There is an unprecedented level of innovation today in the area of mobile devices, notably Smart Phones (that are, in reality, highly sophisticated "pocket computers"), and tablet devices, the adoption of which by consumers and corporate users continues to accelerate. Driven by such devices and other major forces of change in the IT industry, the computing model continues to shift from local data and processing on the desktop to such devices, combined with shared processing and data in the Cloud.
With the OS and data in the Cloud, it becomes necessary to print in, and to, the Cloud. Recent developments from Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and in this area, which include alliances between these companies, have moved the infrastructure for printing in the Cloud forward, and created opportunities for software developers and equipment manufacturers, as well as for service providers. In addition, these capabilities provide significant "openness" and developer support, which means that smaller companies than those mentioned above will also be free and even incentivized, to innovate in this area as well. Finally, content creators, including large publishers and media companies, game creators and many other types of companies, are rushing to participate in this new ecosystem. As a result, what only about one year ago was strictly a theoretical discussion has today become quite practical. And sophistication of capabilities will grow dramatically in a short period of time.
This paper will begin with a brief explanation of Cloud Computing, and then inventory and compare the printing capabilities of the various systems, describe the capabilities available and touch on the level of effort required to develop solutions, discuss alliances and interoperability, provide some examples of their use, and look forward a bit into what we can expect in the future.