Printing technology displays a fantastic breadth of capabilities which range from the ability to print on different surfaces, to the use of specialty inks to produce amazing visual effects. However, printing also serves many industries in practical and critical ways. Nowhere has this been truer than with wide format printers and their closely related cousins, the wide format plotters.

Wide format plotters are not nearly as common as they once were, but it is a term which still occasionally appears. Discover what a wide format plotter is and the role it plays in printing today.

What Is a Wide Format Plotter?

A wide format plotter is a very specialized type of printer which generates printed documents ranging from two to six feet wide. Businesses which design or construct things have historically used a plotter rather than a traditional printer because only plotters were capable of unparalleled degrees of precision. Today, wide format printing has caught up technologically, making plotters less common than they used to be.

Printing with a Pen

Inkjet printers use drops of ink mixed on the paper. While laser printers use static electricity and heat to fuse toner to pages. Plotters do neither – historically, they used an actual pen to draw the output. This pen was attached to a metal arm which moved according to a set of hyper-accurate coordinates given by a computer running CAD software. This made it capable of producing sophisticated drawings with a high degree of accuracy.

Vector Not Raster

The nature of pen plotting meant that it rendered drawings in a vector file format rather than the pixelized raster, or bitmap, which is common in digital graphics today. Pen plotters made dots along coordinates which were then connected with a line. The result was a highly scalable image which did not lose clarity or detail as it was enlarged — this is a critical advantage of vector. Industries which demand precision need to be able to print in vector.

Who Uses Plotters

Plotters emphasize accuracy and clarity over beautiful, highly saturated images. Therefore, they have traditionally been common in industries which design or construct things. It might still be possible to find a plotter in:

  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Product design
  • Mapmaking
  • Manufacturing
  • Some craftsmanship

Choosing Precision with Modern Technology

Pen plotters did have a few drawbacks, which led to their ultimate demise. First, the pen needed to be capable of drawing the entire output in a single session. If the pen ran out of ink, the drawing had to be redone. Second, pen plotters were notoriously slow and had an almost nonexistent ability to fill solid areas, create gradients or different line shades. Pen plotters have primarily disappeared today as a result of these deficiencies, although it is still possible to find them.

Additionally, printing technology has evolved to the point where laser printers can deliver the same precision. Indeed, modern plotters take advantage of laser printing technology to produce printed documents at higher speeds. Wide format plotters and printers have gradually begun to look more alike — to the point where many firms, which may have once used a plotter, now opt to use a wide format printer instead.

Wide Format Printing

Today, wide format printing delivers the same high-precision printing that architecture  and manufacturing industries rely on to build accurate, sound products. Furthermore, wide format printing introduces greater flexibility because it is capable of running other print jobs as well.

This makes a wide format printer much more valuable in the day-to-day operations of an office. Not only can a wide format printer produce the blueprints which drive creation, but it can also bring a greater range of printing needs back in-house.

Wide Format Printing for the Next Generation

Wide format printing is not optional for businesses which produce blueprints, layouts, or any other highly technical document which governs manufacturing or construction. Historically, these industries have relied upon devices known as plotters because they were able to deliver the precision needed to ensure stable, accurate development.

However, advances in printing technology in the last decade mean that wide format laser printers rival plotters in their ability to deliver high-quality blueprints. Plotters have been gradually replaced in favor of this faster, reliable, and more flexible technology.

RJ Young specializes in helping architecture and engineering firms select the best wide format printer for their unique needs. Contact an imaging specialist today to get started.

A Multi-Function Printer print, scan, copy, fax, and even edit documents from one convenient hub. This has made them an office staple, leaving few reasons for an office to continue to purchase discrete devices for each activity.

Companies embrace multi-function devices because they increase device impact while decreasing their physical footprint. Multi-Function Printers increase company-wide productivity and revenue when strategically deployed in a printing fleet. Read on to learn how upgrading a company’s printer fleet to include these multi-function devices transforms productivity and profitability in the office.

