A Mobile Workforce Demands Mobile Printing

— May 31, 2011

As the mobile workforce expands and the lines between the office and the outside world become more transparent, the demands and expectations of mobile workers will increase as well. This evolving mobile landscape presents tremendous opportunity for mobile enterprise print applications that are geared toward providing users with a seamless, more convenient way of printing their documents both inside and outside the office.

According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), the rapidly expanding mobile worker population, the proliferation of smartphones and media tablets, and the explosion of mobile apps will converge to drive demand for mobile printing solutions over the next five to ten years.

IDC's research also shows that smartphone users are more likely to report year-over-year increases in their print volume, whereas nonusers are more likely to report flat or decreased print volume. 

"A print solution will be a 'must have' for mobile users expecting the ability to print from their handheld devices," says Holly Muscolino, research director, Hardcopy Peripherals: Software and Services. "But the market is young and the plethora and variety of solutions has been very confusing to both hardcopy device vendors and end users, with no clear-cut standards emerging."
 
At this point, there are a number of vendors providing diverse solutions deployed in a variety of ways and meeting vastly different user requirements. This unorganized approach is creating increased confusion, a lack of understanding, and even skepticism in the user community.

"Moving forward, we will see the development of standards for mobile printing, but vendors must remain nimble to leverage the capabilities of new and evolving handheld devices as well as new opportunities and business models as more and more applications migrate to the cloud," Muscolino adds.
 
Additional findings from IDC's research include the following:
  • Mobile printing benefits both the professional traveling outside of his/her own organization's locations as well as workers who need to print at different locations within an organization's own campus or facilities.
  • While the mobile apps market has been largely driven by the consumer market, enterprise apps are expected to play a bigger role in the future.
  • IDC defines mobile apps as software applications that run on mobile implementations of high-level operating systems.
  • Mobile printing provides a new revenue stream for hotels, airport lounges, coffee shops, libraries, and other locations that serve mobile workers.
  • Mobile printing enables users to print when and where required, just-in-time rather than just-in-case, on the road and in the office.
The IDC study, The Mobile Business Printing Landscape: Assessing the Opportunity (IDC #228220), provides a comprehensive overview of the mobile business printing landscape today. It presents a definition for mobile printing and provides IDC’s taxonomy for classifying the various types of mobile printing implementations. A cross section of mobile printing solutions are highlighted and compared.
 
An overview of IDC's taxonomy for mobile printing solutions, some of the options available on the market today, end-user data on the demand for mobile printing will be presented in an IDC Web conference on June 23, 2011. For more information or to register for this event, please go to http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=IDC_P23157.

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