How is tech nology changing printing in schools, colleges and universities?
We ask leading suppliers of printers and print solutions for their thoughts
Mike Barnard, Head of Professional Services, TA Triumph-Adler (UK)
Education technology made big strides in 2014 and, with interactive teaching methods, cloud-based teaching, MOOC, BYOD, document sharing and print/scan functionality growing fast, we will see schools’ requirements in 2015 moving towards a much more integrated, allencompassing IT infrastructure.
There is also a growing need to securely file and easily access classroom notes, reports, lesson plans and hand-outs, as well as paperwork related to school management, so we are also seeing much more integration between hardware and software.
Every school has different print requirements and we would always recommend a rigorous print review to discover where savings and efficiencies can be made before investing in any new printer hardware or software. We often find that printer fleets can be reduced by installing faster, more efficient MFDs which, when combined with a range of smart, user-friendly software, can achieve reasonable cost savings and reduce print volumes.
The best suppliers have moved to a solutions-driven approach, and this has helped schools realise the full potential of good quality technology.
For example, our Productivity Pack can help save budgets by reducing wasted print through printing queues, electronically archiving documents and providing document OCR functions.
A common issue in schools is multiple copies of documents being printed out unnecessarily due to pupils repeatedly pressing ‘print’.
Using the right software, printers are able to control that waste; if the software sees that somebody has asked for the same document to be printed more than once, it will delete subsequent requests, saving the school budget and also helping the environment.
With the rise of electronic documents and BYOD, security is clearly becoming a bigger issue, and we’ve seen a rise in schools looking for clear data security measures on new hardware, alongside guarantees that print and scan data is safe.”
Simon Hill, Sales Director UK & Ireland at Nuance Communications
Today’s students are the most ITsavvy generation ever. Their early exposure to mobile devices has set a benchmark for the performance and ease of use they expect from other devices. From a print perspective, they want a consistent and intuitive interface and minimal effort to print and release documents from a device.
The increasing use of technology in education has made the creation of content even easier. With that in mind, it could be assumed that print volumes are set to increase as students and staff turn their digital content into print output. Failing to put a cap on print output could see print volumes run wild.
However, the application of Intelligent Print Management solutions like Equitrac, which brings accountability and control to printing, helps to control print volumes.
The detailed reporting these solutions provide also ensures that departments are billed for their print output, aiding cost recovery.
Another way to control students’ print volumes is for the Intelligent Print Management solution to work in conjunction with a credit-based system like ParentPay. As each print is deducted from a student’s account, it makes them think more carefully about what they print.
To further reduce wasteful printing, Equitrac’s Secure Follow-You Printing ensures that print jobs are only released when a student presents themselves at a printer. Unreleased documents can be deleted after a specified time-frame. While these may seem like small measures, cumulatively they contribute to an appreciable reduction in print volumes – and related costs.
Michelle Nicholas, European Customer Marketing Manager, Canon
One big development in the education sector is mobility. Students who bring their smartphones and tablets into classrooms, access, manage and share documents and information through these devices, reducing the need for prints. That said, print services are still hugely valuable in schools.
Coursework and projects are still required to be submitted in hard copy format and certain classes need to be supported by specialised print.
The increasing use of personal technology in schools is putting pressure on organisations to offer more services that provide value to the fee-paying student base and enrich their mobile experience.
For example, to complement print volumes that are substituted by digital content, print rooms increasingly offer relevant digital document management services, such as e-publications, interactive PDFs or support in storing and retrieving documents online. Many print rooms have also invested in Large Format Printers to provide print products that cannot be replicated with an online virtual document.The integration of mobile devices into existing systems can be challenging.
In order to deliver a great mobile user experience, schools need to align all of their services to a mobile audience. This includes mobile-ready websites and student portals, a reliable WiFi signal in classrooms to cope with the increased amount of mobile traffic, and dedicated mobile apps that help students to navigate on campus, and look up and print information.
Andrew Hall, Marketing Manager, OKI Systems (UK) Ltd
Colour increases students’ learningby as much as 78% and their willingness to participate by 80%, according to Gap Intelligence.
So paper is still important in the education sector. Despite all the new technology about, there is still a need to print hard copy documents that students can read through, understand and interact with.
Schools still need to manage their printer costs, and we are seeing a huge increase in enquiries about our managed print opportunities. Lots of schools have a host of different products from different suppliers and are spending a lot of time managing these devices, which can be costly.
When the benefits of managed print services, such as reduced print costs and improved efficiency, are explained, schools show willingness to invest in new print technology and solutions to control print, like PaperCut.
In addition, we have a school communication pack – a file of pre-created banners that schools can print on demand and put up in classrooms, including things like the periodic table, world events and a map of the human body.