Emailing to Print Servers
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
by Johan Thunberg
Behold! The future is here!
Okay, not exactly… but we have moved another step forward. Ever since the arrival of smartphones and tablets brought the possibility to work from any location at any time, the rules for printing have changed. Back in the day, we worked at workstations that usually had fixed queues connecting to physical printers. After that came network print servers, which offered easier management across large organizations.
Still later, pull print technologies emerged and made us rethink the way we print. Instead of choosing a specific printer from an expansive list (some of them long since retired), we now print to a single queue that holds each job until we arrive at the printer and release the document. We call this pull print, and it’s a game-changer.
So far, it’s all pretty straightforward. You have a company network, you have some workstations and laptops connected, and you have some printers strategically placed around the office. But what about the smartphones and tablets everyone carries around these days? In some cases, we are encouraged to bring our own mobile devices to work (BYOD). In other organizations, BYOD hardware is specifically banned from the corporate network. In either case, we need to ask how do we print from these new computing devices without causing continual headaches for the helpdesk staff?
A simple way to accomplish this goal would be to email documents from my tablet or smartphone to my corporate email account, open it on my local workstation, and then send it for printing. This is not very efficient though, especially if I am in another part of the office and need those documents printed right now.
One of the more modern ways of dealing with mobile print jobs is to send output to an email-enabled printer. This is in truth a very quick and simple approach that often suits small offices with small numbers of printers. It does, however, require purchasing new email-enabled printers, most of which are designed for the small office/home office (SOHO) market. These devices are not typically suited for corporate printing, where the requirements are different. They also create a new problem: how are users supposed to keep track of what email address goes with which printer?
LRS Mobile Connector software extends the powerful document delivery, accounting, viewing, archival, and pull printing capabilities of the LRS Output Management solution to the world of mobile computing. One feature is the ability to submit a print request via email from any mobile device on any OS. Simply email to a printer and pick up the job.
At LRS, we know many organizations are concerned with email printing security… as well they should be. Establishing a public email printing address without validating who can send what document to print on which device is an invitation for misuse. To prevent this, it makes sense to check email addresses against Active Directory (AD) to validate user rights and identity. For the highest level of protection, one may also want to exclude files that represent a potential threat and provide the ability to alert users and administrative personnel in case of security concerns.
Increased security is great, but sometimes customers and other external stakeholders need to print as well. LRS Mobile Connector software can also manage "guest" printing - which gives undefined users the ability to print from their mobile devices. Once properly configured, a self-service “guest print” functionality eliminates interaction from helpdesk staff, and requires no additional security administration.
But there is more!
You can not only simplify printing from mobile devices, you can even combine it with pull print technology to maximize efficiency and security. That gives users the ability to email print jobs to a single, easily-remembered address but also let them collect their documents at any printer within the company. One address, any printer!
The LRS Mobile Connector software collects print jobs, converts each document from its original file type (such as Microsoft Office .docx or .pptx) into a standard PDF format, and sends the document for advanced formatting and subsequent printing. With the built-in conversions supported in the Mobile Connector solution, there is no need to install Microsoft Office or any other third-party software. If your printers don’t understand how to deal with PDF files, LRS software has options to handle that as well.
That’s it! Just let users know what email address to use and you’re good to go. No need for downloading drivers or installing applications on your clients.
Sound simple? Want to know more? Contact LRS and we’ll be happy to show you how to take advantage of this functionality in your own environment.