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Smart Printing Frequently Asked Questions

What is Smart Printing?

Most label printers are passive devices, sitting idle until a computer commands them to print a label. They print the label, then go back to sleep. Smart printers, by contrast, are active. They can run computer programs directly so do not depend on a host computer to give them label-printing commands. They also can direct a user’s actions, prompting for input, displaying responses and taking action based on those responses. Finally, they are capable of interacting with other devices in the enterprise, for example by querying a corporate database for order details based on a scanned order number. We call this active, responsive printing Smart.

Are Smart Printers difficult to use?

Not at all! The programs that run in Intermec Smart Printers are typically very intuitive, with simple-to-use interfaces designed to get work done. It only takes a very short time to train a user to use an Intermec Smart Printer, much less time than it takes to learn to use the label printing part of a typical enterprise system.

How will this save money?

There are several ways that Smart Printing saves you money:
  • By eliminating the need to purchase and maintain PCs you recognize tremendous upfront and ongoing savings simply. Industry surveys prove that it costs approximately 30% of the cost of a PC to maintain it each year – by eliminating the PC, you eliminate this cost too
  • By simplifying your printing infrastructure your system becomes more reliable and thus less costly; Simple, intuitive Smart Printing applications typically take very little time to teach. For short-term or untrained workers this translates into faster, more accurate, more highly productive workers
  • Typically Smart Printing applications run at the point of application, not in a back room – and labels are not printed until they are needed. Additionally, the earn-a-label concept means that a label is not printed until it is correct, all of which save money through eliminating wasted labels

Can I really eliminate the PC from my label printing? How does that work?

By moving the label printer directly to the point of application, by running the label-printing application right in the printer, and by connecting keyboards, scanners and other peripherals as necessary to perform the label-printing task, the PC is no longer necessary.

What programming languages can I use to create Smart Printing applications?

For PC series desktop printers and PMx3 series industrial printers, there are two programming language options: Intermec C# for Printers or Fingerprint. C# provides full access to the printer's color-graphic display and features an in-printer database for creating powerful, highly interactive applications. Fingerprint, the original Smart Printing language, has been deployed for over 20 years in environments all over the world and runs in all Intermec industrial and rugged mobile printers.

Can Smart Printing applications access my enterprise data?

Yes, under your control. Intermec Smart Printers all come with network connectivity built-in (except for Bluetooth™ enabled mobile printers). Our Smart Printing programming language, Intermec Fingerprint, can connect with middleware running on your servers to exchange data with your enterprise databases.

Does Smart Printing slow down my label printer?

Not at all. Intermec Smart Printers typically have faster processors and more memory so they are the fastest printers in their class, even when running Smart Printing applications.

Can Smart Printing alert me when my printer is having a problem?

Yes. Intermec Smart Printers can use either SMTP messaging or respond to SNMP requests to return status and error information back to management systems. Several device management vendors, in addition to Intermec SmartSystems, offer device management solutions to help alert you of issues before they become problems.

Who can help write a Smart Printing Program?

There are Intermec Smart Printing Independent Software Vendors all over the world, specializing in different industry segments. Intermec has the longest history with Smart Printing of any vendor and our sales representatives can point you towards the right partner to meet your needs.

How do I know if a Smart Printing program can help me?

Check out the Smart Printing case studies, Smart Printing white paper and other Smart Printing research materials on the Intermec web site, YouTube and through our partner network. Discuss your label printing needs with a Smart Printing partner. We have the expertise to help you determine whether Smart Printing will fit your needs.

What kind of devices can I control from the printer using Smart Printing?

Any device that has a serial port or network connection can potentially be connected to and controlled by an Intermec Smart Printer. Check with the manufacturer of your devices to see if they publish a specification for communicating with each machine.