This year has been a good one for the printing industry – lots of new and advanced technology plus some really outstanding products that we covered in a recent blog post. At Toner Giant, we can’t wait to see what 2014 will bring and what kind of printers will find their way into our shop!
So to give you an idea of what to expect and which products you might consider investing in, here’s an overview of what we predict to be big in 2014.
We’ve covered 3D printing in a few posts this year but unfortunately, the machines are quite costly and therefore more likely to be used by big corporations such as car manufacturers than by smaller businesses. But, guess what, HP are set to enter the 3D printing market, which is a further indication of this printing sector’s staying power.
HP have yet to announce what kind of 3D printers they’ll be offering but with the company being one of the big hitters in regards to personal 2D printers, we are hoping that the range will include products that are suitable for home or small-scale use. Other companies will probably follow suit and with competition on the market, prices will presumably drop and 3D printing will become much more mainstream and hence a stable feature of smaller businesses’ offerings. Once more details are released, you will read it here first, so stay tuned!
This is an interesting one! We first saw this implemented at a music festival this year, where people could customise t-shirts by adding pictures, slogans etc. and getting the design instantly printed onto the shirts. This is a great example of instant personalisation of otherwise existing merchandise and with two pop-up stores in London in the build up to Christmas with a similar offering, it seems to be a trend that’s catching on.
Image courtesy of Fespa
We are, of course, used to instant photo printers at counters in shops but to see the textile industry making use of this technology is an indication of the ever-growing demand for personalisation and variation of physical objects. Therefore we wouldn’t be surprised to see other industries picking up on this and we think that this could be something that even smaller businesses can make use of and incorporate it into their market strategy.
Advanced Wireless Technology
We’ve written extensively about Cloud, Pictbridge and NFC this year and for 2014, we expect wireless technology to expand massively and for new printers to be designed to make full use of these features as standard.
We wouldn’t go so far as to say that wired printers will become extinct but we really like the ‘freedom’ that wireless printers give you in that the inbuilt technology enables you to print from anywhere and anytime.
When wireless printers first came on the market, they tended to be mono-function machines, i.e. only allowing you to print. Recent releases showed a trend towards multi-functional printers such as the HP Envy 120.
This wifi machine enables you to print documents as well as photo-lab quality pictures, scan and copy – oh, and it charges your iPhone as well! Inbuilt technology includes Airprint and its gesture-enabled touchscreen makes it really easy to use.
So for 2014 we predict that there will be more of these nifty little things that make life easier by being highly accessible, extremely versatile, compact in size, uncompromising in quality, yet affordable.
The usability of mobile and portable printers has advanced a lot during 2013 and we expect the improvements made in regards to versatility and print quality to continue. Mobile or portable printers tended to be a bit flimsy, difficult to use and the prints you obtained could be sub-standard. The latest models we’ve seen or heard about, however look pretty solid to us, despite their ever-shrinking frame. One might think that such compact printers wouldn’t be able to offer the features and different settings that we all like in normal office printers, although as technology improves, this is no longer the case.
We also expect further improvements (and maybe also some innovations) in regards to printer connectivity. Considering the widespread use of smartphones and tablets and people needing to access printers from anywhere in the world, the printing industry is investing in meeting such demands and hence moving away from closed-network connectivity to smart contact-less accessibility. Therefore, we’re excited to see that the technology that enables mobile printing is getting more secure and also much easier to use.
What do you make of our predictions for 2014? Do you find your business well equipped to meet your customers’ expectations or will you be investing in some new printing products to keep up with the demands of the market? Let us know your thoughts below.
Finally, from all of us at Toner Giant: Happy Christmas! We wish you a great time with your friends and families and are looking forward to your custom next year!