Product Marketing Manager
Xerox Indirect Channels Business Group

The words “Office Assistant” will most likely conjure up memories of the dancing paperclip from Microsoft’s early Operating Systems (OS). This character was the Jar Jar Binks of OS features that people lamented since its introduction and it was quickly disabled. Ascribing a personality to inanimate objects certainly isn’t anything new, but it is telling of how technology continues to evolve and automate what was once a human task. Let’s look at printing.

It is believed we started printing over 5000 years ago with the use of round cylinders pressed into clay tablets and it’s been evolving ever since. Through its many different forms including movable type, lithography, flexography, Dye-sublimation, and others, the automation of each different form has also evolved. Each step along the way, the machine continues to take on more responsibility, and as the story goes, people become more productive.

Fast-forward to today, even the average laser printer or multifunction printer (MFP) has taken over many of the time consuming tasks in the office. Printers and MFPs still require some human interaction (we’re working on that) but no longer do we have to stand at the fax machine to hit redial as we wait for a fax to go through while worrying about when the roll of paper inside was going to run out. The office printers of today, like our newly announced Xerox Phaser 3320, and WorkCentre 3315/3325 black-and-white MFPs, are more affordable, reliable, and more compact than ever…and they also do more than ever.

With today’s technology and affordable price points, it’s easier for even the smallest businesses to minimize time spent on simple tasks. For less than a six-month supply of cappuccinos, you can combine all of your old single-purpose machines – copier, scanner, fax, printer – taking up space in your small office into one product. You can now provide your customers with a print-on-demand two-sided brochure featuring YOUR products and services. So there you have it, 5000 years of printer history in 338 words. That just happened. Stay productive people!