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  • Writer's pictureChris

Transformative Cloud-Based Managed Print Services

What is a Cloud Print Service?

This is the combination of a cloud-based printing application with a local OS-agnostic agent application to interface directly with the print drivers and hardware connected to the local device. Users can send print jobs from anywhere, at any time, to any printer registered with the system, regardless of geographical location, thanks to the application's functionality.

The cloud-based nature of the application ensures that print jobs can be managed and dispatched seamlessly, providing a flexible, highly scalable solution for enterprise-level printing needs applicable to a number of business use cases. This approach not only simplifies the printing process but also introduces a new level of convenience and accessibility, making it an invaluable tool in today's increasingly digital and remote work environments.

The History of Cloud Printing

Cloud printing solutions started gaining prominence in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Google Cloud Print, one of the first widely adopted cloud printing services, was launched in 2010 - deprecated in 2020. The technology has evolved and expanded over time, with various providers now offering cloud-based printing solutions to cater to both individual and enterprise needs. Over the past decade, these services have become more sophisticated, offering a range of features beyond simple remote printing, such as print management, secured printing, analytics, and integration with other cloud services.

The democratization of design through increased use of cloud design tools has significantly impacted digital printing. These cloud design tools have integrated printing services allowing users to design and order directly from the platform. For cloud-based printing solutions, this creates a direct pipeline and need for cloud printing services to handle the print jobs. The structure of this technology has expanded global reach, enabling users to design and order from anywhere in the world. This has opened up new markets for cloud-based printing solutions and allowed businesses to easily create and ship orders without the logistical challenges of traditional printing and shipping methods.

Here's How it Works:

The managed print service (MPS) platform is the central hub operating in the cloud that allows users to send print jobs from any device or source with access. This platform manages the queue of print jobs, handles user permissions, provides print-related analytics, and can offer additional features like document and content storage and advanced features like encoding of printed media. It's designed to streamline the management of printers and print jobs across an organization or the deployment of printers in remote locations and areas. The managed print service reduces the complexity and overhead associated with traditional print management, allowing for high-volume, efficient, and fault-tolerant distribution anywhere in the world where there's connectivity.

The local agent application is a software component installed on a computer on the network. It's main function is to communicate between the cloud service and the local printers or devices connected to the computer. The computer is OS-agnostic and can be Windows or Mac OS-based. It receives print jobs from the cloud platform, processes them according to the specified requirements (such as printer selection, encoding data, copies, design, and additional settings), and sends them to the appropriate printer(s) on the network. This local agent ensures that the cloud-based instructions are executed accurately by interfacing directly with the print drivers and hardware. The local agent only accepts print requests if they match the agent's identity and have the required authentication.

What are the Benefits?

  • Accessibility: Users can print from anywhere, as long as they have internet access, making it ideal for remote work or deployment scenarios.

  • Flexibility: installation and deployment of printers are quick and easy with devices that can be removed, changed, or added with ease.

  • Simplicity: It simplifies the IT infrastructure needed for printing, as the cloud service centralizes print management, reducing or even eliminating the need for multiple local print servers.

  • Scalability: Businesses can easily scale their print services up or down based on their needs without the need to invest in additional hardware.

  • Security: Advanced security measures can be implemented both in the cloud and through the local agent, including secure print release and user authentication.

  • Cost Efficiency: Organizations can potentially reduce costs associated with traditional print management, such as hardware maintenance, IT support, and consumables management.

Overall, a cloud-based managed print service with a local agent application represents a modern approach to printing, offering flexibility, scalability, efficiency, and improved control over print resources and policies. The future looks promising for cloud-based printing as it's expected to evolve with advancements in technology, changing workplace dynamics, and the growing demand for flexibility and efficiency in printing solutions.


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