Roam if You Want to…HP Will Have the Printing Covered
Mobile Print Service to Debut in Spring 2018
It was easy enough for the B-52s to tell people to roam if they want to. It was 1989, and most organizations were barely in the age of printing from a desktop PC, let alone trying to accommodate a mobile workforce outfitted with laptops and smartphones. For businesses that have grappled with trying to deliver easy, reliable printing to every user wherever they may be and from whatever device they may be using, HP Inc. is readying its answer: HP Roam.
Announced at the company’s World Partner Forum in Chicago and set to debut in the spring of 2018, HP Roam has four things going for it:
- Cloud-based: Hosted by HP, the cloud service means there is no cumbersome server software for a company to install, configure, and maintain. This removes one major hurdle of a typical enterprise “pull-printing” solution.
- Cross-platform: Users submit jobs from a desktop PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone that are routed to the user’s private print queue and held there until the user retrieves them for printing on an HP Roam-ready printer or MFP.
- Locale-agnostic: Users can print their pending jobs at any Roam-enabled printer, be it at home, the office, a branch office, a client site, or a public print location such as a hotel business center.
- Device-agnostic: Since Roam is based on PrinterOn’s robust mobile print platform (which HP is picking up as part of its pending acquisition of Samsung’s document imaging business), the universe of Roam-enabled output devices can include printers and MFPs from most major manufacturers, not just HP. Any output device capable of running the small Roam applet could be a target device.
In addition to these benefits, Roam will replace dedicated PC print drivers that need to be installed and maintained on users’ PCs, network print servers and queues, and disparate print apps. The Roam app will offer a unified, consistent print experience across all devices. In addition to letting users select the target printer, the app will also offer proximity features to automatically detect nearby compatible printers.
Roam will have a phased deployment. The first products supporting this solution will be new HP Pro and HP Enterprise devices; printers in these series that are already in the field will be upgradeable to Roam compatibility if they are equipped with HP’s Future Smart architecture. The next priority will be legacy devices, many of which can be brought into the fold with an inexpensive dongle. HP indicated consumer-level devices will eventually offer some support for this solution.
HP plans to focus on the business segment and MPS customers with Roam. They have not worked out final pricing, but anticipate some type of per device charge as part of a base contract or product upgrade.
HP recognizes that knowledge workers function in a connected, cloud-based, mobile-centric world. The company continues its efforts to make print accessible wherever a person is, from whatever device they need to print. As the technology and implementation obstacles to mobile printing arise, the big question is if customer behavior will evolve in a way that results in more pages being printed or simply a shift in where and when pages are printed.