PrinterOn and Ricoh partner on hotspot printing solution

An exclusive partnership will see PrinterOn‘s mobile printing technology embedded in select Ricoh monochrome and colour printers, allowing Ricoh Canada’s dealer partners to build printing solutions for customers looking to enable mobile printing within their environments.

Based in Kitchener, Ont., PrinterOn is a 25-year-old Canadian technology company that has developed software that allows a mobile user to print from anywhere, including mobile devices, to a supported printer.

“We enable mobile executives to be able to print from anywhere to anywhere there’s a Ricoh printer enabled with our software,” said Ken Noreikis, vice-president sales and marketing with PrinterOn. “From laptops to iPhones to BlackBerries; any mobile device that can be used to send e-mail.”

There’s no need to download any software and there’s no client-side software, explains Noreikis. Users e-mail the file they want to print to the printer as an attachment. Target markets include the hospitality industry, in locations such as coffee shops, hotels or airport lounges, as well as businesses looking to offer public printing to visitors.

The PrinterOn solution supports either free printing for businesses that want to offer it as a value-add for their customers, as well as pay-per-print tools to help business owners monetize on the service. A user can pre-purchase print credits which they can use at different PrinterOn-enabled locations.

“What’s really nice about the Ricoh solution is the printer comes from Ricoh ore-configured and ready out of the box to plug into the Web and, after some simple set-up, you’re ready to print,” said Noreikis. “We’d traditionally install it on a network appliance or a PC, but with the Ricoh solution it’s all bundled in one offering.”

While the PrinterOn technology is available in software-form, Noreikis said their focus now is on the embed partnership with Ricoh, and they decided to go exclusive with them for a number of reasons.

“Their printer platforms are the appropriate platform for us to embed the platform on; their technology supports the embedded approach,” said Noreikis. “Our technology is read to be adopted into the mainstream, and Ricoh has the presence and the reach in the market to bring the product into the mainstream.”

Ricoh Canada has a direct sales channel primarily focused on the B2B market in urban centres, as well as a dealer and reseller channel primarily focused on rural Canada. Eugene Renzetti, vice-president marketing, Ricoh Canada, said the embedded PrinterOn solution is going to require a new sales and marketing approach for Ricoh, and new support for its partners as it’s now much more than just a straight product sale.

“The product does come with available collateral to help from a marketing perspective, and there’s going to have to be education as well,” said Renzetti. “It will require education and training, and we’re prepared to support that. We have a support program in place with dedicated resources and hands-on training.”

The PrinterOn technology will initially be embedded in two Ricoh offerings – the monochrome SP 4100N – KP and the colour SPC 420DN – KP. More are expected to soon follow. As Ricoh and its channel bring the embedded PrinterOn offerings to market, Renzetti said he sees mobile printing as being a differentiator for them in the market.

“Mobile communications devices aren’t a market that’s slowing down. Almost everyone has a Blackberry, and those that don’t will shortly, so the need to print mobily is ever increasing,” said Renzetti. “We have this global agreement in place (with PrinterOn) and we think we have a real niche in the market here.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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