Will we be able to live without a printer one day?

Since the printing press was invented in 1450 by Johannes Gutenberg, humans have been living with a form of mechanization in the printing process for the past 600 years.  Fast forward to the boom of the personal computing industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the attendant boom in the office and then the home printing sector, and a vast majority of workers and families have been living with an automated personal printing technology for the past 40 years. 

This revolution in printing technology has touched all of us in different special ways.  We are now able to print those special photos at a click of a button. Long gone are the days of walking to the local printing shop as the only option to get our documents printed out.  Even our kids are able to print off their essays in the convenience of the home. 

But as technology continues to evolve some “experts” are of the opinion (see this link from 2014 for the expert view) that we might soon see that death knell of the printer as we currently know it.  These views are informed by the current trend of technology with the development of more affordable personal computing devices like tablets (some tablets are available for as low as $30).  Also influencing these views is the rise in cloud storage technologies such as Dropbox and One drive that allow you to access any document from any computer and give seemingly unlimited storage.  Combined with this is the steady decrease in price and availability of cheap data connections.

And basing their analysis on these trends, the “experts” are of the opinion that with the ability to easily look up any document or pictures when want to,  there will soon be no need (or little need) to print out any document, so we will no longer need the printer.

I disagree with this conjecture. At least not in the short to medium term will the need for printers to be obviated. What these experts have not put into consideration is that it takes a long time to change human behaviour.  And the current generation of the human workforce to a large degree still prefer the touch, ease, availability, and convenience of a paper document for really important work. 

And this is not including industries where there are regulations that require printed backup for all digital documents that will still make a printer necessary.  Furthermore, an often overlooked fact is modern IT and computing devices depend on the availability of power. A simple example is if the power goes down at the cloud storage service, you will no longer have access to your documents online, but your printed documents that you have with you will still be usable. 

For these reasons, I say the printer is still very much a relevant technology. And if you want to buy a printer in Canada, you should get them online at 123ink.ca at very affordable prices. 

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