By Phil Jones, MD at Brother UK

Agile working is now becoming a standard part of working life — sometimes all that millennials know. This generation of digital natives has grown up with a smartphone or tablet in their hand. They work more digitally, using around 50% less paper than the generation before them, therefore digitisation is a key theme. For organisations that want to convert paper into digital workflows for distribution, scanners are a great product set to have in the portfolio, static and mobile.

If you asked a mobile worker to empty the contents of their case on your desk, you’d be amazed at how many items like power adaptors, device battery boosters, cables, cases and portable printers are required to work effectively.

Technology has also disrupted the business world, opening the door for more start-ups to launch. These lean companies are operating from smaller, more flexible office spaces — from hot-desks, tech incubators or even home working. As a result, technology requirements are different.

Smartphones and BYOD

Thanks to smartphones and tablets, working on the go has become the norm. Workers no longer need to be in the office to be productive. Businesses now really see the benefits of agile working, with employees increasing productivity and reducing ‘dead-time’ spent on-the-road.

Technology has been the key enabler of this trend, helping businesses to improve workflows and drive efficiencies.

This is leading to a growing demand for portable print solutions. Businesses are looking for software that helps them to be more flexible — it’s no longer about one product, but the entire solution and it needs to be compatible with BYOD schemes, with connectivity options such as wireless and NFC to enable smartphone and tablet users to print from cloud-based applications.

The future of office printing

In the future, I believe that people will still want to print but the ways in which people are printing are changing, with portable and cloud printing set for huge growth.

Cloud print solutions such as Google Cloud Print are increasingly enabling workers to print emails, web pages and other documents from smartphones or tablets, without the need to install drivers. It makes printing accessible from any device, at any time, wherever you are based, enhancing working on the move.

Printers that offer web connect features are also time efficient, allowing users to print directly from cloud-based services such as Google and removing the need to log onto a desktop device. Connectivity options such as NFC and Wi-Fi Direct make the user’s print experience as simple as possible. NFC in particular is a relatively new technology when it comes to print and, as consumers become familiar with it, they will begin to recognise how easy it is to use.

Web conferencing is also a great tool for keeping connected. Staff can join meetings, and bring to life ideas and reports without relying on email or conference calls — which if we’re all honest, can get pretty dull. Again, choose web conferencing that makes it easy for staff to operate from smartphones and tablets.

In our own business, as well as providing portable tech and web conferencing for our staff, we’ve also introduced an internal social network to help maintain a sense of community. It means staff can share ideas and information, and makes sure they don’t miss out on those all-important water cooler conversations!