Cloud printing

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Cloud printing is the technology that enables printers to be accessed over a network through cloud computing.[1] There are, in essence, two kinds of cloud printing. On the one hand, consumer-based cloud printing connects any application to cloud-enabled home printers that people own or have access to. Using this technology, people can take digital media as their primary communications tool and create a printed page only when they need the content in a physical form.

On the other hand, professional cloud printing enables publishers, companies and content owners to print their digital publications by leveraging networks of production facilities through cloud computing technology. In short, professional cloud printing allows for the "ad-hoc transformation of digital information into physical forms in 2D or 3D." [2]

Benefits[edit]

For consumers, cloud ready printers eliminate the need for PC connections and print drivers, enabling them to print from mobile devices. As for publishers and content owners, cloud printing allows them to "avoid the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware, software and processes" [3] required for the production of professional print products.

Leveraging cloud print for print on demand also allows businesses to cut down on the costs associated with mass production. Moreover, cloud printing can be considered more eco-friendly, as it significantly reduces the amount of paper used and lowers carbon emissions from transportation.

Providers[edit]

Only a handful of providers are currently working towards a professional cloud print solution. Most of these operate in their own niche or focus on mobile devices. Some examples include Peecho, which provides on demand printing of digital data from within mobile applications and websites through a network of global printing facilities, HubCast, a service that allows business owners to order corporate print materials through their cloud, ezeep, whose Cloud-Managed Printing hosts organizations' print-infrastructure management in its cloud, and Hewlett-Packard's MagCloud, which allows digital documents to be published as print magazines.

Significantly large steps have also been taken in the consumer market with Google Cloud Print. A few leading companies like Konica Minolta, Xerox and Ricoh followed in Google’s footsteps with their mobile cloud solutions, while Hewlett-Packard implemented a similar mechanism with their ePrint solution.

Industry experts believe that as these services become more popular, users will no longer consider printers as necessary assets but rather as devices that they can access on demand when the need to generate a printed page presents itself.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gartner IT Glossary - Cloud Printing Services (CPS)". Gartner.com. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  2. ^ Sander Nagtegaal, Peecho. "Cloud print manifesto". Cloud print manifesto. Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  3. ^ "Cloud Print: transforming digital Data as a Service — Tech News and Analysis". Gigaom.com. Retrieved 2013-05-08.