Epson’s eco-conscious printers and presence across Scotland win Epson a place on the Scottish Procurement Framework - helping the environment and also assisting firms by reducing energy bills.

 

Today, Charlie de la Haye, Communications Manager at Epson, explains how the management of every-day technology needs to be given greater attention than ever owing to the increasingly vital role it plays

HeraldScotland:

For the first time ever, Epson’s heat-free print solutions are now available to Scottish Public Sector through the National Framework for Managed Print Solutions.  The Public Sector can procure Epson MPS solutions, delivered by one of the approved Epson subcontractors, including Active Office, Carbon Group, Highland Copiers and Metrik Solutions.

Epson’s heat-free inkjet printers consume up to 83% less energy than laser printers and use up to 96%1 fewer consumables. A worldwide switch from laser to inkjet printers by 2025 could reduce energy emissions within global printer usage by 52.6%1, which aptly aligns Epson’s inkjet proposition with the Scottish Government’s goal to reach net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045.

There are about 94.35 million printers sold globally every year[i], not to mention scanners, projectors and other types of common office technology. The sheer scale of the market is vast. We nearly all have access to at least one of these at home, work or in an educational setting.

They’ve become part of the fabric of our lives, and now there are factors bringing them to our attention like never before. Energy costs are spiralling, the need for sustainability is growing, regulations are tightening, and expectations are increasing from workers, learners, patients and citizens. 

As a result, what we often refer to as “IT peripherals,” are no longer peripheral at all. They’re crucial. Which is why getting their management right has never been more important.

The way a single printer works might not make much difference on its own, but multiply it by 94.35 million and it can make a dramatic difference.

HeraldScotland:

What challenges are bringing IT peripherals to the fore?

This begs the question, what’s going on? What’s changing to make these pieces of technology so much more important today? Epson underwent research to answer this and understand how the public sector can respond to some of its hidden yet significant ongoing challenges.

It surveyed over IT decision makers, users and influencers throughout Scottish education, healthcare and governmental departments, asking 40 questions to get to the bottom of what they think and how they need to respond to new developments. Here’s what the results showed.

Energy costs are through the roof – and printers can help

The first big issue is the cost of energy across the world. At the start of 2022 annual energy inflation hit 27%[ii] and it’s continued to rise. In fact, the World Bank says energy prices are now expected to increase by 50% on average throughout the year[iii]. Europe is feeling this most acutely, with UK electricity prices trebling in 12 months[iv].

The research showed that 79% of Scotland’s public sector workers want to reduce energy costs – a figure that has likely soared since the question was asked in light of higher and higher bills. Yet reducing energy use in IT is tough. Network, data centre and computer usage can be optimised, but there are few substantial savings on offer.

Which is why over two thirds of respondents (68%) say inkjet printers will help them meet their cost reduction goals. Research from the University of Cambridge shows that inkjet technology can be up to 90% more energy efficient than laser depending on the type of printer used[v].

That’s not a peripheral saving. Yet less than half of respondents (48%) own an inkjet rather than a laser printer[vi]. This must change if organisations are going to keep energy costs manageable.

Lack of training holds people back

Another reason IT managers need to take more note of peripherals is that users want better training. The research shows that 67% of Scotland’s public sector say there is a desire in their organisation to have a greater understanding of how to benefit more from technology they already have.

Supporting this, a further 57% say they need greater training on how to use the technology to the benefit of the organisation. And it seems many think they are behind, with nearly two thirds (62%) agreeing that their sector is playing catch-up in technology use compared to others.

Considering we’re surrounded by the likes of printers, scanners and projectors, it seems a wasted opportunity that we give them so little thought and don’t learn to use them to their full advantage.

IT managers and leaders need to understand the capabilities of their hardware and ensure it’s being used properly to maximise efficiency and productivity. If not, training is needed, and it will be welcomed.

Poor IT and processes are blighting parts of Scotland’s public sector

The third big theme that’s putting IT peripherals in the spotlight is the struggle seen within health and education. When it comes to classrooms, 62% of education workers questioned said it’s essential that teachers have access to a printer, yet just over half (54%) of teachers use printers in the classroom. Many are driven to using their own with 86% of Teachers admitting they have a printer at home they use for teaching needs.  

More widely in education, pressure is mounting for better technology provision. Nearly three quarters of respondents (66%) say students expect higher levels of technology use now compared to before, and most educators (71%) are looking at greater ways to collaborate and generate student engagement.

The sector needs to look at how it can best support students and teachers in the wake of hybrid and digital learning. And at a basic level, provide easy and official access to tools such as printers.

When it comes to healthcare, data privacy and efficiency are significant and worrying problems. Over half of healthcare respondents (59%) admit flaws in their processes have led to data and or document misplacement or loss during the last 12 months. While there are many factors that can cause data loss, nearly half of healthcare respondents (62%) state that moving to scanned, digitalised records will reduce the risk.

But data loss isn’t the only issue. On average, healthcare respondents personally lose nearly a day (seven hours) each month to poor IT that prevents them from doing their job. When healthcare systems across the globe are under such huge pressure, it’s vital that technology is fit for purpose.

The broad geographic coverage of Epson’s resellers means that Epson can offer Scotland’s Public Sector the same quality of service across all of Scotland, from the borders and central belt through to the highlands and islands.

The combination of a sustainable printing portfolio delivered by Epson’s resellers, all experts in their field and entrusted members of their local communities, is unique among other printer offerings available on the Scottish Procurement Framework.

In addition to MPS solutions, a comprehensive catalogue of Epson imaging technologies is also available to purchase as part of Epson’s placement on the Scottish Procurement Framework. This includes all Epson’s A4 and A3 printers, large format printers, label printers and its sheetfed and flatbed scanners. 

 

Action is needed

It’s clear that IT peripherals are more important than ever. Selected and used well they can reduce Scotland’s energy use, CO2 emissions and costs. And they can stop people from wasting hours in unproductive ways. But to achieve this we need better training and overall management of hardware to ensure it’s not letting down vital workers.

Leaders need to remember that minor changes across an entire organisation can make huge differences. In this context, peripherals are no longer peripheral. They’re central to solving some of the biggest challenges we face as a society.

It’s time we paid them greater attention.

 

[i] Epson.co.uk/heat-free-technology

[ii] Eurostat, Energy inflation rate continues upward hike, hits 27%  

[iii] World Bank, The energy shock could sap global growth for years

[iv] The Guardian, Ofgem raises energy price cap by 80% to £3,549 from October

[v] Epson, Shaping the future of printing with heat-free technology

[vi] IDC, Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker, Q3 2021 to Q2 2022 shipments, published Q2 2022