New printing system experiences difficulties

By Jaime Hillegonds

(Illustration by Haley Wyatt)

(Illustration by Haley Wyatt)

The new printing system from Ricoh is lagging in set-up due to miscommunication between the  information and technology  services department and Ricoh, the company providing the new printing service.

“[The system] didn’t really fit the workflow I wanted for students,” Adam Skiles, director of information and technology services department, said. “I wanted students to not have it any different than if they would go home and click ‘file,’ ‘print.’ The method (Ricoh was) looking to push to students was different than that. It wasn’t as user-friendly.”

The problem is the most apparent in student owned computers, laptops and printers, Skiles said. The system requires a user account that students’ own devices do not have, so students are not able to send print jobs to printers.

“The main miscommunication between the vendor and the IT services department is they didn’t understand that students weren’t going to already have those user accounts,” Skiles said.

To correct this issue, Ricoh is providing the university with a special software that will be able to be installed on students’ computers, allowing them to connect with the printers by logging in with their student identification numbers. These user accounts require additional licensing.

Ricoh is also offering a complete upgrade to the system the university currently has. This upgrade includes clients, which are software applications that will allow access to the user accounts, for these additional user accounts at no added cost , while the current system requires the university to purchase these clients individually.

“What they want us to do is to upgrade our system so that they’re not trying to have to work out how to pay for these additional clients that you have to pay for on the older version,” Skiles said. “They’re trying to help themselves.”

Upgrading would require more waiting time until the printing system could be fully used. It also may add more issues on top of the issues already present, Skiles said.

“I’m hoping that we can move things forward quickly,” he said. “If we’re pigeon-holed into the upgrade, it is going to be a little bit longer than we would like.”

Currently, Ricoh is working on getting approval for a Gift-in-Kind donation to provide money for the additional licensing that is needed.

“During [a] discussion with Ricoh, I was told we should have an answer within the next couple of days,” Skiles said. “Once we have the licenses we need, we can begin to provide the needed solution to allow students to print from their personal notebook or desktop system.”

Students currently are able to scan and photocopy with no issues, and they can print in any of the labs on campus without charge, Skiles said.

Once the system is working correctly, the plan is for students to be able to print from any computer on campus using their ID cards.

The system will have one printer that all students will be able to connect with. Once the print job has been sent to this printer, students will be able to go to any printer on campus, swipe their ID card and pull up their sent print jobs.

“When the students go to print, their username and password is going to be tied to that ID card, and they can walk to any machine and slide their card so the system knows who they are,” Skiles said. “The students from there will be able to see all of their print jobs and then choose which ones they want to print.”

“[The system] would be nice, if it worked,” junior Maggie Gilliam said .

Students, given $40 each year for printing, can print black and white pages for four cents a side and color pages for seven cents a side. If money on an account runs out, students can add money to the account.

“The students aren’t implementing the full cost for the printing,” Skiles said. “[Charging for printing] is just a way to help us a little bit, while we provide a service.”

While the new system’s contract is larger than the contract the university had before, it is not more expensive, Skiles said.

“Overall costs are mostly because of adding equipment, not because they’re charging us more,” he said.


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