The Cloud, Tab Computing, and Canon’s Google Docs App.

March 28, 2011

Last week in our weekly sales meeting I asked how many people had heard of “the cloud” and every hand went up, but when I asked who knew what the cloud was, or what businesses can do with cloud computing not one hand went up. I was happy they they were honest because they are not alone. Every current business and technical magazine talks about the Cloud, or Cloud Computing, but business people are still unsure how it will help their business, or why they should use it.

The concept of cloud computing is pretty simple; instead of companies investing in their own Servers, Software, and IT staff they buy the functionality that they need. For example a large University on the east coast moved their .edu email services from in house to Google mail. So instead of the Universities IT Staff buying, installing, upgrading, and maintaining their email servers it is now handled by Google for a per person fee. They also get to retain their University.edu name. This just one example of an organization using cloud computing to meet a business need.

Another driving force that will help us embrace the cloud is how the personal computing experience is changing. I don’t mean “personal” as opposed to business, but how each of us personally interacts with a computer. For the longest time I had to take a laptop when I traveled,  but once I was able to get both my email and my calendar on first my Palm phone, and then my Blackberry I no longer felt compelled to take my laptop on short trips. While its still true that a smart phone doesn’t handle email or calendar as well as a laptop it does the job well enough (at least for a couple of days).

Now with the introduction of Tablet Computing (iPads, & such) email & calendaring as well as many other functions can be handled just as well as on a laptop. With the notable exception of printing. Both mobile computing (smart phones) and Tablet Computing dramatically change the end user computing experience, but neither has had great functionality when it came to printing. Maybe it was because the manufacturers of these mobile devices believed or thought that a paperless office was an imminent reality, maybe they even believed that their devices would usher in the paperless office. Unfortunately for them, printing has not, and is not going away anytime soon. Enter Google Docs and the Canon Google Docs App! A perfect fit for mobile computing for several reasons not the least of which is printing. With Google Docs you can easily upload documents and then print them to a Canon ImageRUNNER Advance with a Google Docs MEAP application anywhere in the world.

I was just at the AIIM\On Demand show in Washington DC, and while I was on the floor of the show I was able to Scan to, and Print from my personal Google docs account that I had set up a month ago. I did this on the fly with no set up ahead of time by me or Canon. When I got back to one of my offices I downloaded and set up the Google Docs App on one of our IR-Advance in about 10 minutes and proceeded to print PDFs, Word Docs, Excel files, and even PowerPoint files that were stored in their native format and converted to PDF automatically by Google Docs when it is sent to a Canon MFD to print. This means that you can now print not only PDFs, but also Office documents that have been uploaded to Google Docs WITHOUT USING A COMPUTER! I don’t know of any other Multi Functional Copier that can print a Word or Excel file.  It makes Google Docs a perfect application for Mobile or Tablet computing not only for printing, collaboration, and file storage.

Google Docs and the Google Docs MEAP App for the Canon ImageRUNNER Advance MFD is beyond Follow me printing, because it is not limited to your network, since you can do it from any MFD that can access the internet (which most connected MFDs are) it is follow me anywhere in the world printing!

That’s My $0.02
Vince McHugh


One comment

  1. Its truly amazing how far the SaaS technology can take us. With document scanning to the cloud now added to the list, incredible. We wont need laptops soon, just dumbed down devices all interconnected to the cloud.

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