Making Sense of Mobile Printing

Posted On August 23, 2012 By Kevin O'Brien

Mobile printing has really taken off within the past year or so and now the market is flooded with various options. As a consumer it can be challenging to make the software comparison and choose the right option for your company. Advance has taken away most of the guesswork and offer many solutions to help with your mobile integration.

The first part in scoping out the right software is to determine the types of users you have. Yes, everyone has a mobile device nowadays but that doesn’t necessarily mean they all operate similarly and require the same software solution. With BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiatives in place, most businesses have a mixture of iOS (iPhone/iPad), Android, and Blackberry devices. If your business fits that criterion then you will want to do your homework and pick a solution that is going to work with all of those devices and scale for future use. You will also need to determine if those users are going to be attached to the same network as your print devices. If you are attempting to implement a “guest” printing solution but do not want to provide network access then it’s possible an email-to-print solution is what you are looking for.

For situations where iOS printing is the only concern and network access is permitted then your options could be very straight forward. Advance offers EFI’s PrintMe Mobile and Canon’s uniFLOW which publish selected printers via AirPrint to all of your iOS devices with a couple clicks of the mouse. These two solutions provide immediate support for iOS devices along with the possibility to implement other solutions down the road like email-to-print and secure release. Lower end solutions would include the xPrintServer from Lantronix. This interesting box publishes supported printers via CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System) thus making them available to iOS devices. While this is a viable option for some it does need a little work as many of the print drivers used are generic and output quality varies based on model.

In mixed environments we always recommend implementing a solution that gives users the ability to email their documents to a device. As mentioned earlier, this method has many advantages over a “direct print” option since it requires no drivers or apps to facilitate the printers. Regardless if you are using an iPhone/iPad, Android, or Blackberry, your documents will be received and printed in the same manner. Organizations worried about security or the hassle of connecting wireless guest users will not be a problem with this method. So long as users have access to their cellular network and are able to send mail then their device should be able to print without issue.