How to Better Understand a Multi-Function Printer

There are many different terms for the device known as the multi-function printer. No standardized language exists, therefore the manufacturers are free to refer to their products as they like. In other words, there are several terms which appear in reference to MPS or similar devices:

  • All-In-One (AIO): A device which has a full array of document management options. This includes printing, scanning, faxing, copying, document editing, storage, and conversion.
  • Multi-function Device (MFD): May or may not be a printer, but likely has printing capabilities.
  • Multi-function Peripheral or Product (MFP): Shares the acronym MFP with multi-function printer, but it may have different capabilities entirely. Read the product description carefully.
  • 4-in-1 Printer: Typically refers to the main four functionalities: printing, scanning, copying, and faxing.
  • Small Office/Home Office (SOHO): These printers are typically multi-function because their manufacturers assume that smaller operations have less space.

Upgraded Fleets Save Money and Increase Productivity

A printer is no small investment. Professional models run easily into the thousands of dollars, which may represent a significant expense for a business. It might be tempting to hold onto an outdated model as a result, but that could be augmenting operating expenses in the long run. Upgraded fleets save money and increase productivity because they:

1. Decrease Consumable Cost and Use

The older the printer, the more expensive consumables like ink and specialized paper stocks tend to get. This is partly because they get harder to find, and partly because manufacturers discontinue parts and supplies to encourage upgrading. Likewise, modern printers use toner and ink more efficiently. They also support duplex printing and support the option to print only in black and white.

2. Cost Less to Maintain

A single multi-function device is much easier to maintain than a horde of specialized devices. Additionally, multi-function printers are so common that most technicians will have likely seen the model before, making it easier to get a device serviced.

3. Supports Increased Integration

Most modern multi-function printers support Wi-Fi connectivity, which enables integration with other office devices. Users can easily access all of the device’s functionalities without ever leaving their computer. Likewise, mobile printing adds a new layer of flexibility and mobility to the workflow.

4. Modern Multi-Function Printer Features Make Printing Easy

Multi-function printers are notoriously easy to use. The users do not have to go digging around in complicated interfaces to find the print button. Intuitive color touchscreens direct users to exactly where they need to go. Automatic document feeders eliminate the need to fiddle with the machine.

Install Print Tracking Software

Upgrading the printer itself is only one way to save money and boost productivity. Offices which already have a reasonably modern printer may wish to implement another strategy to boost productivity and reduce costs: print tracking software.

Print tracking software, such as PaperCut or uniFLOW helps businesses get a better handle on their expenses and printing habits. Print tracking software allows businesses to:

  • Automate reporting which makes tracking seamless
  • Gain total visibility of the printing costs for an organization
  • Highlight areas of improvement for optimizing fleets and individual printer use
  • Manage consumables to help reduce costs
  • Restrict access to the print environment so only the people who need to print can do so

Upgrade Your Printing Environment Today With A Multi-Function Printer

Modern businesses frequently operate on razor-thin margins, making any cost reduction potentially valuable. An optimized office print environment helps boost productivity, while reducing costs.

PaperKarma estimates that the average office worker uses close to 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year. That is the equivalent of 20 reams of standard office paper, or about 100 pounds of paper worth close to $200 per year. This article has outlined many of the ways that occur and has provided strategies to begin the optimization process.

Browse Product Catalog

Through the thoughtful deployment of modern printing devices, plus print tracking software, businesses can reduce this cost. Contact RJ Young today to begin strategizing your next-generation printing fleet which cuts costs while boosting productivity.

Forget projectors, ink-smudged fingers, and dry erase markers that run dry halfway through a sentence. Offices and educational institutions should enjoy the ability to create stunning visuals which deliver impactful and motivating presentations. Additionally, interactive whiteboards are a fantastic and modern way to motivate teams, inspire collaboration, and drive engagement in audiences.

RJ Young works with Ricoh to provide state-of-the-art interactive whiteboards for a variety of clients, industries, and educational institutions. Read on to learn how interactive whiteboards can revolutionize participation in a classroom or office.

