I’ve been living in Manchester for about 3 weeks now and there are some things that make me grasp when I found it, one of them is how the printing system in University of Manchester works (One of my friend told me that his university in Sweden use the same system, maybe there are some other universities that use this method too)
As someone who has an interest in technology and how they can help our lives, I found that the solution provided by the IT Department of University of Manchester is awesome, because the way it works is so easy and it solves several problems that occurs before. Pardon me if it looks like a little bit overwhelming here, but I was so excited when I knew how it works, so yeah.
There are several issues about the printing system that are explained by one of the IT Department staff – his presentation was great; it wasn’t a boring one – during the induction week.
The first issue is the long queue at the printing machine. I’m sure you must’ve experienced this kind of thing. When you were in hurry and there were lot of people queueing for the printer. You couldn’t go anywhere else because you already chose that particular printer to do the job. It sucks.
The second issue he told us is there were a lot of printed paper which were not taken by the owner because of various reasons, mostly because they had updated the document and printed it again, so they only took the right one and left the old printed document behind. They did it because once they clicked the print button, they couldn’t undo it. It had already been printed. And it was a waste of paper..and also money..because you know..you have to pay for the printing.
The third issue that he didn’t told us but I just think of is not only the queueing on the printer, but on the computer as well, if there are just so many computers we can use. But even if there is no queue, you still need to find an unused the computer, open your mail/connect your flash drive, open the document, and print it. Imagine if you are in hurry when 1 minute is very valuable, you will be hoping that you don’t have to do these things.
Thus, what is the solution offered by the IT Department of the University of Manchester? It’s a cloud printing system, where you can print your document from the comfort of your home and get the document just at any printer around the campus. Awesome!
So, how does it work in practice?
1. Send the document using your own computer or the campus’ computer
There are 3 available options that you can choose to print your document:
- Use the campus’ desktop: You need to login to the desktop by using your university account, otherwise, the printed document will not connect to your account so it won’t show up at the printer. If the previous user hasn’t log-off, you need to log it off before log in using your own account.
- Upload the document to mobileprint.manchester.ac.uk (black and white printing) or mobileprintcolour.manchester.ac.uk (colour printing)
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (black and white printing) email@example.com (colour printing) with your document as the attachment. You will be asked to register yourself after sending the first email.
2. Go to the nearest printer
or just go on any printer that you like: There are lot of printer around the university, you can choose any of them.
3. Tap your student card
There is a space at the printer where you need to tap your student card to use the printer
Choose the pull print option and you will see the document that you have sent to the printer, select the document that you want to print, and click the print button. Otherwise you can delete the document that you don’t want to print.
5. Additional notes
Before printing the document, you are be able to know how much the document printing will cost you, simply choose the document and click the info button.
About the payment system, you have your credit stored on the student card, and you can top up the balance at My Manchester. My Manchester is the student’s information system of the University of Manchester that provides you with almost everything that you need as a student, from the class schedule, course material, consultation, and many other things.
Overall, I think this printing mechanism a great example of Innovation by the University of Manchester’s IT Department. They have all the technologies (student card, printer, cloud server) available and they find a way to integrate all of them to generate a better process. After all, innovation isn’t just about generating a new product, it’s also about the process.