Mobile printers – an indispensable tool for the mobile workforce

Wireless printing has enabled some degree of freedom for the mobile workforce.

September 4, 2013

By Heinrich Pretorius, Canon Product Specialist at DCC

Life, and today’s workforce, has become more mobile than ever thanks to advances in technology such as Smartphones, tablets and notebook PCs along with 3G data connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspots. These technologies allow us to work from practically anywhere. However, one area has lagged behind the mobile trend – the printer. Despite the predictions of the past, the paperless office is far from a reality, and many enterprises still require the ability to print documentation. Now, thanks to the revolution of the mobile printer, even this aspect of the job can be done on the move, from anywhere, making the mobile workforce more productive and efficient than ever before.

Wireless printing has enabled some degree of freedom for the mobile workforce, allowing users to print documents from their Smartphone or tablet to a Wi-Fi enabled printer. However, this is not particularly helpful when workers are on the road without access to a printer. ePrinting is another technology which provides limited functionality, allowing users to print via the Internet to a printer in their office. The challenge with this is that the printed document ends up in another location and more than often needs to be collected. Mobile printing on the other hand addresses all of these challenges, allowing users to print on the go, wherever they are, and have the documents easily on hand in a matter of seconds.

A mobile printer takes mobility to a whole new level, enabling users to print black and white or full colour on the go. Print resolution on these devices is excellent, enabling high quality documents and crystal clear borderless photographs to be printed up to A4 size. The addition of a battery pack allows users to print nearly 300 pages on battery power, further freeing up this function as it is not necessary to plug the printer into mains to power it. Mobile printers, as the name suggests, are highly compact, weighing around two kilograms and slipping neatly into a compartment in a laptop bag. They can also be connected via car adaptors, so a complete mobile office can be set up in a motor vehicle or truck for document printing on the go. A notebook can be linked to the printer via USB, while tablets and Smartphones can connect via Bluetooth, offering a range of cable free printing options for the mobile workforce.

The opportunities for the mobile printer are abundant, as there are a number of professions that rely on printed documents. Any service provider, who travels to a person’s home to quote on work, from plumbers to builders to insurance sales people, is able to provide a more effective service with a mobile printer. Instead of having to visit potential clients, take notes, travel back to the office, type up the notes, print a quote and then drop it off for a signature, you can now print the quote in the customer’s home for a signature and approval then and there.

Safety inspectors would also benefit from mobile printers, as these devices enable them to inspect facilities or equipment and print certificates immediately. This saves on the delivery costs and time required to have these sent to the client after the fact. Executives and sales people, who are always on the move, can print presentations, notes, slides and handouts in the boardroom for the number of people who need them, preventing wastage and ensuring everyone who needs a copy of documents has one quickly and easily. In fact, ‘road warrior’ could become more productive and efficient with the addition of a mobile printer to their arsenal.

As bricks and mortar offices become increasingly unnecessary for many jobs and professionals, and as technology becomes more mobile to support this, there is a growing need for all office equipment to be as portable and mobile as people are. Stylish, compact and high quality mobile printers are the next evolution of the mobile workforce, enabling users to truly work to their full potential no matter where they happen to be.