Features of Ricoh Interactive Whiteboards

Ranging from 30 to 80 inches wide, Ricoh’s line of high-quality interactive whiteboards can meet the needs of large and small establishments. In addition, every device comes equipped with productivity amplifying features.

Users can enjoy the following features:

1. Workflow and Connectivity

Each whiteboard display supports an interactive experience by using touchscreen annotations. They also use apps to streamline productivity and connectivity with other platforms. As a result, enjoy full integration with Microsoft Office and connect with all devices to keep the workflow smooth and uninhibited.

2. Collaborative Capabilities

Create annotations and share screen images with remote users in real time to enhance the collaborative powers of a team. Leverage Ricoh’s Intelligent Workplace Services to create a comprehensive digital collaboration environment, which drives productivity and innovation.

3. Open Architecture

Additionally, all whiteboards come with Ricoh’s Embedded Software Architecture — this software helps maintain application compatibility across devices that many offices may use. The open nature of this software means numerous third-party solutions can also integrate flawlessly with Ricoh devices.

What To Consider When Choosing an Interactive Whiteboard Solution

The power and versatility of interactive displays have made them widely popular, leading to a vast array of offerings on the market. When choosing an interactive whiteboard solution for a classroom or business, consider the following:

  • Audience size. Consider how many people will need to interact with it. Undoubtedly, devices which support multiple simultaneous functions enable more collaboration.
  • Connectivity. The ability to link to numerous devices at once allows the audience to watch the presentation on their own devices. This benefits large lecture halls, or meeting rooms where everyone wants to take their own notes.
  • Space size. Interactive whiteboards range from 30 to 80 inches wide. In other words, this impacts how far it can be viewed from, and where viewers should – or should not – sit.
  • Software and apps. A classroom will require different apps and programs than an office. On the other hand, an office might find the ability to integrate with other document management platforms advantageous.
  • Durability. Above all, interactive whiteboards in a classroom setting must be durable to withstand student use. In other words, higher-end interactive whiteboards will find a better home in offices that want to wow clients.

RICOH Interactive Whiteboards Amplify Learning and Teaching

Interactive whiteboards in the classroom bring a variety of benefits to students, teachers, and schools. Here are three reasons why classrooms should embrace this modern technology:

1. Facilitate Active Learning

Students who are engaged with the material learn better. Furthermore, interactive learning encourages students to take an active role in the classroom. This is scientifically shown to increase learning and knowledge retention.

2. Encourage a Technological Culture

Technology in the classroom is a contentious topic. However, it is a healthy disagreement about whether or not it belongs there between teachers and students. Nonetheless, the presence of an interactive whiteboard in a classroom sends the message that an educational institution embraces technology. Interactive whiteboards also create a forward-thinking and modern culture which reflect the expectations of students.  

3. Assist with Lesson Structure

It is not just businesses who can leverage the app and connectivity capabilities of the whiteboards. Teachers can also put these tools to use to create new and exciting lessons — faster, and for less work.

Interactive Whiteboards Drive Productivity at Work

It’s not just students who get bored with one-way communication and lackluster dry erase scribbles. Interactive whiteboards bring many of the same benefits to the workplace, with the additional benefit of supporting current workflow processes which are already in place. Thoughtfully deployed interactive whiteboards in the workplace are beneficial in the following ways:  

  • Transforms lectures into brainstorming sessions that involve all participants
  • Keeps everyone on the same page with real-time file sharing
  • Supports annotations to help prevent details from slipping through the cracks
  • Connects with mobile devices and laptops to fit seamlessly into a workflow
  • Improves the quality of meetings and training sessions
  • Puts an impressive foot forward with current and future clients

Interactive Whiteboards: Technology for 21st Century Presentations

In conclusion, Interactive whiteboards are a low-disruption, high-impact update for offices and lecture halls. Create an atmosphere of motivation and forward-thinking by using an interactive display to transform presentations.

RJ Young helps businesses and educational institutions make the best selections for all of their technology solutions. Contact an expert today to start a discussion on how interactive whiteboards can benefit you.

