While technological advancements are being made in many industries and digitization is becoming more prominent in businesses, are we ready to say goodbye to the printer? In 1971, the first message was sent from computer to computer signifying the birth of electronic mail – or as it is commonly known as, email. Almost half a century later, we have still not fully transitioned into a digital-only world and printers are still very much needed and used in homes and businesses around the world today. Here’s why:
1. Security first
One of the biggest benefits of using a printer is that it delivers safety in the form of a ‘hard to hack’ piece of paper. Emails can be hacked and deleted, meaning important information can get into the wrong hands and paper trails can be lost. Vital documents can be printed and then removed from the computer, meaning only the person who has the hardcopy of the document can see it. There have been many high profile data breaches recently and, while technology is advancing in many areas, having a printed document which you can file as you see fit is one of the safest ways to ensure information is protected and kept.
2. Memories shouldn’t live on a phone
We don’t just print contracts and documents, we also print memories. Printers have evolved too, meaning they’re not just plug-in-and-print bulky machines which sit on a shelf in the spare room.
They’re sleek and compact and most now have a wireless connection, meaning you can print straight from your phone or tablet. Those family holiday pictures no longer have to sit on your devices anymore; you can print them off and put them in pride of place.
Most printers come equipped with scanning and photocopying functions too, meaning you can now scan older images – which you only have a hardcopy of – onto a computer and make more copies for everyone in the family to enjoy.
3. Better value
The cloud might well be hailed as an invisible solution to all of our storage needs – but that’s only as long as you don’t store too much and you have a subscription or pay an annual fee. Otherwise your vital data could disappear into thin air. Ink and toner will be a one-off payment every time you need it and are capable of helping to print hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pages. Modern ink and toner can also go much further than ever before. Online storage solutions and databases, depending on how many you need, could actually cost quite a bit – especially for long term and high volume use.
4. Backup tickets
Picture this: you’ve downloaded your tickets for a concert and you’ve had a long trip to get to the venue. A couple of trains, three hours of queuing so you can get to the front and, before you can show you digital tickets, your phone dies. What do you do now? Do you have a printed copy for ‘just in case’? If you don’t then you may not be able to attend. Digital versions can not be relied on, because a smartphone will always need power. A printed version will stand the test of time – as long as you don’t lose it.
While technology has been designed to make things easier, and is vital in day-to-day life, the humble printer still has a place.
By Samantha Acuna
Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo Small Business.