Touchless Printing: Limit Contact with Shared Surfaces

Christina Laniak
April 2020

You know those multi-function devices in your office that enable you to print, copy, scan and email your documents? They all have buttons or touch panels that get a lot of use. In some businesses, employees use a printer 3-5 times per day. That adds up to a lot of contact with “high-touch” surfaces, which we know can be reservoirs for germs.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we think about touching shared surfaces. Interacting with office printers might be just a drop in the bucket, but today every drop counts.

We might find ourselves in a post-quarantine world in which many people will prefer to limit their contact with high-touch surfaces.

The heightened sense of anxiety and caution that we’re currently experiencing won’t last forever, at least not to this extent. However, when we return to our offices we might find ourselves in a post-quarantine world in which many people will prefer to limit their contact with high-touch surfaces.

It might not even be about protecting against COVID-19 specifically but against any emergent viruses, seasonal or otherwise. We have all recently learned the hard way to grow our appreciation of hygienic habits in public areas, from the office to the grocery store and everywhere in between.

Office printing is one example of a regular business workflow that often requires touching a heavily-trafficked shared surface. Pharos serves thousands of organizations around the world who use our secure printing software to reinforce their information security policies and reduce paper and toner waste.

Whether you call it touchless print, contactless print, touch-free print, or even zero-touch print, the intent is the same: avoid touching shared surfaces whenever possible.

Many of these companies are already inquiring with us about alternative printing workflows for this period of separation, and in preparation for a very different future.

Beacon Mobile Print is one such alternative. It provides touchless printing that leverages QR codes for user authentication. It’s a simple, fast, and efficient secure printing solution that does not require any interaction with the printer control panel.

Whether you call it touchless print, touch-free print, contactless print, or even zero-touch print, the intent is the same: avoid touching shared surfaces whenever possible.

Employees can use our mobile app (iOS and Android) to scan a QR code affixed to a printer on your network. The system quickly authenticates the individual, and the user’s documents are immediately released from the secure queue. From the decision to print all the way to having the paper in your hands, your own phone is all you need.

You can even submit print jobs from home and coordinate the release of the document when a trusted colleague is present at the network device to collect it, to protect document confidentiality, or simply to complete important business workflows. We are seeing this “skeleton crew” scenario at some of our manufacturing customers. (Learn more)

Setup Could Not Be Any Easier!

Beacon Mobile Print is a cloud-based solution, so the setup and deployment process is a breeze. Securing your organization’s devices for touchless printing is a simple two-step process:

  1. Admin prints QR labels. The system makes it easy for the administrator to create and print unique QR code labels for each printer. Then, simply affix the QR code labels to the printers in your network.
  2. Employees download an app and register. Users receive simple instructions via email. A setup wizard prompts them to download the app and complete the registration process, which binds their workstation to their mobile device to enable user authentication.

The entire setup takes twenty minutes or less! The following video shows the entire process from start to finish. Take a look:

You Can Deploy Touchless Printing Today

Want to explore how this touchless secure print solution might help your employees stay productive and safe? We want you to have Beacon Mobile Print at no cost for 90 days as we all get through this together. You don’t need a credit card or any other form of payment to get started, and there is no obligation: you can cancel any time. We are here to help during this unprecedented and challenging time that we all share. To get started, open a chat here or contact sales@pharos.com! We will do our best to respond quickly.

Staff Can’t Rely on Mobile Devices? No Problem!

In some environments, such as healthcare agencies and hospitals, it might not be realistic to expect employees to be able to rely on their personal phones for secure business printing. The good news is you can still take advantage of touchless printing without mobile phones.

Student logging into printer

With a simple click on an admin screen, IT managers can enable touchless printing using proximity cards. When employees tap their cards to log in, a five-second counter is triggered. If the user does not touch the screen in that timeframe, all documents in the user’s queue will be printed automatically.

Another option is to use a small hardware device we call the Sentry SR25. It attaches to the back of a printer to enable secure document output and it works with all printers and multi-function devices. The process is the same: submit a print job, walk up to your preferred printer, tap your proximity card, and your documents are printed. No need to touch the device control panel!

A Simple Solution to an Unfortunate Issue

Whether you are an “essential business” with a crew still at the office or starting to plan for when employees return, this touchless secure printing solution is an option you have to help stay productive while limiting your contact with shared surfaces as much as possible.

No matter what, Pharos is here to help you every step of the way. If you need support or consulting to help your business with its printing operations during this challenging time or any point in the future, you can count on us to respond quickly. If you have any questions, you can reach us directly in the chat app here. Stay healthy and safe out there!





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