[Cloud] Analysis of Cloud Printing use-cases

[Cloud] Analysis of Cloud Printing use-cases

[Cloud] Analysis of Cloud Printing use-cases

Randy Turner rturner at amalfisystems.com
Wed Apr 27 05:10:27 UTC 2011

My summary analysis of the use-cases (so far) is that the bulk of these use-cases are not "compelling" enough to utilize cloud services.  And one or more of these use-cases seem somewhat contrived.  From my perspective, any time the client wants to print to local ("on the same network") printing services, Cloud printing is really not needed.  There are too many ad-hoc/guest printing services that can achieve this functionality, and these methods are far less complex than erecting a cloud printing service to do this.

On the other hand, any time the printing destination is "remote" and somewhat "virtual" from the perspective of the client, this is where I think Cloud Printing shows the most value.

For instance, in the "Doctor sends a prescription to a drug store for a patient" scenario, I would assume that the drug store has "registered" a destination with a cloud provider (the destination can be temporary or permanent), and the destination is just a name, it's a "virtual" printing destination. The Doctor is told (via email to his PDA) what the destination "virtual" name will be.  The Doctor subsequently types up a prescription and sends it to the virtual destination.  He doesn't really know if it's a printer, printer-to-fax gateway, or some other kind of device.  The remote pharmacy has registered the necessary information with the Cloud Provider and the Doctor doesn't care (assuming there's a trust relationship between doctors and pharmacies in the Cloud).

This type of Cloud "imaging" service (could be more than printing, probably would be, something like an imaging "pivot" service that pivots the source among a number of different virtual destinations, each destination being potentially a different type of imaging device...print-to-fax gateway, print-to-email gateway, traditional printer, etc.

The way I see Cloud Imaging, the more the "source" of an imaging job is isolated from the "destination" for the imaging job, the more value a Cloud Imaging Provider can offer. By "isolated", I mean that the client knows little or nothing about the destination of the print job (isolated in knowledge), and nothing about "where" the destination is (isolated "geographically")

Years ago, Kinkos broached the idea of "Cloud Printing" by tying together all their geographic locations into a virtual printing network, and subscribers could send their complex print jobs into the Kinkos cloud, and Kinkos would deliver the complete, finished bundle to the Kinkos location closest to the zip code of the job submitter (subscriber).  This is something similar to what I am thinking about, but the concept of Cloud Printing (especially an Cloud "Imaging" Provider) could go beyond Kinkos.

To me, if the source and destination are on the same LAN, Cloud Printing becomes far less compelling, however, device discovery and IPP Everywhere become more compelling.

I will try and add to the list of use-cases published thus far with a couple of more concrete scenarios to which I'm referring in the above text.


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