At what it describes as its biggest product launch in ten years, HP has unleashed on an army of Asia Pacific journalists its revolutionary ‘print-through-the-cloud’ web-enabled printers as well as vastly improved professional large-format printers.
High productivity high-end printers
Of most interest to GIS professionals is the new HP Z6200 large format photo printer. Although the machine itself is a new design as well, the vast improvement brought about by this printer is due more to the HP Vivid Photo Ink that has been especially developed for this unit.
“The two big breakthroughs with this ink are the better adhesion, leading to much faster printing, and the more vivid colours,” said Prof Andre K. Economou, HP’s solutions architect for large format printing. “In addition, we have added a chromatic red, which makes it possible to print true reds for the first time, without the usual pinkish hue.”
Prof Economou explained the gains for the GIS industry this way: “Colour quality is very important in a number of applications,” he said. “When evaluating satellite thermal images, the colours give away a lot of information on the presence or absence of water. Small variations on thermal images four weeks after rain events, for example, can indicate if an area is losing water quicker than others.
“Similarly, when looking for mineral deposits, thermal readings can give an indication of the presence or absence of minerals,” he said. “Colour quality can greatly assist in the evaluation of thermal images in this regard.”
The Z6200 can print up to 140 m2 per hour depending on resolution, and because of the improved ink, it uses up to 50 per cent less of it than the previous model. The printer uses eight (8) cartridges, a fact that enabled HP to include the red and a grey as well. With inks making up 30-40 per cent of a user’s costs, the 50 per cent saving is quite remarkable.
Heads in the clouds
The other remarkable innovation launched at the event was HP’s ‘print from cloud’ capability. In brief, it enables users to send print jobs to any web-enabled HP printer, be it in head office, in an airport lounge or a business services shop on the street.
You could, for example, use your iGIS on your iPhone to record your work in the field, and send it directly to the printer in the office or to the boss who may be at an airport on his way to THE business meeting – or even to the client’s office!
Some printers also include a scanning capability, which allows users to upload plans etc. to their Google-docs account, company website, or HP’s cloud facility called ePrint & Share, from where the documents can be shared, printed out, annotated and/or signed off, and scanned back for return to the originator.
The web-enabled printers have an email address and can print from the cloud – or USB stick or through USB cable – without the need for drivers, or, indeed, connection to any laptop or computer. Wireless printing is also a possibility with the addition of a card.
HP’s vision sees a business world where airline terminals, business services shops and many businesses will have internet-connected printers, allowing business travellers and mobile workers to free themselves from carrying paper documents, speeding up the travel of information and increasing productivity to new levels. It’s a clever idea, and with more and more work being done in the cloud through Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, its timing is quite exquisite, too.