Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wi-Fi: a growing requirement

A recent study, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for Lexmark, shows the growing demand for wireless accessibility for printers in the SOHO market.

The survey interviewed some 9,000 “tech-savvy” end-users across the globe, over 700 in the US. 40 percent of respondents had wireless network (Wi-Fi) in their home and over 80 percent of these had experienced productivity benefits. The benefits cited were enhanced flexibility and added mobility. More and more offices, the study says, are getting used to mobility, given the use of PDAs, laptops, and digital cameras.

Furthermore, the study notes that 94 percent of respondents “say they need a printer in order to be able to do their jobs effectively.” Also that “access to a printer is perceived to be as, if not slightly more, important as having access to the Internet (93 percent) and e-mail (92 percent).” In addition, 92 percent claim they want to be able to print without being hooked by cable to a printer. That’s true at home, at work, and while traveling (especially in a hotel or airport business center).

Given all that, relatively few printers are Wi-Fi ready. Lexmark has been introducing a growing number of wireless-preconfigured models, and it only makes sense that Wi-Fi will soon be as standard equipment on many printers and MFPs as Ethernet and USB ports are.

Let’s face it. The current crop of laser printers and MFPs are more than fast enough and they have appropriate printing features for the majority of users. The big challenge is to make them more usable and for an increasingly mobile workforce, the ability to piggyback onto different printers at different locations (with proper security of course) is becoming more and more of a basic requirement.

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