Having the right Office Equipment encompasses acquiring the right technology for your office. This allows you to accomplish more tasks with less effort. Dennis Zink, Fred Dunayer and Tom Monczka from Brother International Corp. discuss office equipment: the computers, software, printers and other devices that will make your office efficient and productive.
Published: Monday, July 27, 2015.
I’ve had a laser printer on my desk for approximately five years. Occupying 18 inches of desk real estate, this machine is truly amazing. It performs four functions very well — print, copy, scan and fax — yet the cost is reasonable. My machine has never had a break-down. The only thing I need to do is feed this machine plain paper and occasionally buy an ink toner cartridge. The quality is superb and it’s almost magic that I can print without wires at amazing speeds. Just a few decades ago, I needed three separate devices to fax, copy and print. Scanning documents and sending by email didn’t exist. These marvelous devices, known as “all-in-ones,” continue to evolve.
In an effort to learn what is in the crystal ball for all-in-ones, I interviewed Tom Monczka, ink jet product manager for Brother International. What follows is an extract from our conversation.
A lot of businesses start with a home-based machine and eventually outgrow the potential that machine offers. As print volume increases, there is usually a need to step up to a more business capable machine. Ink jets are great for small to medium business-level volume. Perhaps one ream of paper (500 sheets) per month is a good fit for an ink jet model. Laser technology is designed for higher volumes and are offered as single function or all-in-ones. Lasers print higher volume, faster speed and can provide cost savings as volume increases.
Ink jet mono printing can be as low as a penny per page or closer to five cents per page for color (color plus black). Laser quality produces crisp text and sharp graphics. Stepping up to color will cost a little more, but it could be worthwhile in terms of the impact on your business. Running out of ink is a problem. Users in a focus group expressed their greatest pain points when printing important documents and running out of ink. It’s a good idea to have that extra cartridge on the shelf. A: Is faxing still popular? Most people scan and email more than they fax. This has been an ongoing trend for a while. There are three-in-one machines available if there is no need for a fax function. However, certain industries still require fax capability.
All-in-ones are offering cloud services or cloud computing. Essentially, a cloud service offers data storage in an off-site location. They allow access to your cloud service directly from the machine. For example, Evernote is used for note taking and archiving, collaboration and sharing. This can be accessed directly from the machine’s touch screen where it’s linked to the account. You can scan documents to your Evernote account without a computer. Other examples would be Google Drive or Dropbox, designed for storing files. These cloud services are used to store documents, photos and videos. These can also be accessed directly from the all-in-one machine.
Touch-screen devices are emulating smart phone interfaces which provides vibrant color, impressive color reproduction and usually a large enough size so that a computer or a laptop is no longer needed. These services can be accessed directly from the machine. The future is now. There’ll be more seamless integration of services. The all-in-one will not be viewed separately from other aspects of the way you do business.
Other developments • Free cloud apps. Brother, as an example, offers cloud apps that capture and convert documents directly from the machine. A feature called scan to office will scan a document into a Microsoft Office format such as Word, Excel or Power Point. It then becomes a native document in that format instead of standard optical character recognition (which identifies text but prevents images from being manipulated). This will scan the document and send it to the cloud for processing and conversion into the Office format chosen. Select the Word, Excel or Power Point format to transfer into, and you now have the document as if it was created natively within that application.
• Mobile. Mobile device compatibility such as printing from tablets or smartphones is a big issue. You can wirelessly print from a tablet or mobile phone directly to the machine, while some applications also support scanning. Two examples of commonly used mobile printing solutions are Air Print (Apple) and Google Cloud Print (Android).
• WiFi Direct. This is a standard that allows communication between two devices without a wireless router. It enables you to print directly from your smartphone to your all-in-one device without using a wireless router in the household or business environment.
• Manufacturer apps. These are playing an important role in mobile-device printing. For example, a standard application will provide printing capability and a manufacturer’s app will add the ability to scan or the capability to check the ink level status from your machine.
• Near Field Communications (NFC). This is available on select machines. NFC is a standard that allows direct printing or scanning from a mobile device. If you have visitors to your office, you can provide them access to either print or scan to your device without logging on to your wireless network. It’s called touch-to-connect technology. By bringing your mobile device close to the all-in-one, the printing initiates, providing convenient and quick access to your documents. NFC and WiFi Direct are currently available. WiFi Direct is becoming more popular and is a standard feature in many models in the business segment. NFC is also becoming more popular, but it is typically only available on select models.