By: Louella Fernandes, Principal Analyst, Quocirca
Published: 22nd April 2014
Copyright Quocirca © 2014
The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to revolutionise the consumer and business landscape. According to a report by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit, sponsored by ARM, over three quarters of companies are using or planning to deploy some form of IOT. What are the implications for one key area of the next generation connected enterprise—the print infrastructure?
Fuelled by machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, the Internet of Things (IoT) is all about connecting a wide range of internet-enabled devices—from cars, lighting, smart meters and more—that generate actionable data. Thanks to innovations in smart sensors and RFID chips, devices are becoming more intelligent assets that can be connected, monitored and managed remotely. In the enterprise, this networked world of smart devices has the potential to improve business efficiency, reducing operating and maintenance costs.
In the print industry, proactive maintenance and support is nothing new. Today, many smart printers and MFPs (multifunction peripherals) are equipped with embedded technology to enable remote management. This enables automated meter readings, automatic supplies replenishment and remote diagnostics, which provide a business with better uptime and greater productivity. For instance, devices may send alerts when service is required or when consumables, such as ink or toner, need replenishment.
Automated monitoring and proactive management is the foundation of a managed print service (MPS). Quocirca estimates that over 40% of enterprises are using some form of MPS to better control and manage their printer and MFP fleets. Due to the lack of standardisation between printer brands, MPS providers typically need to use either a combination of tools, or a centralised brand-agnostic tool that can track and monitor usage and device status across a mixed fleet.
So could print management across a heterogeneous fleet be simplified with the addition of smart sensors which are standardised across devices?
IoT/M2M technology has the potential to make a profound change in the evolving print industry that is having to adapt to the proliferation of mobile devices and ubiquitous connectivity. Smartphones and printers are already talking to each other via near-field communications (NFC)—and future innovations could use M2M communications to ensure standardised mobile printing regardless of mobile OS or printer brand.
The print industry is already taking the lead in respect to smart connected devices. Printer hardware is already becoming more powerful, most offer cloud connectivity and increased document processing capabilities and intelligence. By adding sensors and networking technologies to printers and MFPs, businesses can gain valuable real-time insight into print usage.
Using IoT/M2M technology can offer a range of benefits, including:
The enterprise print, IT and mobile environments are far from homogeneous. As M2M technology evolves and costs fall, it will play a wider role in both the business and consumer environments. Managed Print Service providers stand to gain enormously from the growth of IoT, unlocking the potential of information-driven, value-added service opportunities.
Ultimately, smart embedded device automation will help manufacturers and their customers reduce costs, optimise processes and improve efficiency. Harnessing this growth requires new levels of innovation through partnerships between vendors, technology and communications providers.
Certainly, as the market evolves, leveraging the intelligence of smart connected printers and MFPs will be fundamental to both the service delivery and the insight that businesses gain from their next generation print environments.
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Published by: electronicdawn Ltd.