What are Cloud Solutions?

Cloud Solutions promise it all: unbridled computing capabilities, access from anywhere at any time, and storage capacities to handle massive amounts of data modern businesses are expected to manage. It is easy to get starry-eyed about the potentials of this technology, especially when cloud computing has become so wildly popular.

Public clouds pose several risks that may make this technology inappropriate for businesses. Cloud services are amazing, but they are not a cure-all for improving business efficiency and productivity.

The Hidden Risks of Cloud Solutions

Cloud solutions are known for reducing costs, improving accessibility, and allowing companies to perform data computing tasks beyond what their native current infrastructure allows.

However, with these advantages come risks which are sometimes not obvious or carefully considered.

1. Latency and server problems will impact business operations – Companies choose cloud-based services because outsourcing infrastructure is less of a headache. However, this also means downtime and latency are outside of a company’s control. This becomes more of a problem when a company shares space with other operations on a public cloud. Just like when someone ties up bandwidth by downloading massive files, other users on the public cloud can throttle accessibility for everyone. In addition, bandwidth restrictions can throttle access to the cloud, limiting accessibility and productivity.

2. Big data has big questions about ownership – Lack of visibility with cloud services is another major factor that companies should consider. This also includes where data resides once it has been put on the cloud and exactly who owns this data.

Most contracts from major vendors indicate that whoever uploads the data owns it. However, that will not stop vendors from locking companies into contracts and rendering them dependent on the services. It also does not mean that data created on the cloud will necessarily belong to the company and not the vendor.

3. Anticipating needs and Budgets is harder than it looks – Although companies choose cloud services because of scalability, scalability in the cloud is hard to understand.

Cloud service vendors enjoy large fee structures, costs of services, and what is or is not included at each price tier. Combine these factors with a miscalculation about what a company needs and many businesses end up paying for too much or end up paying for the wrong service.

4. Compliance Requirements can get Complicated – The healthcare industry, financial services, and other similar industries have strict compliance guidelines that they are required to follow. Using cloud infrastructure in these industries can become more trouble than it is worth if not addressed correctly. A shift in the cloud infrastructure may cause a company to become noncompliant without realizing it. Therefore, companies will need to implement new compliance measures that were not previously thought of before.

Companies can also have compliance issues when they only think about the cloud compliance. In order to stay compliant, organizations must not only maintain compliance on any device used to access the cloud resource.

Concealed Costs

The other major risk associated with cloud services involves unexpected costs. Businesses are sometimes hit with unexpectedly large bills because they do not understand what they are purchasing or what their business truly needs. These unexpected bills can occur:

  • During egress from the cloud.
  • By signing up for “free” services that are, in fact, trials.
  • Through paying for potential capacity, not actual capacity.
  • By requesting services or features which cost extra.
  • As a result of bugs or glitches, which spike server traffic.
  • From rogue cloud resource usage by employees.

The true cost of cloud computing is rarely visible unless focused planning and proper governance occur. Avoid these costs through:

  • Turning services off when they are not being used.
  • Using cloud computing strategically, and not for everything.
  • Restricting access to cloud solutions on a need-to basis.

Benefits of Keeping Data Private

It may be more appropriate from a business standpoint to build dedicated infrastructure rather than relying on a public cloud or cloud service. Some of these business needs may include:

1. Control of Data – Organizations such as those handling personal health insurance need to retain full control of data storage, transmission, and use.

2. Resource Dedication – Dedicated cloud computing capabilities do not suffer from downtime or latency problems caused by neighbors on the cloud.

3. Cost Visibility – Operating private infrastructure prevents expensive mishaps such as paying for unanticipated — but needed — equipment, purchasing too much storage, or requesting support that is not included in the purchased package.

4. Better CustomizationCustomization often drives up the cost of cloud computing services. Organizations requiring customized cloud solutions may consider looking into building their own.

Do Not Stay Foggy About Cloud Solutions

Cloud solutions are a powerful, flexible way to bring new capabilities to a business and there are many instances where such technology is appropriate. However, the hype around cloud infrastructure sometimes blinds users to the risks associated, especially the concealed costs.

