IoT: Internet of Things
Internet of Things is the new thing. We bandy about the term like we know what it means and the impact it has on our business. It inevitably means that my kettle can chat to the toaster but does my office kitchen need to be that connected? No, but the office does!
In any office, we are used to computers being able to communicate with other computers, or with the server and to receiving all those alerts telling us to update this or to be aware of that. All are beautifully managed centrally by our IT departments, or external IT infrastructure management teams (just like Colyer’s) and we are good soldiers who do as told. It is the same when it comes to the beautiful new multi-function printer standing proudly in the middle of your office floor, isn’t it?
When it comes to printers, we at Colyer know what we are talking about. And actually, the Internet of Things means that your machine can operate more efficiently and more securely with less management on your part. Win-win. Through cloud connectivity, the device and network connection, there are many aspects which the printer can now manage for itself:
To name a few:
- Service alerts – your printer can autonomously send out a message to its fleet manager & service partner that the time has come for its annual check-up.
- Usage alerts – your printer can monitor its monthly usage and send alerts to its managers that the minimum volume commitment is nearly up, and we are only the 7th of the month!
- Log input – your printer no longer needs you to update its maintenance log manually – it’s a big boy now!
- Remote diagnostics – nothing like a bit of self-diagnosis / auto medication!
Did you know that through the Internet of Things, it is now possible for your printer to be more or less responsible for itself? It can send notifications when ink/paper/other consumables are running out and alerts about its use. When it comes to remote diagnostics, no one knows better than your printer as to what’s wrong or even how to cure its ills. Before you know it, the problem is diagnosed and resolved, and all you receive is an entry for the logbook.
It’s all very well and good having a fleet of connected printers, but it would not be wise. Indeed it would be foolhardy, to neglect the security aspects. Inter device communication is open to the same risks as sending an email, and every company needs to ensure that these communications are protected, with the danger of being hacked. Your printer must not become the open door into your business. Read our article on data security.
A connected printer creates particular vulnerabilities to your business alongside the numerous advantages it presents. Including the printer network into your global IT security strategy is this summer’s non-negotiable must-have.
No. It doesn’t mean that the printer in the corner will be able to converse with the microwave, however useful (??) that would be. We are talking more about a series of logistics communications about the state of use and maintenance of your machine. And how, in the short term and long run, this can make the running of your office equipment more efficient and streamlined, without you having to lift a finger.