In March, University Information Services implemented a pilot printing program on the second floor of Lauinger Library that allows students to print documents from their phones for free. The pilot, if successful, will be executed at all print stations on campus to augment the printing environment on campus by making it more mobile-friendly.
According to Jennifer Smith, coordinator of communications, outreach and programming at the library, UIS chose the location because of the popularity of the second floor as a printing location.
“The library supports the university’s efforts to find an affordable, convenient [and] sustainable solution for printing, including mobile printing,” Smith wrote in an email. “The current initiative offering free printing on the second floor of Lauinger is a temporary pilot program by UIS and Xerox to test the mobile printing technology. They chose Lauinger as the site given the high volume of printing done here.”
In order to utilize the system, students must download the Xerox Print Portal app, which allows any mobile user to send documents wirelessly for printing. UIS Mobile Program Manager Lee Emmert said that feedback from the pilot program will help UIS implement it across campus by the fall.
“Mobile print is part of our larger deployment of a modernized print program at Georgetown, something that we’re working on this summer,” Emmert said. “The goal behind the mobile print pilot in Lauinger is to collect student feedback about the mobile print environment to see what students think, to identify areas where we could make improvements and ultimately to ensure that what we deployed this summer for next fall is a solution that students really want and they can use.”
The partnership with Xerox stems from a desire to increase print efficiency and quality, according to Emmert.
“Partnering with Xerox is something that we’re doing, not just for student print, but also for faculty and staff print,” Emmert said. “The goal there is to modernize the print environment at Georgetown for all and to bring more efficiency to our print environment.”
Emmert said that students have sent UIS positive and constructive feedback.
“We’ve received a lot of feedback, and generally, almost overwhelmingly, positive feedback,” Emmert said. “An email that comes to mind is from one student who is a senior in the College, and he wrote that he wished that this mobile print solution was available four years ago when he first started at Georgetown, because he would have used it all the time.”
While the trial is free and covered by UIS, once implemented campus wide in the fall, the service will charge fees directly to the student’s phone through the app. Rates will remain at 10 cents per page.
Christina Ling (MSB ’15) works in the McDonough School of Business Technology Center and said that she plans to use the system in the future.
“I think it’s a great idea, especially because nowadays, I think around 65 percent of people use smartphones. I personally use my iPhone more than I use my laptop, and being able to integrate mobile devices would be really useful and convenient for much of the student body,” she said.
According to Ling, the new system may pose problems for students working in the technology center, since changing operating systems could make installation difficult.
“If the mobile print system were to be implemented in the business school, I actually think it may make work for the employees at the tech center more burdensome because we’d also have to help install this printing system onto smartphones on top of installing the software onto laptops,” Ling said. “Technology is very fast-paced and changing with new developments and operating systems, there may not necessarily be a quick fix to make sure that the software works with each new technological development.”
Despite this, Emmert said that he hopes that the implementation of mobile printing, as well as the addition of more print stations, will make Georgetown a more mobile-friendly, efficient campus.
“We’re hoping to provide more convenient print options for students, to make it easier to print and to make it more widely available,” Emmert said. “As far as the larger student print project, we’re looking to bring print into spaces where students want to be able to print. We are actually upgrading all of the printers in the existing lab spaces on the main campus to new printers, and we’re also talking about adding some new spaces.”