Location, Status, Capabilities
The other day, as I pulled into the parking lot of my local home improvement store, my smart phone buzzed to remind me to buy a new storm door for my house. I had linked a reminder to the store’s location so I wouldn’t forget it again. This is just one example of how location awareness (geofencing) and mapping can help us organize our daily lives — and save us the time and cost of a repeat trip to the store.
With your phone or mobile device, you can now look at a map that knows where you are and what is near you. You can view restaurants, gas stations, coffee shops, or other businesses and services as icons on the map. It will tell you details about each business, and even whether they are currently open or closed.
In today’s workplace, where such convenience is de rigueur, finding a nearby print device with the right capabilities and operational status is more than just a convenience. It’s expected. Luckily, LRS provides a very flexible solution that meets the needs of both the business user and the IT service provider.
First, consider the needs of a typical IT department. They spend a lot of time — more than they would like to admit — helping their business user “customers” install the printers that they need, precisely when and where they need them. What the IT staff doesn’t need is to take on a solution that is difficult to implement or that requires lots of tedious maintenance on their part. Central configuration and control is a must, especially (but not only) in geographically dispersed organizations. Ideally, the solution should bring a net reduction in complexity and support effort.
At the same time, business users simply want to print… and want to print simply. They don’t want to go searching for a printer, they don’t have time to wait in line for help installing one, and they don’t want to have to do it all again every time a printer is replaced by a different model. When they look for a printer, they need to know where it is located, what it is capable of doing, and what its current status is. Ideally, in an easy to understand graphical interface where they can get it all done in one click.
That being said, every organization has slightly different requirements. Some want to initially show their users a list of printers located at their site and let them drill down to more detail. Others want to use floor plans to indicate locations, perhaps linking the locations to IP address ranges or some other internal location method. That way, a user is initially presented with a map of the floor that they are currently working on (one click and they’re done).
Other organizations may also need a global solution, perhaps even one that uses a geographically aware location system, with interactive maps and site location awareness. Additionally, current printer status should be displayed for the user as well as what the printer can do (color output, print on both sides, secure print capability, etc.). Inherent in this flexible and extensible solution would be the ability to re-brand the portal presentation with the customer’s corporate logo, color schemes, and even custom icons.
All of this is possible, due to the extensibility and scalability of the LRS solution. LRS provides nearly all of this functionality “out of the box” and makes it easy to implement. For a new project, LRS can provide powerful migration tools that take the pain out of the job of defining print queues. Other changes can be done with a little help from LRS’ team of implementation professionals.
In recent years, we’ve helped some of the best-known global companies implement location-aware printer portals as described above. If you have a more ambitious project in mind, simply let us know your needs and we’ll get working on the solution. You’re not likely to surprise us with your requests, but you may be surprised at how easily we can help you achieve your goals.
P.S. – At LRS, we strongly believe in the value of “dogfooding.” In fact, we developed our first prototype printer portal for use at our own corporate campus. Click here for a humorous recap of that initial project, the brainchild of two very ambitious sales executives. No LRS treadmills were harmed in the filming of this video.