Avoid getting caught off guard with an unmanageable bill by taking the time to understand the nature of cloud infrastructure and the services it offers. Contact an expert at RJ Young today to learn what is right for your organization.

In today’s modern business world, technology plays a greater role than ever before. Employees are more connected, new devices are regularly introduced, and efficiency is improving. However, with new technology, there can be new needs and new risks to come. As a result, many businesses find it challenging to balance their wishes to improve technology implementation with the required investment of time and manpower.

This is where Managed IT Services can help a business bridge the gap.

What Are Managed IT Services?

Simply put, a Managed IT Service provider is a company that is responsible for the functionality of a business’s IT services and equipment. They maintain updated technology, while managing unpredictable conditions and tight budgets to help support the business’s needs.

Business IT services can be complicated. Often, existing internal IT staff struggle to keep up with the growing needs of businesses. As a result, companies are faced with the prospect of bringing in additional staff or looking for other solutions. Managed IT services is usually the obvious answer for budget-conscious businesses that want to ensure they have the best IT support available at all times.

Managed IT providers can address a wide range of IT needs including cybersecurity, helpdesk support, networking support, antimalware, email filtering, backup and disaster recovery, and more. Best of all, these services can be budgeted easily for businesses as they pay monthly or annually to retain the services of a managed IT provider. This makes projecting costs much simpler when compared with IT providers that charge on a per incident basis.

3 Benefits of Managed IT Services

So, what are the benefits of Managed IT Services and why should businesses consider hiring a managed services provider?

1. Greater Cost Control

Managed IT Services allow businesses to take greater control over IT costs. Instead of hiring new staff or enlisting the support of third-party IT support on a per incident basis, businesses can budget for the fixed monthly fees associated with Managed IT Services. Costs become less variable and businesses can then dedicate funds to other areas of the business without worrying about skyrocketing IT costs due to unexpected incidents.

The services delivered and managed by providers can also help reduce costs as a result of IT incidents. When businesses have the right tools and protections implemented, they can avoid some of the devastating costs associated with inadequate cybersecurity.

2. Room to Grow

When a small business operation quickly grows, so do their IT needs. The additional costs of hiring new IT staff can prove to be prohibitive for many businesses that are focused on growth. As an example, according to Indeed, the average IT professional in the United States earns more than $50,000 per year. Specialized IT staff can demand a salary much higher than that. Furthermore, finding and hiring these employees can be a challenge as they are in high demand. Fortunately, these considerations are not something with which growing businesses need to be concerned.

Managed service providers already have the necessary trained staff. As a business grows, their managed service provider can deliver the services required to meet their ever-changing needs. Even complex IT needs can be addressed by managed service providers, as they keep a range of skilled professionals on their staffs.

3. Better Service Made Simple

Businesses that do not use a managed service provider often have a wide range of vendors they may contact for various needs including printer supplies or software support. This can create confusion and frustration. Relying on one Managed IT Service provider ensures that the process is much simpler. All needs are processed through one centralized portal.

The same goes for managed IT support. Instead of trying to contact the right vendor for support, a helpdesk can be available for employees to reach out to in the event that they need help with their devices or programs. Utilizing just a single touchpoint, users will have no question about who to turn to in the event of an issue or a challenge.

Focus on Business, Leave IT to the Experts

Ultimately, business IT services should be in place to help businesses focus on what they do best rather than worrying about managing vendors or IT needs. Cybersecurity needs, networking needs, helpdesk support, and malware protection can all be delivered with one single service provider.

RJ Young is your one-stop shop to get exactly what you need when you need it, with no unpleasant surprises about functionality or cost. They can lighten the burden by providing end-user support with a phone call or click of a button. RJ Young can also assist your business with larger IT projects, create unique business solutions, and offer consulting services or staff augmentation to help you achieve your goals.

To learn more about Managed IT Services and the cost benefits of choosing a managed services provider, please contact RJ Young.