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IdeaBar: APM – Automated Printing Machines

Have you ever wished it was easier to print something out while you were on the road? Whether it's a boarding pass or a list of local restaurants, or a guide to a local attraction you are standing in front of. Right now, we can carry 20 GB hard drives in our pocket, and access the internet through many kinds of portable devices. Printing, however, remains a chore.

To print at a hotel business center, you need to email a file, then open it, send it to a printer and hope that all the fonts work out and things look ok. And you pay exorbitantly per page. If you happen to be out and on the road, you're pretty much out of luck. Which brings me to the idea of this post … why can't HP or Canon or any of the companies that make printers create an APM?

Working in the same way as an ATM, an APM or Automated Printing Machine would allow anyone on the street to walk up to a kiosk, send a file in a variety of ways (USB flash key, bluetooth, infrared, etc.) and get it printed. You can already do this to print photos in drugstores. You can do it for directions at a rental car agency (though it's limited). Airlines also do this at the airport with boarding passes already as well.

So why can't I go to a kiosk on the street in Manhattan and print that really long email from a friend telling me where to go, or get a printout of those crucial 4 slides a colleague is sending me on my way to a business meeting? One day I suspect we'll see these APMs – because despite how digital our lives have become, sometimes you just need a printout.

About the Idea Bar: Working in a creative team, the life of our business is new ideas.  We come up with them every day for clients, but sometimes there are ideas that just don't fit a client.  They are too big, too different, or just not quite right. Inspired by John at Digital Influence Mapping Project, the IdeaBar is a category of posts that are meant to be "open source" and offer new ideas for marketing.  Take them and use them … all I ask for is a link back to this post if you find these ideas useful and talk about them.  Read more IdeaBar posts on this blog.

3 thoughts on “IdeaBar: APM – Automated Printing Machines”

  1. That is an awesome idea. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? As for where to put them, why not in the local drugstores (there is practically one on every corner of the US). Or .. what about post offices, good old USPS would love to charge a little rent on one of those bad boys and earn some extra revenue.

    this thought has endless ideas. Where I live, we have a million and one internet cafes, however, the prices they charge is out of this world … I would like to see this service, it really is a great idea.

  2. Great idea, but a little too late. With everything becoming digitized and access to the internet so wide spread that you can’t even buy a cell phone that doesn’t have a web browser, the need for paper and printing is diminishing.


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