A paperless future, a myth or reality? The true story

Illustration of 3D printing. Created by Marcus Moloko

Predictions of a paperless future for homes and offices have been proven wrong, as the years leading up to 2023 have seen an increase in paper usage, rather than paper being done away with.

According to Timothy Thomas, country manager at Epson South Africa, the printing industry is expected to undergo significant change in 2024, driven by advancements in technology, the importance of sustainability, and changing consumer preferences.

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“Businesses that want to stay competitive and meet sustainability targets will need to embrace these trends. Additionally, with a rise in remote and hybrid work, people will be searching for more efficient and convenient ways to remain productive.”

Print is arguably resilient and an apparently indispensable part of everyday life and business. Print.

Yes, there are printers to be sold, while paper also makes a solid stance forward, but looking at the array of devices with smart integrated features likely to contribute to prints momentum in 2024, we see why Thomas and the Epson team are so confident.

Smart printers equiped with IoT capabilities such as cloud services make remote monitoring easier and more efficient.  As hybrid work environments become more common across the business landscape so will smart printers and Epson’s smart panel app allows users to control their printers from their smartphones.

Consumers are becoming more conscious of the impact their purchasing decisions have on the environment, and sustainability will undoubtedly become a key driver for the print industry in this year.

“Climate change is a reality we are already seeing, and with that, the print landscape has shifted dramatically. Businesses are feeling the pressure to embrace sustainable practices and reduce commercial carbon footprints. Home printer users are equally vigilant about their contributions to the environment,” says Thomas

He adds: “The coming year will see an even greater emphasis on green printing practices across the business and consumer spheres because of this.”

There is a demand for more efficient and sustainable printing on the rise, which will likely lead to multifunctional technology companies such as Epson diversifying their offerings to meet expectations.

We see that as comforting. A team ready to change with the times while considering how to do things slightly better.

Smaller more compact multi-function printers such as the Espson EcoTank range are making a mark with consumers, but to survive, printer companies must level up their offerings.

According to Thomas, more businesses are expected to reconsider their current printer fleets, and options for more sustainable, energy-efficient, and technologically advanced equipment.

This may mean we are likely to see 3D printing technology and its adoption become more prevalent this year across a number of sectors, from healthcare to automotive.

Also read: Labelling AI-generated images, the catch-up strategy and the reason


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