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An Interview with Emily Ketchen, Mopria Alliance and HP

We have talked a lot about the relatively new Mopria Alliance over the past several weeks. The organization, formed by several companies aims to develop standards for mobile printing to the benefit of everyone from the consumer to the employee in the large enterprise. This interview was conducted via email with Emily Ketchen, Vice Chairman, Mopria Alliance and Vice President, Worldwide Integrated Marketing and Communications, Hewlett-Packard.

1) How did the idea of the Mopria Alliance come about and how long did it take to form?
Technologist from the founding members, Canon, HP, Samsung and Xerox are involved in various standards bodies such as the PWG and WiFi Alliance. Through these connections, they came up with the idea to re-think how print drivers work in the mobile world as opposed to the history of PC printing. The opportunity was apparent -- whereas the forming of an Alliance to select and drive standards adoption was a new concept. Only a year passed between conception and launch showing that a new idea with a clear and compelling customer benefit can gain quick traction even amongst competitors.

2) How was the board established and how are the different positions handled? That is, what are their responsibilities and what is the length of their terms?
The Board is comprised of individuals representing the four Founders as well as up to five individuals elected from candidates representing the Executive Members. The elected Directors serve for one year terms but may be re-elected to subsequent terms.

Representatives from member organizations can serve on the Board of Directors and the three primary working groups. The Mopria Alliance has a Steering Committee to address the daily affairs of the Alliance and to provide oversight and direction to the three Working Groups: Technical, Certification, and Marketing.

  • The Technical Committee is responsible for the selection and development of the technologies to enable the Mopria Alliance vision of interoperability (all apps, any device, OS, printer and ecosystem) and simple, intuitive user experience.
  • The Certification Committee is responsible for developing testing and compliance policy, and interoperability requirements.
  • The Marketing Committee will be primarily responsible for building equity in the Mopria brand to support vendor communications of their Mopria-certified products. The Marketing committee also provides customer insights and product marketing support for the Mopria Alliance standards roadmap, supports member communications and manages marketing funds in furtherance of the Mopria Alliance?s goals.

 

3) How is membership handled? That is, are new members “recruited” or do companies who want to join simply apply when they are ready?
We approach membership from both ways. We certainly welcome any company who discovers us and wants to join, but we also have a strong marketing function that seeks to share information about the imperative of mobile printing through traditional and social media, and we attend industry trade shows to meet up with relevant companies onsite. Furthermore, we are leveraging the connections of our ever-expanding membership base to help recruit new members.

The Mopria Alliance is targeting the following company types to join the Alliance and to use the standards:

  • Phone/tablet manufacturers
  • Printer, AIO, MFP, MFD manufacturers
  • App developers
  • OS Providers
  • Mobile cell service carriers

4)What are the commitments each level/type of member makes? (I can see from the website there are executive members, general members, and adopters)
The Alliance offers five classes of membership, with a variety of benefits, privileges and annual dues designed to match each organization?s interests. These levels are designed to support the goals of the Mopria Alliance while ensuring successful ubiquitous deployment of the standards. Those levels, their benefits and obligations are:

Adopters – (Yearly Dues: $10,000, US) shall be entitled to:
–access the members’ only website;
–submit suggestions and notes about the Specifications, sample code, and other ‎deliverables via the website; and
–access Final Specifications, sample code and other deliverables.

General Members – (Yearly Dues: $30,000, US) in addition to the rights of Adopters, shall be entitled to:
–have access to the certification process in order to have products certified;
–utilize user group and online support;‎
–use the Alliance’s trademarks, logos, and other marks (the “Alliance Logos”);
–participate and appear in press articles;
–receive development support;
–attend general or annual Alliance meetings;
–upon invitation, participate (but not vote) in Working Groups; and
receive member communications.

Executive Members – (Yearly Dues: $50,000, US) in addition to the rights of General Members, shall be entitled to:
–review analytics and the operating budget;
–nominate a representative to stand for election to the Board of Directors;
–participate, vote and chair, Working Groups; and
–access draft specifications before the review period.

Seated Executive Members—Limited to Executive Members whose candidate is elected to the Board of Directors—(Additional Yearly Dues: $50,000, US) in addition to the rights of Executive Members, shall be entitled to:
–through Board of Directors, charter and initiate Working Groups;
–approve Final Specifications;
–approve of and give interviews on behalf of the Alliance;
–approve the operating budget and the Executive Director;
–appoint a representative and alternate to the Steering Committee
–set-up and approve certification processes and requirements for compliant products and services; and
–authorize licenses to the Alliance Logos.

Founders – (Yearly Dues: $100,000, US) Consists of the four founding companies which arranged for organization of Mopria Alliance. In addition to the rights of Seated Executive Members, shall be entitled to appoint one representative to the Board of Directors.

