OBLAKOMAT: Printing Goes Public

PrintBox printing solutions

Some 1.8 billion printer cartridges are manufactured, used and discarded every year, creating an immense amount of expensive waste. Personal printing isn’t made any easier with printers at fixed locations (usually home or office) and limited to a handful of applications and file/data sources.

But the innovative new Printbox cloud printing kiosk is changing all of that – for the better. Cloud printing means now users can print from most anywhere, anytime, using their own file-source solutions: web, email, mobile, desktop, USB stick or their own cloud storage service. At the kiosk users simply set print preferences, choose method of payment, and print.

The Printbox cloud printing platform supports more than 300 file-types, enables users to print their files inside the Printbox kiosk network, and integrates different cloud storage services like Google Docs, MobileMe and Dropbox. Users can also print by logging into the Oblakomat (Cloudomat in English) system keeping their files in a dedicated cloud. At the kiosk, simply touch scrolling keeps things simple, and users can also print documents straight from the internet – like articles, tourist information, maps and more. And the Printbox Cloud takes security seriously. All documents are transferred over a secure HTTP connection. No history or documents are saved on any server without deliberate user action.

Scrolling down to the bottom line, however, the news gets even better: big savings and huge reductions in waste cartridges, toners, packaging and more. The price of a single black and white print is 3 cents or less per page; but at 10,000 printed pages per month a single printed sheet costs only 1 cent. Printing on a home printer with original cartridge, however, costs an average of 6 cents for 5% of A4 coverage and up to €1 for a full page graphic.

And the system works entirely without cartridges – one charge of ink and colours prints from 30,000 – 80,000 colour sheets. Change of ink is fast, and takes about five minutes. And because there are no cartridges the system is environmentally friendly.

The first PrintBox was introduced at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ljubljana where, at the Ljubljana University Incubator, Prof. Dr. Aleš Vahčič and Denis Benič developed their revolutionary idea. Some 100 – 200 stations in high-traffic areas are scheduled for install in the coming months, with four key target groups in mind: educational institutions, companies, the general public with print access in public places, and households. Further afield, the focus abroad is on Austria, Italy, Germany and Serbia; similarly the stations are already on their way to China, the USA and Russia.