Thanks to Matthew Bednall who emails to point out that the locked print functionality offered by Ricoh and discussed in my recent post on green printing is not exactly unique and has "been on all the digital copiers I have ever had from Konica".
His comment is a fair reminder that Ricoh is not alone amongst printer manufacturers in its attempts to become green and that other vendors are also making progress in their attempts to lower paper, print and energy consumption.
However, what remains interesting about locked print is that even if I was wrong to initially refer to the functionality as a new innovation it does seem to be being looked at in a different light as a result of environmental concerns. A capability that many firms may have ignored or disabled when it was presented as an auditing or compliance tool appears likely to garner more interest when presented as a green technology.
I'd expect this scenario to be repeated with countless technologies as hidden environmental benefits are uncovered, giving a new lease of life to some pretty well established products. As previously discussed thin clients are probably the best example of this kind of mature technology that could see a real spike in demand as purchasers become more environmentally aware.
It is also worth noting that while there a number of different suppliers offering locked print functionality it is hardly an industry standard – although given the amount of paper printed out unnecessarily each day it certainly should be. It is only by customers asking for locked print and other paper saving innovations that green design principles will become the norm for the printing industry.
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