Over the past 12 months, and with significant preparation before that, the University has been putting in place a new Print Strategy. One of the core elements of this strategy has been to move printing away from desktop or local inkjet / laser printers and onto larger “multifunction devices” (MFDs) – i.e. photocopiers. Like most organisations we have photocopiers widely placed across the campus and today’s models are capable of acting as printers and scanners as well as traditional photocopiers. Hence the term “MFD”.
Desktop printing is really expensive. The cost per page is much higher than printing centrally or from MFD’s and we calculate that we will save a six figure some of money annually by shifting away from desktop printing. The print strategy is being rolled out stage by stage and already some Schools and Departments have moved across to using the new MFDs and have stopped using desktop printers.
As well as providing a more cost effective approach to printing, this new print strategy is also essential for our “future desktop” strategy. Leaving aside the cost, desktop printing is only useful if you have a desktop computer! As we move to a whole new world of IT running on mobile devices, shared workstations, from home etc we need to be able to print from any device to one of these shared MFDs. That’s where print@RGU comes in.
Traditionally, when you print from a PC you will specify the printer where you want your print to come out. With print@RGU, however, you send your print to a central queue. It sits there until you decide which printer (MFD) you wish to use. Once you are at the printer, you swipe your ID card through a special card reader (currently being installed on our MFD fleet) and a simple menu will pop up on a small screen attached to the printer. From there, you can see all the print jobs you have in the queue and you can choose which ones you want to print. If you’ve changed your mind, you can delete the print and save paper.
I was given a demonstration of the new system yesterday, and the rollout is going to start over the next few weeks. As it becomes available, you can use it on your main desktop computer to have more control over when your printouts come off the printer and the flexibility to choose any printer. If you have a laptop you will be able to use it to print to the nearest printer. This will work for staff and students. You will also be able to send your documents to the print@RGU queue from your home computer (to print off when you are next on Campus) or from your iPad, iPhone, Android etc.
There will be various ways to do this, and more detailed instructions will be issued in due course by IT Services as each stage becomes available- follow the “RGU_ITHelpdesk” on Twitter and /or check the web site if you want to get the latest info.