In the past, if your office printer needed servicing, a technician would come on site to fix the problem. But that isn’t always necessary these days, thanks to advances around remote monitoring and predictive analytics.

Remote monitoring is a software capability that lets service providers remotely and proactively monitor networks and devices on these networks—including printers and MFPs. With this tool, providers can track printer status in real time. Should an issue arise, they can detect and address it promptly.

Quick resolution of problems can be achieved in a number of ways. For instance, the provider can conduct remote diagnostics (e.g., a firmware update) to virtually correct an issue. Another option is providing step-by-step instructions to the customer—whether it is over the phone, instant message, or email.

And even if an on-site technician is needed, remote detection of the problem can minimize the amount of time associated with dispatch. The provider immediately becomes aware of the issue, removing the need for the client to contact the provider.

Besides proper device operation, common uses of remote monitoring including tracking print volumes as well as toner/ink levels. Tracking print volumes allows for accurate billing, while monitoring consumables levels helps ensure the client never runs out of toner or ink.

In fact, some providers may automatically ship supplies when they have reached a certain level.

Closely tied to remote monitoring is predictive analytics. Predictive analytics is the practice of extracting information from existing data sets to determine patterns and predict future outcomes. This data can come from remote monitoring as well as other device management tools monitoring the print infrastructure.

Not only can predictive analytics help predict upcoming problems, but in some cases it can help prevent these problems. Through advanced reporting and analytics capabilities, service providers can gain deep insight into the kinds of issues that are arising, their frequency, and their cause.

They can then use this knowledge to make smart decisions that keep the problems from happening again. As an example, maintenance history records and operational status data may indicate that a particular part should be replaced at a specific interval of time for proper functioning.

This proactive approach to servicing can help maximize device uptime, boosting organizational productivity.

Companies with printers and MFPs are encouraged to educate themselves about the remote monitoring and predictive analytics capabilities of their technology service provider. Implementation of these services can help reduce device downtime through faster detection and resolution of problems. And increased device uptime means better productivity as well as employee and customer satisfaction.

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