Despite the unfulfilled vision of a paperless office, a new global Internet printing service, backed by some of the biggest names in the industry, is being launched to make it easier for on-the-go professionals to keep up with the corporate paper trail.
Supported by eight industry giants, including Xerox, Adobe and Yahoo, the PrintMe service was conceived by printing solutions company Electronics for Imaging (EFI) using its secure server farm to connect a network of printers worldwide.
"We're harnessing the mobile aspects of computer technology so that anyone who ever leaves their office to do business can print any time, anywhere," explained EFI chief executive Guy Gecht.
The PrintMe system allows users to send print jobs to the network from any mobile device, including laptops, PDAs, cellphones and even two-way pagers, and then forward them to a designated printer.
"Research tells us that this year over 100 billion pages of fax will be sent in North America alone," said Gecht. "PrintMe has a higher resolution than faxes, supports all formats and can even print email attachments."
Optimistic that PrintMe will be "on the corner of every block" by the end of 2002, EFI has leveraged existing relationships with Xerox, Adobe and retail copy shop Sir Speedy to pilot quick and easy connections to the network.
Paul Hartley, vice president of business development at Xerox, sees "multiple fits" in marketing the PrintMe service.
As well as offering a corporate mobile document service, Xerox will be providing an add-on device to retrofit existing printers and will embed PrintMe software in new printers by early 2002.
"We thought about this years ago and now the technology is at the forefront," said Hartley, adding that the system uses all open protocols.
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