For most people, the humble printer plays a minor role in their working environment. They’re merely supporting cast members. But with printer technology evolving all the time, it’s finally time for printers to take centre stage. They’re no longer just huge, hot boxes of noise useful for only one or two basic tasks. These days they’re capable of so much more. That’s why we call them ‘multi-function devices’ now.
Somewhat dismissively referred to by some as mere ‘peripherals,’ it’s surely time that we reappraise the role of the MFD in the modern workplace. But, as with most shifts in thought, a catalyst is required. And print giants Xerox might just have come up with one. It’s called ConnectKey.
ConnectKey is an operating system which runs an organisation’s printers. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a whole new way of working. By connecting documents to the Cloud, ConnectKey ushers in a brave new world of opportunities and possibilities to its users and presents untold benefits to businesses smart enough to take advantage of it.
Here are some of our favourite things about Xerox’s impressive ConnectKey technology:
Printing From The Cloud
Using a familiar tablet-like interface, print jobs can be pulled directly from the Cloud at any printer in the company that’s ConnectKey enabled. With a ConnectKey enabled device, the user doesn’t have to use a computer to send the job to print. They can log into the network and print off whatever they need from the Cloud at any printer, in any office (provided they have access, of course).
Print jobs can also be sent from the user’s smartphone or any other email-enabled device. So long as the document that needs printing is in the Cloud and the user’s phone or device is hooked up to WiFi, a few taps later and they’re holding their document. ConnectKey hooks up to all the major Cloud services including Google Drive, SharePoint, Office365, DropBox, Evernote, and PaperPort Anywhere.
Users can queue up print jobs as well. Let’s say someone is visiting one of their company’s offices abroad. It’s not always convenient or even possible for mobile or travelling workers to print out all the documentation they might need for a trip (boarding passes, hotel reservations, contracts, presentations) before they set off. And some documents may require edits on the fly. Once received or finalised, these documents can be stored on your server, queued up and printed later from any MFD the user has access to. At a time convenient to them.
Creating Electronic Documents
Scanning and emailing documents with a conventional multi-function device can be a thankless task. A time-consuming, repetitive and multi-step process for all concerned, sending and receiving an electronic version of a printed document can be a bit of a drag. You scan the thing, email it over to the recipient who then has to open the email and attachment, save it locally and then upload it to the Cloud manually. It’s a clunky administrative process that eats time and takes up valuable hard drive and server space. But not so with ConnectKey. Just scan and save to the Cloud and it’s there for whoever needs to access it. It’s immediate, it’s a massively reduced workflow, and there’s no chance of the document getting lost or the storage of it being forgotten about or delayed.
Electronic document management systems can be kept as tight as a drum too. With easy Cloud storage and access, documents that need regular updates can be retrieved quickly and easily, and the organisation can guarantee that the user will be accessing the most up-to-date version.
Using Apps For Specific Tasks
The Xerox App Studio allows for customised workflow applications, meaning that organisations can get the best out of ConnectKey’s various features. Tailored made for them, apps can be shaped to fit the business’ needs in whatever way makes sense for them.
Need to print directly from your smartphone or tablet? There’s an app for that too. It’s called ‘Xerox Multi-Link‘ and it allows users to scan, fax and print directly from their handheld device. It’s a free download available from Google Play and the Apple app store, which allows you to control the printer and send documents to up to four places at once.
Those are just three ways that ConnectKey can improve your workplace. And we’ve not even mentioned the fact that it tightens up printer security, has a translation service, can encrypt data, show uploaded graphics on login and plenty more besides.
So there you have it – Xerox’s impressive ConnectKey technology. Printers used to just print. Then they copied, scanned and emailed. Now they can do all that plus share, create documents, translate and so much more. They’re workplace assistants. We think it’s a real gamechanger. If you want to find out more about how it can help your business, you can read more about ConnectKey here.