ThinPrint Optimizes Cloud Printing Package for Windows Server

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-09-28
 
 
 

Wouldn't it be great to be able to obtain a print copy of a document, on demand, from wherever you may be located-and quickly?

This is now possible. Now that bandwidths can handle the traffic, the management software is ready to go and network printers are becoming more available, the market for cloud-based document printing services is beginning to heat up.

Hewlett-Packard made news last spring when it launched its ePrint network in a partnership with the Hilton hotel chain, FedEx Office and RIM.

Using ePrint, a person with a connected handheld device-at this time, only RIM BlackBerrys can do this-can search for the nearest connected printer wherever it may be located, enter a security code, go to the printer and obtain the printout on demand in a matter of minutes.

The first locations for these publicly available printers are at the 1,800 FedEx Office locations and Hilton-related hotels (Hampton Inns, DoubleTrees and several other brands). HP is working on making more printers available within a 1-mile radius of any given location inside a city.

But that service at this time is limited only to people with BlackBerrys and to people in cities. What about everybody else?

That's exactly what ThinPrint-which made its early reputation in providing printing options for Microsoft Server Terminal environments and for solving Citrix network printing problems-is doing.

ThinPrint is essentially providing a mobile printing network of its own for use by anybody with a connected handheld or laptop device. The company two weeks ago announced its .print RDP Engine for Windows Server 2008 R2, which enables printing via RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) connections.

Using the .print RDP Engine, local printers in home offices-specifically, those with Internet addresses-are automatically integrated into a company's IT environment, so they can be activated from mobile devices.

"What we're providing is the ability for anybody to print a document from any device to any printer on any network," ThinPrint CEO and President Henning Volkmer told eWEEK. "Using ThinPrint, the correct printer is always automatically made available to employees in their session over remote access, no matter if they are in a home, branch or headquarters office."

Searches the Net for available printers

The software searches via the Internet for an available printer, wherever it may be, locks into it, sends the document and tells the printer to print it.

Wouldn't this become an irritant to people in offices-to have an outsider use their printer without permission?

"Yes, that will happen in some cases," Volkmer said. "This is a disruptive technology. Things are changing. People are going to have to get used to these kinds of advancements."

ThinPrint's software is driver-free and simple to install and use, Volkmer said. "This makes it possible to use 32-bit printers in 64-bit networks, which lowers operating costs and administration effort," Volkmer said.

The RDP Engine is plug-and-play software and can be used with Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Small Business Server, Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 SP1.

ThinPrint also uses its own brand of compression to shrink down print jobs to about 2 percent of their original size, so they can move through networks fast and more efficiently-even when utilizing slower ISDN or DSL networks, Volkmer said.

ThinPrint's RDP Engine is available at about 500 ThinPrint channel partners worldwide. The price per image, including update services, is $1,065 for the 32-bit version and $1,280 for the 64-bit version.

ThinPrint has made a free demo available.

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