According to IBM, the global mobile workforce – employees not based in a central physical location – is approximately 1.8 billion.
That’s over half of the workers on the planet.
Many of them will connect with colleagues and customers using mobile devices. However, adding a wireless printer to their toolkit can significantly improve productivity and accuracy.
In this introductory article, we’ll look at what wireless mobile printers are, what they can do, and the benefits they can bring to a range of industries and job roles.
What exactly is wireless mobile printing?
A wireless mobile printer is any printer that uses a wireless network connection. While this includes cart-mounted printers that can be wheeled around an office or warehouse, we’re going to focus on smaller devices that mobile workers can carry or even wear.
These devices give employees the flexibility to print on demand where and when required in a variety of scenarios, as revealed below.
What do wireless mobile printers look like and what are their capabilities?
Good-quality wireless mobile printers are incredibly light, portable and durable. You might think that a trade-off for portability would be low print quality, but this need not be true. The better models offer the kind of rich print quality that was once found only in stationary models.
Leading wireless mobile printers feature dependable wireless connections with fast 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.2, so they can sync with a rugged device when on the move – or laptops or desktop machines in an office environment. Batteries can easily last a full shift and the best models will come with robust security, to protect the device from unwanted access.
How do they work in practice?
Mobile workers typically use a wireless mobile printer alongside a handheld, wearable or mountable computer. The printer receives instructions from the device via wireless connection using short-range Bluetooth technology.
For instance, a logistics employee could use the mobile device to retrieve or create label information and then send this to the mobile printer to print.
Further printing capabilities include barcodes, RFID (radio frequency ID) labels, receipts, invoices, tickets and more.
What are the benefits?
Convenience: Print labels on-demand, eliminating the need to return to the office to generate hard copies.
Increased productivity: Complete tasks faster, at the point of work, and move on to the next job more quickly.
Improved accuracy: Print accurate and up-to-date barcode labels at the point of work. These can then be machine read via a scanner, reducing the risk of errors and increasing efficiency.
What kind of workplaces can benefit from wireless mobile printing
Using wireless mobile printers, organisations in logistics and supply chain can quickly and conveniently print invoices, packing slips and shipping labels, including barcode and RFID labels.
For security-conscious sectors such as defence, all printing tasks can be undertaken using secure connections and encryption.
Delivery drivers can issue receipts, invoices and re-label goods for returns.
Medical staff can label specimens at the patient’s bedside, reducing the risk of labelling errors. This can be particularly useful for blood-bank management and breast-milk labelling.
Hospitality and service industries
Wireless mobile printing can be used to speed up ticket issuing, guest and passenger check-in, and tableside transactions.
Retail staff can print shelf-edge labels, prices, return labels and mobile point of sale receipts. Instant labelling from the stockroom or shop floor makes direct store-to-customer deliveries quicker and easier.
Mobile workers can quickly print labels and stick them to assets that require maintenance inspections.
How do I choose the right wireless mobile printer?
You should consider the needs of your sector – many models are aimed at specific industries and will be designed accordingly.
Crucially, you’ll want to ensure your wireless mobile printing devices are a good fit with your current mobile devices. In the field, phones/tablets and printers will be talking to one another and this process must be seamless.
Nuffield Technologies specialises in providing enterprise-grade technology to many sectors, including logistics, defence and construction. We can help you procure wireless mobile printers and ensure your new technology integrates with your existing technology, to helps you enjoy the maximum benefit.