishmash of humming and buzzing machines in favor of multifunction printers (MFPs). These machines consolidated functionalities and simplified document management while also reducing overall costs. Back in the day, you also needed to shell out a lot of money to print anything other than the standard A4 (8.5″x11″) paper size. Fresh technology has made sizes like A3 (11″x17″) readily available and affordable—a boon for small and midsize companies that traditionally send jobs off-site due to cost.

With how prevalent these A3 MFPs are in modern offices, they may go overlooked or unnoticed. Standard office tech, like your printer, is often underappreciated, but if it disappeared, you’d definitely notice the loss. Without modern printers, a big chunk of what modern offices can do quickly and easily would be lost.

Reimagine print technology

Just as daisy wheels and dot matrix printing bit the dust in the ’90s, tired tech is nowhere to be found in modern A3 MFPs. For example, HP LaserJets have no drum or developer in the cartridge—just toner. The toner cartridge can be replaced easily without a service call, and the toner will last 35,000–70,000 pages, depending on which model you buy. The HP PageWide A3 MFPs don’t even use traditional moving printheads. Instead, they have one stationary printhead that never moves. Instead, the page moves, enabling one-pass, quiet printing, while more than 40,000 nozzles deposit tiny droplets of ink across the page simultaneously. This new approach to printing is speedy and thrifty, printing up to 75 pages per minute, and also provides affordable color printing to a new spectrum of businesses.1,2

These innovative advancements mean the days of frequent paper jams and nearly constant printer supplies purchases are over. Users no longer need to deal with rationed color ink or print projects taking an inordinately long amount of time, either. Instead, users can just assume their documents will be ready when they need them—and you won’t have to worry about receiving complaints that they’re not.

Streamline office management

Advances in smart printer efficiency also results in improvements to the everyday workflows running your business. As intelligent network devices, A3 MFPs give businesses the opportunity to move more of the daily grind onto their systems rather than their operators. Here’s a quick snapshot of how today’s printers make office management a little easier:

  • Today’s MFPs are connected to the company network. This lets users route copied or scanned documents to a variety of destinations, such as email recipients, network folders, and LAN fax addresses.
  • Within HP A3 MFPs, built-in scanners can delete blank pages and rotate pages 180 degrees, so users don’t need to trudge back to the scanner if they made a mistake.
  • Device-based sensing capabilities and cloud-based analytics can monitor and diagnose service needs, anticipating when parts will require servicing and avoiding premature ink and toner replacement.
  • Mobile options allow workers on the go to print from anywhere—whether from the factory floor, a client’s office, or even a coffee shop.
  • Multitasking capabilities allow one worker to scan, copy, or fax while print jobs are executed for another—say goodbye to long lines at the print station.

These features may seem like little things, but they add up. Imagine how many hours a business would lose if even one of these features was missing—and really appreciate how today’s innovative technology saves your office from losing precious time.

Emphasize security across the business

There is a downside to having network-connected devices in this day and age: They could get hacked if left unsecured. In today’s cyber-intrusive environment, every business needs layers of protection to seal off potential security breaches. Fortunately, there are some A3 MFPs that offer formidable security options. Here’s how printers have evolved to keep your IT environment more secure:

  1. BIOS validation. The BIOS is a set of instructions responsible for loading critical hardware components and initiating firmware when booting up your printer. If a hacker messes with the BIOS, a printer with embedded security features could automatically reboot itself to a safe copy of the BIOS.
  2. Firmware whitelisting. If firmware comes under attack, a machine equipped with whitelisting capabilities can reboot the device to a secure, offline state and alert IT to what’s happening.
  3. Network protection. Whenever your system is connected to the network, invisible “detectives” in some printers are busy checking for anomalies and rebooting when necessary.
  4. Malware prevention. If malware manages to get into your network, you don’t want it to “call home” to malicious servers and steal your data. HP A3 MFPs check any outgoing network connections constantly. If they detect suspicious requests, they trigger a self-healing reboot.

With so many features and functions, A3 MFPs that accommodate printing, scanning, faxing, and copying have become an unsung defining force of the digital transformation. As businesses continue to speed up and advance into the digital age, you can keep pace by putting innovative technology and smart printer efficiency to work for your business.

Sources:

  1. Measured using ISO/IEC 17629. Exact speed for first page out varies depending on system configuration, software application, driver, and document complexity. Learn more at hp.com/go/printerclaims.
  2. Total cost of ownership comparison based on 1,500 pages per month over five years, manufacturers’ published specifications for page yields and energy use, manufacturers’ suggested retail prices for hardware and supplies, cost per page based on ISO yield with continuous printing in default mode with highest-available-capacity cartridges of all color business printers and MFPs $400–1000 USD as of September 2015, excluding products with 1 percent or lower market share, using market share as reported by IDC as of Q2 2015. Learn more at hp.com/go/pagewidebusiness and hp.com/go/learnaboutsupplies
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