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Guest article: Welcome to cloud printing

John Taylor, managing director of M2 Digital, comments on the future of printing using cloud enabled print services…

When it comes to accessing important business data and applications from a mobile device, there’s not much left that can’t be accomplished with the push of the button. Notebook laptops and mobile phones have become smaller, faster and feature-packed with the capability to access emails via a mobile phone was the real breakthrough in remote working. Accessing emails and desktop appliances remotely has now become an important part of day-to-day business life allowing professionals to work from anywhere at anytime.
Yet being able to print away from the office has always been the missing link in remote working technology. Having to locate Wi-Fi, printing services, the network code, or ask to borrow someone’s computer, are time consuming and inconvenient when on the move. Despite more flexible working becoming increasingly feasible thanks to developments in remote access applications and cloud computing, printing on the go is a huge gap in the mobile workflow.
However, HP has developed a solution to make printing on the move a reality, by allowing web-enabled mobile phone users to print anytime, anywhere to a network printer. By downloading the new application, users will be able to print a document, presentation or photo with a few simple clicks.
So how does it work? Cloud technology has been around for a number of years with an ever increasing following of businesses looking to access the latest software resources at a negligible price. The very nature of the cloud is about device and location independence, and not having to invest in expensive and dedicated operating systems. Companies are already using Internet-based applications services delivered through the cloud for software as a service (SaaS), utility computing, commerce and other web services. It is through this cloud technology that business users will be able to benefit from remote printing simplifying the way people work and print, whether at one of their company locations or on the go.
 The technology will allow web enabled phone users to print presentations, emails, photos and documents, through a high secure, private intranet cloud application. The geo-locating feature finds the printer closest to where you are or where you are going making documents available on arrival.
It will also find registered printers in commercial hotspots and the home. In any situation, there is no need to deal with Wi-Fi services and other inconveniences. The service is printer agnostic and driverless, requiring only simple Internet access via a smartphone. It will eliminate the need to track down security codes and log in, and frees the print process from drivers, cables and operating systems with no special software or hardware required.
It is anticipated that cloud printing will drive productivity by allowing businesses to share printers and documents more efficiently, print ahead from remote locations and convert mobile content into hard copy for easy reading, markup and sharing. With an increasing need to work away from the office, mobile technology is being more commonly called upon and latest developments in cloud computing and smartphones is allowing a fully operational office, away from the office. This seemingly straightforward concept is a major step forward in real-time mobile printing.