The current pandemic has forced virtually every organization on the planet to transform their approaches to workplace productivity. As a vaccine starts to become a reality, many of the world’s leading companies are already focused on back-to-office strategies and long-term planning for safer on-site operations.

One of the most important catalysts in this back-to-the-office movement will be ensuring touch-free secure print management through contactless Bluetooth®-enabled readers, like BLE authentication, or via mobile authentication options.

According to one study, more than one trillion pages are printed every year in U.S. offices. Meanwhile, in 2019 alone, over 262 million mobile devices shipped throughout North America. This fusion of mobile access and printer reliance offers new possibilities in security, safety and productivity in the post-COVID-19 workplace.


Security is the top priority

Whether it’s a traditional credential or a personal smartphone, the number-one role of any authentication device is to deliver uncompromising security. Security is a huge challenge in office printing applications, whether for small business, a global OEM or an international bank. As companies embrace mobility, the expectation is that smartphones can offer a higher level of security wherever they are used, particularly because the devices are multifactor ready.

“Our mobile readers are not only enabled with Bluetooth Low Energy technology, but they’re being held to a higher standard of secure access,” notes Mike McLeod, rf IDEAS, Global Account Manager. “It goes beyond securing access to network-connected devices. It’s the Internet of Things. It could be anything that has access to the cloud.”

A key advantage of a contactless office is that there are no passwords or PINs to be stolen, guessed or hacked. Each smart card or smartphone offers a unique solution with ID data that can be encrypted for additional security beyond a slip of paper with a password on it. McLeod notes that encryption keys in these devices can also be flexible, so different users can easily have different access levels.

“For instance, the key that is required to access the bank vaults should not be the same key that's required to access something simple like secure print,” he says. “There are higher levels of security within any organization. And global security teams need to balance and measure the security risk.”

Mobile technologies afford simple, straightforward issuance of credentials via a secure portal. This allows corporate security, HR or IT personnel to easily push out access privileges to multi-function printers without physical contact with workers or having to mail credentials. For global corporations, this remote management capability is indispensable, reducing labor and overall costs of managing security.


Promoting safety in every print job

As employees begin safely returning to the office after COVID-19, personal protection will be a key priority for each individual. According to one study, 73 percent of U.S. employees say their workplace could pose a risk to their personal health and safety.1

Printer manufacturers are busily addressing user concerns with solutions including plastic, antiseptic panels that fit over buttons and temperature gauges that assess the health of the users.

Touchless printing technologies, however, are the most logical and direct approach to countering a surface-borne virus. Bluetooth-enabled mobile readers that allow users to pull print jobs without ever touching a panel or screen ensure safety and provide user peace of mind.

In fact, rf IDEAS is currently helping two multinational corporations deploy more than 10,000 WAVE ID® Mobile readers to employees worldwide in an effort to maximize workplace safety as employees return after the long hiatus.

In addition, personal smartphones can do more than provide touch-free secure print capabilities. The mobile readers, including a wide range of WAVE ID® Mobile products featuring Bluetooth Low Energy technology, actually enable enterprises to conduct contact tracing by capturing the credentials of the employees or contractors using the specific MFP printers. Any possible workplace outbreaks can be quickly and systematically contained by understanding who was in the specific vicinity and could’ve potentially been exposed.

As workers return to the workplace after a long hiatus, touchless printing solutions offer both the security and safety they need for total peace of mind and maximum productivity. Learn more about touch free printing solutions for both smart cards and smartphones from the experts at rf IDEAS. Contact us today or reach out to your rf IDEAS representative for more information.