Cloud based printing is becoming more and more widespread across the University. Instead of needing to remember the queue name of the nearest printer, jobs are sent to a single cloud queue (to be strictly accurate, there are in fact two queues, one for mono jobs and one for colour) and can then be collected from a wide range of cloud enabled printers located in most parts of the University estate. The user simply taps their University ID card on the reader of a cloud printer and is presented with a list of the jobs in the cloud print queues belonging to the user. One or more jobs can them be selected for printing.
Cloud based printing provides benefits both for the user and for the School. As mentioned above, users can print out their jobs at (with a very few exceptions) any cloud printer in the University including those located in the libraries, in other Schools, in the School levels and concourse of Appleton Tower and in other public areas. Flexibility is a further benefit; should the user, on going to a printer to print out their job, find that it is in the middle of a multi-hundred page photocopy session, they can simply walk a little further to one of the other printers in the building and collect their printout there.
For the School, the benefit comes in cost savings. Jobs are only printed out when the user presents their University ID card to the reader on a cloud printer thus avoiding the drifts of uncollected printouts which currently gather around the School’s printers. Jobs which are not printed within 24 hours are automatically deleted from the queues.
Another advantage is that cloud printing is more secure. Since jobs are only printed when the user is present at the printer, there is no danger of sensitive material being seen by others as it sits in the out-tray awaiting collection.
Cloud queues are charged queues. Every user account in the University has a print credit balance associated with it and every time a job is printed on a cloud device, the appropriate amount is debited from the user’s balance. Charging only occurs when the job is actually printed off so jobs which are deleted after 24 hours do not incur a charge.
Informatics staff and research students are not currently charged for printing and there are no plans for this to change; a central mechanism is in place by which print credit is automatically topped up every week and it is intended to implement this for Informatics staff and research students.
After a trial deployment in Forrest Hill last year, all printers on the School’s floors in Appleton Tower are now cloud devices and this is working well. It makes sense for all the School’s printers to be cloud enabled and it is proposed to introduce cloud based printing in the Forum by the end of the year. Any comments you might have on this proposal would be welcome.