Technology is adapting to accommodate virtual offices…
Our digital age has a tendency to see professionals working and collaborating from places that would have been impossible even twenty years ago. Wifi, cloud computing, flexitime and telecommuting all bring with them an increase in productivity, creativity and flexible working practices, but the work still has to be delivered.
Remote printing is an easy solution.
Accessing work printers directly, especially large format or high-definition printers, can be a godsend for photographers, architects or graphics designers. Work prepared from a home or mobile office can be formatted directly for a specified printer and then sent directly instead of through an intermediary. This minimises mistakes, cost and the time it would take for a colleague to reformat the document.
The physical location of the printer can be literally anywhere if you maintain offices in several parts of a country or even internationally. As long as you have access to the relevant software and login, and someone is on hand to ensure there is ink, paper and power, you can print at any time of the day or night.
The easiest and most obvious forms of remote printing lie in network enabled printers which run on a corporate or home network and are shared amongst all connected computers.
Anyone able to connect to a network printer, either through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or directly to the local area network, can print through that printer. Wifi printers are also considered as remote as they have no direct connection to any one PC and may be configured to accept print jobs from their local area network or directly via peer-to-peer connection.
Most new printers come with a third option, that of cloud printing which is literally the use of a printer – as outlined earlier – to print from any geographic location that has internet access. Many printer manufacturers offer cloud printing as a printer-specific service such as Epson Connect.
Epson Connect allows you to register your printer with the Epson cloud and a personal account. You are then able to log in to the service from anywhere and print onto that printer provided it’s turned on.
A more versatile service comes in the form of Google Cloud Print, a service which ties your Google account not only to a printer or printers, but also to any devices associated with the Google account that are capable of printing.
Until recently this was considered a gimmick that very few people used, until several major manufacturers began to include Google Print software and capability in their new printers.
If you’re not a fan of Google, similar schemes exist which tie multiple printers, computers, tablets and smartphones together. Printershare is a multi-platform, multi-operating system tool offering much the same functionality as Google Print:
‘Uniprint offers a solution to remote printing that is aimed more at mid- to high-end corporate users. With scalable and highly secure software it allows the corporate environment to be accessed by Remote Desktop or VPN and is highly configurable. There’s no doubt that as manufacturers embrace new working models their latest hardware will reflect the greater need for on-the-go printing and cloud access flexibility.
Find out more about flexible working and the virtual office on our blog post.