Discover how the Smart Touch Screen Panel can enhance the productivity of your multifunction printer

All around us, people are pinching, tapping and flicking. The trend is touch.

By 2018, smartphones and tablets will account for 88 per cent of the global connected device market.

This meteoric growth can be attributed to the familiar “iPad” style interface, which provides a more intuitive and tactile interaction experience than push-buttons or keyboards.

In my personal view, the continually changing profile of the workplace is also likely to have influenced this growth, particularly with the rise in the number of millennials and the emergence of Generation Z. Generation Z refers to those who are born after 1995 and are starting to leave education for the world of work.

I also believe that the expectation of many workers, including those who are millennials and members of Generation Z, is likely to be that all devices should be controlled and interfaced in this intuitive, “touch screen” manner. So it follows that your next multi-functional Printer (MFP) should be no exception.

The Smart Operational Panel (SOP) or Smart Touch Screen Panel is a new tablet-style control panel that is integrated with an MFP to provide a clear, user-friendly interface to manage all of your MFP operations.

The SOP is a significant advance in the way people can manage, simplify and improve document processes in their office.

So what features should your SOP have?

  • Simplicity and accessibility – most office workers will only ever need to perform simple print, copy, scan and fax tasks. A truly smart operation panel should provide an intuitive interface that is not only easy to use, it also simplifies the choices available, thereby reducing complexity for the user and the need for training. Using big and clear icons, a speaker to deliver audio output and the option to switch the colour palette of the display, your SOP can also aid accessibility for those with visual impairment.
  • Mobility – in line with the increasing trend for smartphone and tablet use is the increase in mobile printing from such devices (sending data to a printer wirelessly). The number of organisations implementing mobile print has increased from 4 per cent in 2012 to 15 per cent in 2015, with another 35 per cent planning to roll out a solution. Overall, 83 per cent of organisations are now showing an interest in mobile printing. To keep ahead of such change and support an increasingly mobile workforce, your Smart Touch Screen Panel should work seamlessly and securely with smart devices, cloud services, and support mobile printing, scanning, copying and fax.
  • Sustainability – your SOP should also help your organisation to be more sustainable. An “Eco” display of how much paper has been used and how much colour printing an  MFP has produced provides real-time and intuitive feedback for your organisation to easily keep in check device use and optimise the environmental impact.
  • Agility – your SOP should help ensure your organisation remains agile. For example, with an increasingly multi-cultural workforce across Europe, the SOP should have the ability to switch languages at the press of a button. Your SOP should also provide secure web-access for your workers, direct from the panel.  Navigation should mirror that of tablet use and with the ability to print pages directly so workers can easily print off boarding passes, travel directions and tickets on the go.
  • Productivity – above all else your SOP should help your organisation to work much smarter and increase productivity. Using intuitive tablet-style operation the SOP should be highly customisable, providing the option to personalise the look and layout. This ensures that the primary icons, applications and widgets all fall at the users fingertips when they login, minimising time spent at the MFP and simplifying operation.

In response to customer’s changing technological requirements, Ricoh has developed its own SOP. Ricoh’s Smart Operation Panel comes with an in-built HTML5 web-browser that provides access to web-based tools and portals wherever there is an MFP.

In addition, the Ricoh SOP uses the Android operating system which has a large community of developers supporting it. And I believe that, over time, this community of developers will be able to create new applications for the SOP, which will extend the capability of your MFP beyond simple print and copy solutions. Such applications could be tailored to your specific workflows to enhance and optimise productivity.

Visit the Ricoh website to explore our range of MFPs and the new Smart Operation Panel

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