Study: Internet, e-mail driving thirst for paper

New technologies are not bringing about the so-called “paperless office,” but are in fact driving corporate Canada’s thirst for more printing capabilities, according to findings presented in Toronto Monday.

Research conducted last August by the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business Consulting Group (IBCG) found that the Internet, e-mail and PDF documents are sending office workers to the printer on a routine basis. According to IBCG, Internet and e-mail creates 35 per cent additional demand for printing in small- and medium-sized organizations and 30 per cent in the enterprise.

When such electronic communication tools began to embed themselves into corporate life, it was believed by some that the need for paper-based correspondence and documentation would dwindle. But the paperless office just hasn’t materialized, said Michael Barr, senior consultant for IBCG.

“Because people have access to the Internet, the world of information is at their fingertips, literally. So if I’m a marketing manager and I need quick information on my competitor, that information is a few clicks away. If I need to take that information to a meeting, I hit control-P, and I’ve got the document and information I need.”

Barr was speaking at an Lexmark Canada Inc. press conference where the Richmond Hill, Ont.-based firm released three new printers.

Barr added that e-mail software packages such as Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook have the capability of creating electronic folders to organize information. However, “office workers like having the flexibility to print out their e-mails, either to store them in paper file folders or to bring with them to a meeting…So we’re seeing technology actually driving the demand and the printing output.”

The survey polled 66 end-users and office-equipment purse-string pullers in Toronto and London, Ont. Roughly 13 participants were surveyed from five vertical markets: manufacturing, retail, financial services, business services and government.

Lexmark used the findings as a springboard to introduce its latest additions. The Lexmark T630 offers sprint speeds up to 35 pages per minute (ppm) and retails for $1,189; the T632 goes up to 40ppm and comes in at $1,819; the T634, a high-speed workgroup laser printer, offers 45ppm and costs $2,429.

On the higher end, Lexmark released the X630, the X632 and X632e models. They range in price from $3,169 to $9,059 and vary in page per minute capability from 35ppm to 40ppm.

According to Lee Niven, product manager in the printing solutions and services division of Lexmark Canada, the firm differentiates itself in the market by concentrating solely on printing.

“Lexmark’s world is printing solutions. That’s all we do. Unlike other companies, we don’t try to be all things to all people,” he said.

Expanding on that thought, Andrew Kiss, Lexmark Canada’s manager of marketing and communication, told IT World Canada that, “there are many different competitors, and they all have different value propositions. Lexmark’s focus is printing solutions. The printer itself is merely a foundation from which we build a greater solution. That could be a multi-function device, or it could be one with finishing capabilities.”

The new products are available immediately. For more information, visit