EFI Remote Printing Service (PrintMe) Is a Good but Unproven Concept
Press release from the issuing company
According to Gartner, remote and mobile workers need remote printing services such as Electronics for Imaging's PrintMe Networks. But without support from dominant printer vendor Hewlett-Packard, this offering will likely have mixed success.
On 22 October 2001, Electronics for Imaging announced details of PrintMe Networks, a service that allows remote printing from laptops, handheld computers, two-way pagers, and cellular or conventional phones. The service, which will be free to users but will cost businesses $20 to $35 a month to use its server-based solution to connect to the network, works with Adobe Systems' Acrobat software to convert messages and attached documents into a standard file format. There is no need for printer drivers or any special cables. EFI has worked with Adobe, copy-shop chain Sir Speedy, Xerox and Yahoo! to provide the technologies and channels to make this service widely available in 2002.
With the PrintMe service, EFI has made another attempt to promote a hardware-based solution, this time for remote printing. Needing to access a printer while working remotely — e.g., on a client call — has always frustrated people working away from their office. The growth in the number of mobile and remote workers using laptops, personal digital assistants and smartphones will continue to increase through 2004 and will increase the demand for retrieving and printing documents remotely. Earlier attempts at using the Internet as a bridge failed because they only provided printing from PCs to printers.
EFI believes its new service overcomes the barriers preventing people from accessing a printer no matter where they are. It allows for printing from almost any portable device, computer or phone. It also features password protection and encryption using Secure Sockets Layer with 128-bit encryption certificates. PrintMe assigns a network address to EFI-equipped printers in locations such as offices, print shops, hotels, airports and homes. Users will be able to e-mail documents to a specific printer, or use a PrintMe Station keypad at the printer to call up documents stored on the Internet or corporate servers.
Gartner believes the service has potential, but without the support of Hewlett-Packard, the dominant printer vendor, it will likely have mixed success. Enterprises should be cautious, especially because some will have to buy extra hardware to make use of the service, something they might not want to do. PrintMe promises much, but EFI and its partners will first need to prove the service's reliability, security, availability and flexibility.
Analytical Source: Peter Grant, Integrated Document & Output Management
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