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EFI PrintMe Mobile Adds Support for Mobile Technology Use in the Classroom (Commentary by Cary Sherburne)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Press release from the issuing company

Latest Release of Mobile Printing Solution Features Industry-first Chromebook Support and Eases Device Administration 

FREMONT, Calif.Electronics For Imaging, Inc., a world leader in customer-focused digital printing innovation, today announced PrintMe Mobile 3.0. The latest version of EFI’s mobile printing solution offers a collection of new features specifically designed for educational institutions, including Chromebook support and easy to deploy mobile printing on shared devices in the classroom. The rapid adoption of mobile devices in schools has fueled an increased demand for mobile solutions across campuses. PrintMe Mobile 3.0 addresses this need by simplifying the printing process for in-school mobile device use.

“Shorecrest Preparatory School is known for its use of technology in the classroom,” said Anna Baralt, director of technology for Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Fla. “A few years ago, we introduced tablets into the classroom, allowing each student to work hands-on with mobile devices in an educational setting. We realized early on that we would need to accommodate a variety of mobile demands, including printing, to support this program for our students. With the cost-effective PrintMe Mobile solution, students can easily and independently print documents, from homework assignments to class notes, straight from their mobile devices. EFI’s updates to PrintMe Mobile not only underscore why we rolled out the solution campuswide – ease of use on both the administrative and student side – but accommodate additional device support, allowing for more flexibility in the program.”

Eliminating administrative bottlenecks in Chromebook mobile printing

According to FutureSource Consulting, Chromebooks accounted for 19 percent of the United States K-12 market for mobile computers in 2013. As these inexpensive laptops grow in popularity among educational institutions, EFI is meeting the demand by providing schools with the unique ability for students to easily print files created with Chromebook to a PrintMe Mobile-enabled printer. With PrintMe Mobile 3.0, administrators avoid the hassle of associating individual user accounts with each registered printer to enable Google Cloud Print. Instead, administrators only need to instruct students to install the PrintMe Mobile extension from the Chrome Web Store and enter the name of their local PrintMe Mobile server. Files can then be printed from Google Drive directly to any network-attached printer configured in PrintMe Mobile. 

“The use of mobile devices in educational institutions continues to grow, and EFI is placing a greater emphasis on continuing to build out PrintMe Mobile to support both the new demands of mobile device users and the growing variety of mobile devices in schools,” said John Henze, vice president of Fiery marketing for EFI. “With the increasing popularity of Chromebook laptops in the classroom, we are thrilled to be the first to offer mobile printing support for these devices that encourage active and engaged learning within the classroom and beyond.” 

Secure personal email account support 

Another unique feature offered in the latest version of PrintMe Mobile enables users to print documents from their personal email accounts using print via email workflow. Administrators are now guaranteed secure email printing by optionally requiring users to authenticate their use of a personal email account through the company’s Active Directory. No other mobile printing solution offers this convenient feature, providing additional security and ease-of-use for users and administrators while setting PrintMe Mobile ahead in the industry.

“PrintMe Mobile has given Liberty Center Schools an additional way to simplify managing our mobile program,” said Jeff Kirkendall, director of technology for Liberty Center Schools in Liberty Center, Ohio. “These include multiple mobile labs, classroom iPads and a BYOD policy. Before we installed PrintMe Mobile, printing from our devices was an inconvenient and painstaking process. Students and teachers had to email documents to themselves from their mobile devices in order access and print them from a computer. With PrintMe Mobile, not only is printing much quicker and easier, but our administrators appreciate how simple the solution is to manage, as well.”

For more information, please visit http://w3.efi.com/printme-mobile.

Commentary by Cary Sherburne

As many of our readers likely know, EFI has had PrintMe in the marketplace for more than a decade, and added PrintMe Mobile to the mix in this century. Tom Offutt, EFI’s Director of Business Development, stated that EFI has seen a higher PrintMe volume in the past 12 months with this more-than-a-decade-old service than at any time in its history, adding, “Those of us in the industry tend to be ahead of the consumer as it relates to technology, but we are starting to see some signs from Fortune 1000 companies looking for enterprise rather than point solutions for mobile printing.  EFI continues to invest in that space in a variety of ways, probably more uniquely than any non-print provider, to have it integrated across a wide variety of solutions that are printer agnostic, which of course is our heritage on the Fiery side.” 

A lot of that is driven by the hyper-growth in mobile that we are all aware of and that EFI documented in an interesting infographic.

One interesting aspect of this announcement highlighted in the press release is this:  “Administrators are now guaranteed secure email printing by optionally requiring users to authenticate their use of a personal email account through the company’s Active Directory. No other mobile printing solution offers this convenient feature, providing additional security and ease-of-use for users and administrators while setting PrintMe Mobile ahead in the industry.”

I asked for clarification and Offutt indicated that the solution facilitates the challenge/response validation process from Active Directory when a user attempts to print from an unregistered email address, requiring them to log in with their Active Directory credentials the first time and then allowing printing from that address in the future.

Offutt added, “The K-12 market is a huge market for us.  I have been shocked when I talk to these folks at how quickly they are adopting mobile technology in an effort to get a better computing device ratio in the classroom. That set of customers is what is driving a lot of this release, including our support of printing from the Chromebook which has been problematic for them in the past.”

Offutt also pointed out that any Fiery System 10 or above, the previous and current generation of Fiery across all brands and distribution channels, has the cloud printing capability bundled in at no charge.  He adds, “A Fiery can also be part of a PrintMe Mobile network.  Some pay-for-print operations have taken advantage of this, adding themselves to our worldwide network of places you can go to get your PrintMe output.  It gives them an additional revenue stream and another reason to stay with Fiery.” 

He also pointed out that EFI’s M500 self-service copy and print station is another touch point for PrintMe Mobile, calling it the “coin box of the 21st Century.  The M500 was shown at Graph Expo and officially released in November; the European version is expected to be released in the second quarter of this year, adding language support and more.

“It’s a single SKU that sits next to the MFP. You basically plug it in to the wall and the network and you are ready to go,” he explains.  “It can’t get much easier than that.”


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