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The Role of Paper in a Wired World

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For years, the idea of the “paperless office” put forth by “futurists” a decade or so ago has been laughed at in the computer printer industry, which has watched gleefully as office and consumer paper consumption soared year after year. But the advent of the Internet means that the paperless, or at least less-paper office, and perhaps lesspaper home, is no longer a joke. The Internet has changed the role of paper: it once was the document, but has become only a transient display medium for the document, which is now a computer file, email, or Web site. Even though paper consumption continues to rise, research shows that many, even most documents that cross a person's desk are no longer printed. And, as computer design and display technology improve, that percentage can only rise. At the same time, a horde of “dot-coms” are spending billions to automate processes in every industry that have long depended on inefficient paper-shuffling. In short, a paper-based culture that has lasted hundreds of years is under assault, an assault that will certainly affect the market for computer printers and printing.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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