Education Times profiles the solutions helping universities to cut down, streamline and enliven their printing.
Lexmark's multi-function printers send documents to email directly, cutting out the computer Lexmark wants its customers to print less.
Its multi-function printers, which scan, copy and have internet access, are designed so that printing is the last option.
The strengths the company can bring to large schools and universities are not limited to its hardware specifically, says Mohammed Addarat, its Middle East large account sales manager, but its strategy.
"It's about looking at institutions' overall objectives with regard to their day to day operations; about allowing students and faculty more time to concentrate on their core competencies; about eliminating inefficiencies across the institution."
Lexmark customises document management solutions for large institutions based on their exact needs. Its 'Follow Me Print' initiative allows students and faculty to pick up their print jobs from any multi-function printer on campus.
Once a print job is sent, it is stored on the printers' network, and only printed once users swipes their card or key in their ID number.
This reduces the paper wasted when print jobs are not collected, and increases security by ensuring that sensitive documents are not viewed by other users.
Users can call up their print history on the networked machines, and reprint jobs if they wish.
Specific user profiles can also be set up across the network of multi-function printers, to restrict access to colour printing, or to limit the number of pages a user can print in a given period.
As well as printing, faxing and copying, Lexmark's multi-function printers are also internet-enabled, taking the computer out of many everyday tasks. Scans can be sent to email directly from the machine, web pages can be viewed and printed, and scheduled tasks can be set to print news or weather from pre-set websites at specific times.
"It's all about printing less and saving more," says Addarat. "We are able to propose the solution - the hardware and software - that fits universities' needs." Canon
Universities and large schools are already using Canon's unique solutions to help streamline their output and create eye-catching displays "Education is a key focus area for us," says Nicholas van Santen, marketing manager at Canon Middle East.
Canon's prime offering to universities is its professional printing suite, used by higher education institutions to train students entering the professional printing industry. Printed matter is all around us - from product packaging, to bank statements and newspapers, to name a few. "Facilitating students in this field, in terms of learning and becoming familiar with Canon products, is very important for us," continues van Santen.
Canon also seeks to support universities by "providing not only equipment, but also by bringing in people to give lectures. Our involvement is not just on a machine level, but also through experience and coaching," he says. Guest lecturers provide students with up-to-date industry analysis and information on where the market is heading.
The company's range of large-format printers, meanwhile, caters to the specialised printing needs of specialised university programmes. "Canon belongs to specific areas," he says.
"Architectural education, design and engineering need large format printers for making line drawings and blue print design. Our printers are also used in art colleges, where students use them for printing photography and other pieces of printed art images."
For schools, large format printers can be used to print teaching aids, timetables, school notices, students' work or class and excursion photos. The company's Poster Artist software comes with all its large format printers, and can be used by teachers, administrators and students.
"You can take content from simple Microsoft applications, like Word or Powerpoint, cut and paste it using the software, and make professional quality posters," van Santen says.
This relegates the days of cutting out pictures and pasting them onto large pieces of paper to the history books. The software comes complete with design templates, while the auto-design feature automatically lays out content into poster format.
Canon's commitment to the environment, through its products, services and its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, are already well known worldwide, says van Santen.
"Our research and development teams look very deeply into energy consumption, how we manufacture our toners, and how we dispose of toner cartridges."
In terms of software, Canon offers a range of products, such as uniFlow, a unique software solution that tracks the printing output of individual users and departments.
Depending on their size and type, documents are automatically directed to the most cost-efficient printer in the office. uniFlow's secure printing feature holds print jobs until users verify their identity, using swipe cards, magnetic readers, or even fingerprint readers.
For universities and large schools that want to keep track of their printing output, while allowing their students and staff to create eye-catching displays, Canon's products and software certainly provide the solution. Xerox
For many the term 'copy' is interchangeable with the company that has been bringing its quality products to market since 1906 - Xerox.
Since then, the company has become renowned for offering unique document management solutions and hardware to one of its key target markets, the education sector.
"We've got three different lines of business," says Dan Smith, the company's general manager for integrated marketing, "and within those lines of business we have specific solutions and services focused on education."
On a hardware level, he says, Xerox offers the widest range of multi-function devices. "For any school or university, we have the smallest printer right up the very large and sophisticated digital devices."
The company's ‘book factory' allows educational institutions to print short-run, personalised and specific communications products, such as exam booklets, university timetables and course materials.
On the services side, Xerox has "a full suite of offerings," Smith adds. "We can actually look at an educational establishment, identify the bottlenecks, see what their key needs are, what applications they use, and help them will all of that."
In DocuShare, a document and content management system, the company provides solutions specifically for the higher education sector. The system allows universities and colleges to capture, store, share, manage, retrieve and distribute information, regardless of its source or location.
This means that HR forms, enrolment forms, memos, student records and contracts, to name a few, can be indexed, searched and retrieved with a simple click.
Course materials can also be archived and made available for students to access and print, rare documents can be preserved, and students' and teachers' work can be uploaded and shared.
The company also targets institutions with its Extendable Interface Platform (EIP). The programme is built into Xerox's multi-function devices, allowing users to send documents to the correct places, says Smith.
"For instance, if you need to take information out of an application form, we can scan it, route it to the right place, and extract the information that's handwritten into the document." Selected information can also be taken out of application forms and used to produce information sheets according to the university's exact needs.
As the largest producer of paper in the world, Xerox guaranteees that all of its paper comes from sustainable sources. All its products are also designed with sustainability in mind.
As a supplier to many universities and schools around the world, Xerox can provide the innovative hardware and software solutions their needs demand.
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