HP is to extend the reach of its ePrint & Share cloud storage service. The company, best known for its printers (it also does workstations), will be working with the major providers of Software-as-a-Service construction collaboration platforms so that design information can be shared with non-HP platforms.
ePrint & Share was launched just over three years ago at an event in Copenhagen, providing up to 5GB of free storage for HP users, allowing drawing files to be accessed from compatible HP printers as well as from desktop devices. In March 2012, HP extended its partnership with Autodesk to enable printing to HP devices from the Apple iOS AutoCAD WS (now AutoCAD 360) mobile application; two months later, it released an HP ePrint & Share mobile application for Android smartphones and tablets; and in September 2012, HP DesignJet UK manager Phil Oakley talked about accessing content stored in DropBox, and in PlanWell – a file-sharing service developed by US-based reprographic provider ARC.
ePrint & Share APIs? Coming soon….
At a London event at the Royal Society of Arts today, I asked Phil and Ramon Pastor, Vice President of HP’s Large Format Design team about the long-promised integration with third party platforms. I was told that HP would be working with partners to create ePrint & Share interfaces between its printers and the leading cloud-based construction collaboration platforms. Next year seemed to be the timeframe, and I got the impression it would be working initially with the major design software houses – Autodesk, Bentley, etc – and then extending the learning from that process to create APIs with other platforms such as Aconex, etc.
To HP, the design world is one where paper and digital are connected, with HP devices increasingly used to store and process metadata associated with designs, to output the paper manifestations of digital models, and to share files and support collaboration. Phil even talked about the use of augmented reality in annotation of drawings and sharing these back to the model!
HP Remote Graphics Software
The event also showed off HP’s workstations, and demonstrated v6 of HP’s Remote Graphics Software (RGS). I hadn’t seen this before, and it was impressive. Basically, a HP workstation user can enable a screen-sharing session from his or her desktop and screen-share with team members anywhere and on any range of devices, including tablets and laptops (not just workstations). As the process is essentially streaming a view of the desktop, no great processing requirement is required at the viewer’s end, though v6 includes advanced video compression and HP Velocity WAN optimisation to limit latency, etc.