Fuji Xerox: Mobile workforce needs secure printing

Company unveils new offering that targets growing use of smartphones and tablets by including security features for mobile and remote printing, says exec.

SINGAPORE--Mobility is a changing force for managed print services and companies will increasingly be looking for secure remote printing capabilities, said a Fuji Xerox executive.

Masaki Okano, president of Fuji Xerox Global Services, said the recent enterprise mobility environment has changed dramatically. He was speaking at a Thursday press briefing here to launch the company's "Enterprise Print Services" managed offering in Asia.

The company hopes the new service will address the printing needs associated with the growing use of mobile devices, by including the capability for enterprise users to initiate print tasks from gadgets such as smartphones or tablets, or from remote locations, without the need to install printer drivers. This is done in a secure manner no different from print jobs from within the office, Okano stressed.

With the new feature, employees can print "from anywhere to anywhere at anytime", added Okano. Asked how the service differs from rival offerings, he noted that while remote printing may be offered by competitors, Fuji Xerox's Enterprise Print Services includes security and compliance functionalities such as employee authentication to guarantee a document does not fall into the wrong hands.

Companies such as Google and Hewlett-Packard have hawked similar concepts since last year. In June 2010, HP launched a Web-enabled printing service that allows users to print by sending documents to e-mail addresses associated with unique printers.

Ram Rao, vice president of Fuji Xerox Global Services, told ZDNet Asia on the event sidelines that most organizations are not yet demanding for enterprise mobile printing services. This makes Fuji Xerox "a little ahead of the curve", he said.

According to Okano, the new offering is targeted at large enterprises across the globe and has been adopted by companies including Procter and Gamble. Customers, he estimated, can cut down their total cost of ownership by about 30 percent.

Rao added that energy efficiency was one benefit that organizations can expect after implementing changes in their printing environment. While there is "no simple ratio" in energy savings, businesses, depending on the products used, typically observe 5 to 20 percent increase in energy efficiency, he said.

One exception, however, was a Hong Kong bank, which realized energy savings of 42 percent. Following an assessment by Fuji Xerox which revealed the bank had a high printer to user ratio, the organization retired some of its assets and implemented policies such as double-sided printing, explained Rao.

According to Rao, multinational corporations companies are increasingly looking at standardizing their printing environments, just as they have done so with PCs and other equipment. Standardization of print-related systems, he noted, not only provides consistency but allows IT departments to apply corporate policies more effectively.