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What are the biggest recent advances in enterprise printing?

 Printer

4 innovations in office printing

In the age of smartphones and social media, one might think that physical print is old news. But enterprise print technology is advancing quickly to fulfill new market needs, including high-speed printing on demand, wireless printing and enhanced IT security.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest current and upcoming innovations in printing:

Portable printing

Big, bulky printers make poor travel companions. But they are now competing with compact models that easily fit into a suitcase or travel bag – while still offering all-in-one print, scan and copy functionality. The latest models can print documents, labels and even photos wirelessly from the user’s mobile device or laptop.

Fast on-demand printing

To keep up with digital media, large-scale print users are moving to a ‘just in time’ production model in a bid to reduce waste, limit surplus stock and offer a more customised service. Multiple advances in printing technology and print workflow management now allow businesses to access high-speed, on-demand printing services for everything from signs, labels and posters to newspapers, magazines and books. The latest developments include super-fast, energy-efficient enterprise printers that can produce over 100 pages per minute in full colour. As the technology evolves, we can expect to see fewer enterprises needing to outsource their printing needs to external printing shops.

Biometric ID security

‘Pull printing’ is a commonly-used security feature to protect documents and prevent data theft, whereby the user’s print job is withheld until after a security check. This typically involves the user confirming their identity at the printer using RFID or a PIN. The latest biometric ID pull printing insures against lost or stolen smartcards or passcodes by allowing the user to identify via their fingerprint instead.

Diverse print media and 3D printing

Thanks to advances in ink and printer design, the days of printing solely on flat sheets of paper are already well behind us. Some of the newest inkjet printers, for instance, are capable of printing on fabric, wood, glass, ceramics and other materials. But the same basic mechanical processes are now also being used to render 3D objects from raw material. 3D printing is being trialled for everything from rapid manufacturing and prototyping to toolmaking, medical bioprinting, car manufacturing and even home construction. It’s a technology that is likely to disrupt every industry it touches.

The fast pace of digital innovation continues to drive improvements in both 2D and 3D printing. If your printer fleet is due for a refresh, there’s no shortage of great options to choose from.