Monday, February 27, 2012

Not Your Average "Desktop Printer"

Photo taken by Jeremiah Owyang

Virgin Airlines now has a digital check-in kiosk at the SFO.

What is truly interesting about this new installment is that the white table beneath the touch screens is actually a printer...

In a world where the paperless office is still considered by some to be the future and ultimate fate of the office imaging industry, I find this but one of many telling oppositions to such an idea.

As time moves on and the digital world continues to grow through the plethora of new technologies (namely mobile devices, tablets and similar new age toys) I find it interesting that paper documents persist despite the growing realization that they are truly becoming unnecessary.

I have postulated for some time now that the paperless office is a myth for the simple fact that human beings truly have an intense and emotional attachment to the printed page, especially those of which come from the office culture.

While we are seeing eBook sales surpassing those of "old school" books and many newspapers are either becoming relics of the past or digitizing their content and reducing their printed pages, we find that in the office space emails, invoices, bills, and etc. continue to pile up.

Why is this? I can not help but to assume having a physical document in your hand has some subconscious value to us as human beings. Today words on a screen are available at lightning speeds and can be sent over vast distances but when the power goes out...

You have nothing unless you have the printed page.

In a world where the concept of "the end of days" or the looming possibility of an apocalypse driven by religious deities or the continual destruction of the earth by our own hands is a constant and prevalent idea in the minds of many, I often wonder...

Should a truly earth shattering event steal electricity and technology from you and your business for "x" amount of time, what good will "the cloud" be to you then?

Perhaps those folks who still have a back room full of filing cabinets documenting years of information and data relevant to their business are not so crazy after all.

Perhaps someday in the future the type writer will once again be at the head of the game and the only tablet or pad or you will be using is one made of paper...

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