 

5)What are the biggest challenges facing Mopria and mobile printing today, now that there is at least some consensus with regards to standards?
Driving awareness amongst industry players and end users alike remains our greatest challenge and our greatest opportunity. For a long time, mobile devices and desktop computers coexisted, so the need for mobile printing was not evident. But as we shift to an increasingly mobile world, the need for paper remains as constant as ever ? but many end users simply do not know that printing from a mobile is an option, so they have developed work-arounds (printing documents before leaving the office, looking at tiny files on their screen, etc).

But —as our data shows, and as most evidenced by Google?s recent incorporation of print into their new OS—awareness and adoption is rising in tandem with the development and deployment of our standards. This is also evident in the 12 new member companies who joined the Alliance less than six months after its founding ? including representatives from more than 86% of the worldwide printer business, , as well as frontrunners from software companies, engineering and consulting firms, semiconductor companies and typeface designers.

6)Does the formation of the alliance mean that these companies have agreed that printing is not dead (as some pundits have suggested), but has just evolved?
There is growing evidence supporting the need for mobile printing, a trend that will continue to rise if consumers have their way. For instance, only 16% of smart phone users were printing in 2011, compared to the 50% expected to be printing in 2015. Meanwhile, 21% of tablet users were printing in 2011, which is expected to grow to 58% by 2015. Research also suggests that consumers still prefer to read documents in print, despite the growth in mobility. According to IDC, 32% of workers prefer to read documents in print, vs. the 29% who prefer to read on a PC screen. (via IDC: Mobile Device Users/Non-Users: Print, Scan, Document Management, March 2013)

Moreover, It is a testament to the need for mobile printing that Google has incorporated print into their new Android Operating System (OS) version 4.4 (KitKat).

However, the Mopria Alliance also sees the possibility of new work flows and opportunities from the adoption of mobile print. The shift to working on tablets and smartphones, and growth in data accessed from mobile devices is driving new business processes and the need to print from mobile.

7)Will the impact of this Alliance be felt by everyone from the consumer up to large corporations?
We absolutely believe so. According to studies, the end-user mobile printing value proposition primarily centers on convenience. Users can print anytime, anywhere from their handheld device without installing print drivers or having other specific knowledge about a printer, such as its IP address. Mobile workers can begin to leave their computers behind when traveling outside of the "home office," with the knowledge that they can still print documents if necessary.

Hand in hand with convenience is increased productivity. Mobile printing means that document printing does not need to be delayed. Activities that individuals find easier (or more comfortable) using paper versus the screen (such as especially long or complex documents), or tasks that require print, can be accomplished as needed.

The real benefits come into play when you consider the productivity gains associated with enabling people to work the way they want to work. Currently people want to work and print from their devices, but instead they have to navigate a series of detours that sap efficiency and present roadblocks to creativity and innovation. The workflow improvements of mobile printing, when done right, will have an incredibly powerful impact.

These use cases demonstrate the broad range of mobile printing possibilities:

  • The sales person printing a contract, price list or brochure at a customer site based on real-time ‎conversations with the customer
  • An employee doing e-mail on their phone in the office prints something to read, mark-up, sign etc. ‎while running between meetings vs. getting back to his/her desk to pull up the desktop device ‎tethered to the network
  • A doctor or other medical professional going from patient to patient with his tablet prints a ‎prescription or patient instructions on follow-up care
  • A traveler printing a boarding pass prior to his flight home (as back-up to the mobile screen version)
  • A consumer looking up a recipe on their phone, can print it now vs. pulling up a PC connected to their home printer
  • Printing a map, especially if you don?t have or use the software that tells you directions

8) What does Mopria hope to accomplish over the next 5-10 years in printing?
Ubiquitous adoption and deployment of the Mopria standard in mobile devices, software and printers remains our top priority: the Mopria Alliance was formed to advance wireless printing from smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices by creating a standard that enables printing to be universally compatible and consistently easy for users.

On our path to that goal, we are also seeking to address additional technological trends that will make mobile printing increasingly sophisticated, while staying simple for the end user. These types of trends include security, cloud computing and scanning.

More On the certification process:
Mopria certification of printers initially requires meeting testing and/or certification requirements for the technology standards that the Mopria Alliance has selected. Then the manufacturer can conduct Mopria interoperability testing for Mopria certification. Note that to date, Mopria is using existing technology standards supported by various standards organizations such as the Printer Working Group or the WiFi Alliance.

Mopria allows companies to self-test their devices, following a protocol outlined by Mopria. We also hold testing "events" where companies can bring their products and test them alongside others. This allows companies to do a self-test in a common location, where they can ask questions and defer to an on-site expert that will help get quick answers. This is a great tool for first-time vendors. Once the test has been completed successfully, they submit it to a certification manager for review and approval. Once approved, the device is officially Mopria-certified, and simply needs to be added to the Mopria website.

How long does the process take?
The actual testing can be done in about 2 days, the approval process varies, but generally takes only a few days.

Have all the members of the Alliance committed to make every future printer Mopria-certified
Because Mopria is comprised of many companies that are competitors in the market, member companies cannot share future product plans & features with each other.