Thursday, June 25, 2020
by Lou Bartlett
Most of us do it multiple times a day. Sometimes in the strangest locations. Often with surprising results.
What am I talking about? Google searches, of course. And when it comes to searches about printing, we at LRS are interested in learning what questions people are trying to answer. Some queries are quite entertaining, such as ‘how to print without a printer’. Others can be very unexpected. Take for example ‘what is carbon neutral printing’ or ‘what is centralized printing’. We look at the results that come up when such terms are entered into Google, and hope to see some page from the LRS website among the results. After all, we have plenty to say about printing.
Now, from the home office in Springfield, Illinois… our Top Ten countdown of printing questions:
10. How can I print emails from my phone/tablet?
Mobile printing solutions can be used to print from mobile devices such as phones as well as from laptops.
If your company is using LRS software, simply download the VPSX Print app from either the App store or Google Play store, then follow the instructions for an easy setup that only requires the company URL and your login details. You will instantly be able to print any document, including emails, to any printer. Alternative set up options involve scanning a QR code or clicking on a link to verify access. Click here to learn more.
9. How many types of Cloud computing are there?
There are different Cloud computing structures, but the first step is to determine the setup. We can distinguish three general types: private, public (shared) and hybrid.
Organizations have different reasons for choosing one of these over another, but the decision usually comes down to the matter of control. Using a public Cloud structure prevents personalization. The “flavors” offered are limited (click here for more details). Many large corporations choose the private Cloud for all the customizability that allows. Naturally, this comes at a higher cost and more maintenance effort. To keep this in check, some choose a hybrid form of Cloud computing where standard programs are hosted in shared Cloud spaces and the business-critical ones are hosted privately.
8. What is direct IP printing?
Direct IP printing is nothing more than printing without the use of a print server. Instead, the file is sent directly from a user workstation to the destination printer.
There are advantages to direct IP printing, including reduced bandwidth consumption and the fact that successful printing does not rely on the availability of a print server. People can print as long as the local area network continues to function. The downside of direct IP printing is the lack of print management and the potential for security violations. There are solutions, however, that combine the benefits of centralized print management with those of direct IP printing. These give you all the benefits with none of the downsides.
7. What is centralized printing?
Most queries are about Cloud services. but centralized printing goes further than that. This term means that printing is controlled centrally by a single system.
All devices are managed from a control panel that allows IT administrators to apply changes worldwide. This keeps end-users from running into problems while the IT staff gradually applies changes for each office department or location. It can be accomplished with a Cloud printing solution, but also by other solutions, including LRS Output Management. The benefits of centralized printing are not only the reduced administrative tasks and end-user convenience but also the ability to quickly identify and resolve printing problems. Click here to learn more about centralized printer management.
6. How to add a printer?
This question can have many answers. Too many, perhaps. Printer mapping is one of the most complex tasks that end-users have to deal with, especially in virtual desktop environments.
Even when working with Windows, it can be a real challenge to connect to a printer. For this reason, a lot of companies use solutions that enable employees to connect to printers in an intuitive way. For example, a company may implement a self service print portal. People can drill down to locations on a map, search for specific features, etc. This minimizes helpdesk interaction and increases employee productivity. So to answer the question, the method of adding a printer depends on whether the Windows add a printer tool must be used or if a more intuitive tool is available. We have a more extensive discussion of printer mapping in a Blog post found at this link.
5. How to add a printer for Cloud printing?
This is an interesting question, and one that is asked a lot. It’s interesting because Cloud printing is intended to make it very easy for people to access printers.
There should not really be a need to learn about adding printers at all. Whilst traditional print environments offer many challenges for printer mapping, Cloud printing typically does not. A simple login (Microsoft Azure) provides access to all network printers. Then users can search based on the print job requirements (mono, duplex, color, stapling, etc.) and select the closest printer that matches these requirements. Simply hit print and you should be good to go.
4. What is the difference between Cloud and server?
There is always a server involved for any Cloud service… it’s just not at the customer site. Most companies that move to the Cloud utilize a SaaS model.
They have no responsibility for managing the software and only use it for what they need. As a result, they get a standardized solution that is the same for all of its users. On-premise solutions purchased by the customer rely on a server. Both the server and the software will require maintenance. Sometimes that server becomes unavailable, making the software inaccessible and resulting in business process disruption. That scenario is undesirable but sometimes inevitable when running software on-premise. However, it can be prevented by moving to a SaaS model with Cloud solutions.
A Cloud solution is maintained by the hosting company. Updates and upgrades are performed by that provider and in case of an outage, they carry the responsibility. There is also a financial benefit to Cloud solutions, as servers are expensive to license and maintain. The software is paid for in terms, versus having a one-time upfront investment and additional costs for updates and upgrades. This is nearly always more cost efficient.
The main reason for companies to choose not to go into the Cloud with an external hosting service is the limitation that comes with it. Many large enterprises require specific alterations for the software to function in their environment. These companies might still host solutions in the Cloud, but in a Cloud structure for which they themselves are fully responsible. In other words, they are still relying on one or more servers and the maintenance and support that come with it. Usually that is not what people seek when searching in Google for Cloud solutions. They are looking for a SaaS setup, an alternative to the server-based solutions that they own.
3. What is the function of a printer server?
One thing is clear: print servers have less of a function today than they did a few decades ago. Back then, their main function was to translate a print job into the language that the printer could process.
Printers have advanced since then and are now just as smart as the devices used to generate print jobs. In that sense, the print server has lost one if its main purposes. But many organizations still rely on them to manage printing within their organization. Every print job that gets submitted is sent to the server, where it is carefully examined and checked for properties, user permissions, etc. The server also checks the availability and capability of the printer. If all is working as it should, the print job then gets forwarded to the printer. A record of the print job is stored on the server for reporting purposes. That is the main function of a print server today. But there are many printing solutions that can do all of this without relying on a print server.
2. Why are businesses moving to the Cloud?
This question has already been answered to a certain extent, but there is more that we can say here. We used to rely on servers for our business processes.
Technology has gotten so advanced and the requirements have increased so heavily that IT infrastructures have gotten highly complex. Moving into the Cloud is one way to reduce the complexity. It also comes with cost savings and an element of stability and predictability. The same cost occurs each month, just as with employee salaries. When you hire more people, the cost goes up. When people leave, the cost goes down. When these changes are not occurring, everything stays the same. Though the costs can be variable, they are predictable.
The same cannot always be said when solutions are owned and hosted on premise. Many organizations want to move away from ownership and simply obtain the functionality they need without being responsible for more than paying the monthly fee.
1. What is carbon-neutral printing?
The short answer is that carbon neutral printing doesn’t exist. When you print, there is CO2 emission. There are ways to reduce the impact, however.
How? By using recycled paper or printing duplex. Or by not printing documents that are likely to end up in the trash. The environment is a key concern and CO2 friendly office environments are a hot item today. Some even aim for an entirely paperless office but most will try and reduce paper consumption as much as they can. Modern printing devices use much less electricity, so their CO2 emission is already minimal. But that does not mean that we should continue to print without considering the environmental impact. Each step, no matter how small, helps reduce our CO2 footprint. Carbon neutral printing may not be possible, but environmentally friendly printing is certainly an achievable goal.
That wraps up the overview of ten of the questions people ask Google about printing. If you have a question you would like to ask us about LRS, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will happily answer any questions that you may have.