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Friday, January 14, 2011

"Cloud Printing Services" Reprographics on the Cloud

The economy has had a major impact on the AEC industry over the last couple of years and as a result has forced many AEC firms to change the way they do business. The Great Recession has been a wake-up call for almost all firms in the Design and Construction Industry. Companies have been pressured to reevaluate their core competencies, work behaviors and workflow processes; all with the intent to keep costs down, increase productivity and stay alive.

While most AEC businesses are cutting costs many are looking for project opportunities outside of their traditional geographic areas. As your customers become more digitally savvy and begin to realize the power and efficiencies of using the Internet (Cloud) as a cost effective means of sharing and distributing project information the need for traditional local reprographic printing is going to continue to contract. Your customers will use the cloud to participate and manage projects anywhere in the world.

What does this mean for the future of reprographics? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to project the impact this change in behavior will have on your current and future revenues. The basic premise that many of you began your reprographics business (production equipment offering centralized production printing and distribution) is being challenged on a variety of fronts.

First, clients are working with application software to create digital documents and they are sending print ready files (emailing or FTPing PDF files) out for distribution-- diminishing the demand for traditional production volumes of reprographic services like scanning, copying and printing.

Secondly, printer manufacturers continue to introduce low cost MFP devices (both LF and SF) with the goal of having convenience MFP’s in all firms of any size; again further eroding the demand for centralized production printing.

Thirdly, the advent of widely available mobile devices with interactive displays and significant computing power has redefined how people request and receive documents and marketing collateral, but has not eliminated their need for relevant printed materials (Garner). This last challenge should actually be viewed by reprographers as an opportunity.

The fact that printing will still be demanded is a good thing. The problem is, it may not be printed in the volumes of the the past or in your repro shop at all but; rather at the customer’s office or maybe in some repro shop across the country or across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.

So, in order to address this new paradigm shift, reprographers need to think about the opportunities to provide some type of Cloud Printing Services.

Cloud Printing Services (CPS) is a buzz word that you might want to start introducing to your customers. According to Gartner, Cloud Printing will grow to a multi-billion dollar industry in the US alone. If you want to ride the wave and let your customers leverage the power of the Cloud you should promote digital document distribution and cloud printing to your customers.

Here is what Gartner is saying about Cloud Printing.

“Cloud printing services (CPS), driven by the commoditization of print and the growth of electronic communications, has changed how, when and where people access print. CPS's "anywhere, anytime access" will drive rapid acceptance by global 1,000 companies. Print technology providers must anticipate the reduction in print volumes as pages transition to video and voice messaging by partnering with the leading players in unified communications and collaboration (UCC) to provide users with a complete solution that includes context-enriched content.”


To help our members and other reprographers position their businesses on the Cloud the PEiR Group has been busy developing Cloud Solutions for the AEC market that can be marketed by the Reprographics Industry. The solutions involve Cloud Computing Technologies (PlanWell Enterprise, PlanWell Collaborate SubHub and iShipDocs) education and training (best practices for sales and production personnel) and professional services (support , customization, advanced training and consulting).

If you are interested in knowing more about Cloud Printing Services click here  for our whitepaper.

Thanks ….Shaun

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