Our Guide to Follow-Me Printing
What is Follow-Me Printing?
For any organisation, Follow-Me print is a straightforward way to cut paper waste, spread printing burdens and improve document security.
In a standard print environment, when users print a document from their PC, most will tend to use the default or closest printer or the one that has the features their document requires.
In offices where there are multiple devices in use, it’s easy to make mistakes when it comes to choosing where to send documents. Select the wrong printer name and your document is at the wrong printer on the other side of the building. Or choose a printer that someone else is using for a large set of documents and you’re waiting at the device for your work to appear.
Follow-me, find-me or centralised printing ensures that documents are only ever printed when they are requested, at a given device by an authorised user. They are never left piling up unclaimed and can be collected from wherever is most convenient or quickest.
This clever software also provides a print accounting solution that gives complete visibility of copying and printing output, allowing potential cost savings to be easily identified, along with whole range of control and allowance options for individuals or departments.
How it works
Ordinarily, when a user presses ‘print’ the job is sent to the selected printer immediately and processing starts immediately, so jobs can’t be recalled or cancelled if they have been sent in error.
With follow-me printing, the job is first sent to a print server where it is held in a print queue. When the user goes to a device (which can be any device on the network to which they have access) the job is pulled from the server and printed whilst they wait. It can be deleted at that point or retained on the server for future access.
To pull a job (or jobs) from a device, users need to let the device know who they are. This can be done in a number of ways; using network authentication, a simple PIN code, using a proximity reader (which can work with existing cards or fobs) or biometric scan. Authentication at the device also allows copying output to be monitored and controlled by user, in the same way as printing. Integration is simple, usually via active directory, so User administration is made straightforward and configuration of groups, permissions and quotas is easy to setup.
What are the benefits of Follow Me Print?
Cost Reduction. Users can select which jobs to print at the device. This allows mistakes and duplicate documents to be deleted rather than printed and thrown away, reducing paper and toner waste. It can also reduce your maintenance costs if you are charged per page.
Security. As users need to authenticate at the device in order to release their print jobs, there’s a greatly reduced risk of sensitive or important documents being seen by others or accidentally carried away with someone else’s printing. It also eliminates the problem of lost or forgotten printed documents.
User Control. A follow-me print solution can provide complete user accountability. As all print jobs pass through the follow-me print server and always remain linked to a User ID, it provides administrators with the control of printing and copying by user, by cost centre, department, client, project or case. Management reports provide instant information and will highlight if there’s a specific department or individual within a company regularly exceeding print budgets.
Improved efficiency. With follow-me the printing environment becomes much more flexible. Queues are reduced – if one device is busy, the user can simply move on to one that’s free. Users can choose to print documents where and when it’s most convenient – outside the meeting room or classroom on a just in time basis, rather than carrying copies around and if extra copies are needed, the job can be reprinted from the device.
Improved reliability. Because devices are all equally accessible, the print load is more balanced and shared across the devices more evenly, protecting the value and reliability of the printing network. If a device is offline for any reason, users can simply move to another printer, without any changes needing to be made to their printing options.
Environmentally friendly. In addition to making typical savings of between 10% and 15%, follow-me printing enables organisations to take greater account of their environmental commitments. Not only does cutting excess printing reduce costs but through lower paper, toner and electricity usage, it is also a greener option.
If you are interested in Follow-me Printing or would like some more information, please get in touch.
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