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Time to talk to schools about the need for mobile printing

Schools are using printer estates that are struggling to provide students with a decent experience Annodata has warned

Educational channel specialists wondering where an opportunity might be to get ahead of the annual summer spending the sector undertakes could do well to talk printers.

Schools are increasingly finding that pupils are bringing their own technology into the classroom and have reacted by upgrading their wireless infrastructure but there has not been much done on the printer front.

As a result there is an opportunity, according to managed service provider Annodata, for the channel to talk to the education market about upgrading their printer estates. A failure to provide technology than can support mobile devices is going to undermine some of the advances that schools have made elsewhere on the IT front in the last couple of years.

“BYOD and mobile devices have the potential to significantly increase engagement and make it easier for students to transfer work, collaborate and, ultimately learn. But in our experience many of these mobility drives are being hamstrung by a lack of mobile printing," said Joe Doyle, marketing director of Annodata.

"It’s all very well equipping students and staff with new devices, but unless documents can be accessed efficiently, when and where they need them, any productivity gains to be had from mobility and BYOD schemes will be lessened. Print is still an essential part of the IT estate so it’s important that it keeps pace with the growing transformation that’s taking place in schools, like the trend towards BYOD," he added.

The moment to talk about printers appears to be now with schools thinking about not only how to upgrade their IT over the school holidays but also considering the services they will need to provide pupils.

“A number of schools are at the start of their digital journey and the potential for the education sector to adopt new digital processes and technology is clearly there. But, as many of these institutions don’t have large IT teams, they need the help of suppliers for the appropriate guidance," said Doyle.

Last summer IDC looked at the potential customers for mobile printing and highlighted education as one of the key areas which should be exploiting the technology because of the increasing use of smartphones and tablets.

But the analyst house echoed the concerns raised by Annodata that not much had been done to upgrade aging printer estates to meet the demand for mobile printing.

"The business value for smartphone/tablet printing is enormously clear, and yet support for this is shockingly lacking...This is a huge missed productivity opportunity for both businesses and print providers," said Angèle Boyd, group vice president and general manager, IDC Document Solutions.

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