Eric Crump, Ringdale Director of Strategic Alliances, explains how FollowMe simplifies mobile printing and enables schools to track and monitor printing from wireless devices as well as desktop PCs.
A school may have a mixture of devices they need to print from, including wireless products from Google, Apple, Microsoft or Blackberry. How do you make sure that people who need to print can do so, especially as printing on tablet devices or low-cost HP Stream laptops or Google Chromebooks often seems to be an afterthought?
One of the school districts we work with in the US acquired about 1,000 Chromebooks. They already had Ringdale’s FollowMe solution in place for administration staff and teachers’ printing and immediately went back to the channel partner and said ‘We have Chromebooks and want to connect them to our IT systems, but we don’t know what to do about printing because Chromebooks don’t use the standard office printing methods’.
Chromebooks provide Google Cloud Print as a solution but the customer wasn’t ready to send information out to the cloud to print. So, now we work with schools and channel partners to make sure they understand how simple it is with FollowMe to print from any device – a Chromebook, Android tablet or Apple device.
The solution we have makes printing easy. If you are printing from an Apple device, the FollowMe server shows up as an AirPrint printer, so anyone connected to the network can submit a file to print just like they do at home with their home printer. They can then go to any printer within the school and release that print job to be printed.
In a mixed fleet of mobile devices, you can also print documents by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org and releasing them at any available printer. You don’t have to install and manage apps on people’s PCs, laptops or tablets, and our solution supports 12 different OEM vendors and has a consistent interface across all products.
Moreover, when a file gets to our server we can compress it by as much as 90%, so that when we send it across to the printer it is significantly smaller. Our solution simplifies printing for IT people by removing the need to manage and support apps and by reducing the amount of network traffic related to print.
With mobile printing, you also need to consider how the process is controlled from an IT and cost perspective and FollowMe helps here too.
IT staff can analyse stats and see who’s mobile printing; they can put in place policies to make printing from mobile devices more cost-effective – e.g. no email printing or no printing of colour photos; and they can produce weekly, monthly or termly reports to make sure printing is under control. They might also look at quotas for students and administrative staff and route documents to the most appropriate device, e.g. to a centralised print room for large print jobs.”