Executive Viewpoint 2017 Prediction: Mopria – : Gazing into the Crystal Ball: A Look at the Future of Mobile Print
The Six 2017 (and Beyond) Trends Driving Mobile Print
This time of year is traditionally one of reflection on the past and contemplation of the next 365 days ‘round the sun. It’s especially a useful time to get out the figurative crystal ball to consider current and rising trends, and see where the future lies.
So with that, here are the six trends to watch for in 2017 – and beyond – that will drive the continued rise of mobile print.
1. Print is Here to Stay
This is a fundamental driver of the move to mobile printing – our desire and need to print isn’t going away any time soon. Instead, mobile printing will create more options for organizations, letting employees and users print from anywhere when they need to.
What will change: The value of what we print will increase, because we won’t print out every single email we receive or article we come across – just the very important stuff.
2. BYOD is on the Rise
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) workplace policies will continue to grow in use. A TechPro report from early 2016 found that 72 percent of organizations polled were permitting BYOD, or planning to do so, and this number is likely to be even higher in 2017. Employees have their preferred device on which to work, and it may not be their desktop or company-issued computer – but they still need to be able to print documents for collaboration or editing.
As BYOD policies continue to expand, organizations will need to swing with the times and enable mobile printing. This will allow employees to be more productive and make workflows frictionless, giving them new ways to accomplish tasks.
3. The Workplace is Evolving
Changing workplace demographics will fuel the rise of mobile print. Traditionally, baby boomers and Generation X – people who didn’t grow up glued to screens like most millennials and Gen Z – were the printers. But that is not to say that millennials, who will comprise 46 percent of the workforce by 2020, don’t care about printing.
When IDC asked respondents how often they print documents, for both millennial and 36-plus age groups, 65 percent of respondents said they printed very frequently – every day or three to four times a week – in their office environments. The study also found that millennials are twice as likely to print jobs that run from six to 15 pages in length, compared with the age-36-plus respondents, who print three to five pages.
This comes back to the point that we are printing more documents of higher value. Most people agree that close reading is easier to do on paper – and in fact, we better understand what we read. A 2012 Israeli study of engineering students who read the same text on screen and in print when under time pressure to complete a task found that their comprehension and learning was better on paper, suggesting the really important stuff belongs in print.
As more millennials enter the workplace and rise higher in companies, they will be dealing with higher-level tasks that require putting eyes on a paper document instead of a virtual one – even though, or especially because, those millennials might be working off their own devices some or most of the time.
4. Productivity is King
Workplaces continue to strive for higher productivity. Both startups and established companies that are smashing the status quo are bringing new ideas to the marketplace that may require the ability to print from mobile devices. Companies are looking at ways they can change their business model or do things differently, and while on the surface that may create less paper use, but the amount of content – and that content’s value – is increasing.
For example, Pitney Bowes, which provides mail and messaging equipment, has transformed its business and thus changed the way people print and ship. Small business owners, Ebay sellers or Etsy makers who need to ship products can do so from anywhere now with Pitney Bowes’ SendPro, which lets users print shipping labels using any Windows 10-enabled device without being tied to (or even owning) a desktop computer. These user groups might not need to print out emails or invoices, which can be stored in the cloud and accessed or sent from a mobile device, but they absolutely require the ability to print shipping labels on the fly – content of greater value than many emails.
5. New Markets Eye Mobile Printing
One sector that is going through a fundamental shift in the next year and beyond is education, as blended learning – or incorporating digital assets like tablets and touchscreens as well as printed textbooks into teaching – grows in popularity. Every student learns differently, and while paper is a key part of helping people learn, digital tools can present concepts in new ways and help with hands-on teaching.
As more schools incorporate blending learning methods, students may use digital touchscreens instead of paper to solve math problems, or print out long readings from a digital textbook to better absorb the information. As schools add digital tools, the education sector will need to manage issues like eye fatigue from looking at screens, and combining digital and paper methods of learning will help teachers be more effective and students reach their highest potential.
6. App Developers Have Seen the Light
App developers have a greater awareness of the need for mobile print. We really, really like our apps – according to an Andreesen Horowitz presentation, smartphone apps account for almost 60 percent of all time spent online in the United States – and app developers are becoming hip to the benefits of adding print capabilities directly within the app.
Adding print to an app yields benefits for both the consumer and the app developer. According to an InfoTrends study, 95 percent of consumers and 67 percent of business users want the ability to print from their mobile devices – all current and future customers of app developers.
An app that can print will boost user engagement; a consumer is more likely to download and use an app that lets him print directly from the app interface, especially for items like tickets and coupons, or for hobbies like cooking or model building. The InfoTrends study found that users are twice as likely to click an ad and share content with other sources, and three times as likely to make an in-app purchase.
Printability also creates a higher retention level for the app – a consumer is 20 percent more likely to stay longer within an app than if she has to exit it to print from a different source, and two times as likely to come back to the app if it offers print, according to InfoTrends.
Many companies are driving this awareness and making it easy for developers to create apps on platforms that allow print capabilities.
The Future is Now
There has been fundamental growth in innovation and new ideas that have changed the way people work and live. The greater drive to be more efficient and productive in every facet of life pushes app developers and businesses to make things as frictionless as possible, and part of that is the ability to print from anywhere.
Even as the mobile ecosystem continues to expand and becomes a dominant part of everyone’s everyday life, both consumers and businesses require printed content to manage personal and work tasks. The ability to go mobile with just about everything means that we can do new things that weren’t possible even a few years ago – but printing remains a fundamental need that isn’t going away any time soon.