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Cloud printing is the technology that enables printers to be accessed over a network through cloud computing. 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." 
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"  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.
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.
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.
Additionally, independent software vendors like Printix are leveraging cloud computing technology to offer cloud-based print infrastructure and cloud-based printing software as a Service (SaaS). These solutions may have integrations to cloud enabled printers or provide printing via the cloud features, which allow users to print between networks to printers which are on an isolated network or otherwise not reachable from the user's computer.
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.
While these cloud printing options do simplify the printing process, all the print data must travel through the public cloud as it makes its journey from device to printer. It also means no printing is possible when the cloud is too slow or when there is a connection outage. Since some clouds charge on inbound and/or outbound traffic, heavy print jobs can have a significant cost. True cloud print solutions do not require any on-premise server in the company complementing the cloud, whether that is a print server or an application server, or a "gateway" service. Today many solution providers just interface an on-premise server with a cloud database and label it a cloud print solution, which it is not.
Since 2017 a cloud printing architecture developed by multiple independent solution vendors such as Celiveo, hp, Pharos, and PrinterOn is addressing performance and cost issues by using a hybrid cloud management + peer to peer print path where the full print process is controlled and monitored from the cloud but print jobs don't flow through the cloud server. This change dramatically improves performances and reduces the risk of uncontrolled cost, a concern for cloud clients. The print fleet is totally managed and audited from the cloud, and drivers, settings and print rules are automatically applied by the cloud service, based on the target printer chosen by the user. Print flows are sent directly from the client's device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, Desktop) to the target printers, through Wi-Fi Direct, TCP-IP or Bluetooth for short range. Some of those solutions rely on the Mopria Alliance peer-to-peer technology to not require any format conversion; some rely on the Airprint direct access protocol with PDF encapsulation; and some download automatically when necessary to the user's device the applicable printer driver from the loud service, then push the print flow to the printer address documented in that printer profile on the Cloud. Such direct communication also allows printing to not be reliant on the cloud service availability, since the information on the target printers can be cached on the client's device.
- "Gartner IT Glossary - Cloud Printing Services (CPS)". Gartner.com. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
- Sander Nagtegaal, Peecho. "Cloud print manifesto". Cloud print manifesto. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
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- Enterprise Printing, In And Out Of The Cloud - Corporate Compliance Insights
- Performing pull printing and print cost reduction with Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure Cloud and no on-premise server
- Protect documents and reduce waste
- Cloud print management solution that provides the clarity and insight to continually optimize print environment
- Cloud printing solution that will fit your business no matter the requirements