Coming from a manufacturing background, and having an understanding of the pressures and imperatives facing manufacturing, I’ve long been excited by Ponoko’s attempts (more on ‘em here) to reinvent manufacturing. The other day I received a note from HubCast who’s seeking to do something similar for printing. According to their PR. HubCast:
changes the way premium-quality print is bought, sold and delivered. HubCast completely automates printing with a simple cloud application that delivers premium print production, competitive pricing, global reach, and the speed of next-day delivery around the world.
Essentially HubCast is both cloud content storage and distributed outputting of that content. The idea is that:
users can upload and maintain an unlimited number of files to a library on the cloud…. File verification in HubCast Professional ensures that each file uploaded to the library is press-ready, guaranteeing easy and confident reordering…[and enables] printing with a simple cloud application that delivers print production, competitive pricing, global reach, and the speed of next-day delivery around the world
Sounds good huh? In essence it’s cloud storage meeting the ability to output material anywhere in the world and HubCast have coined the term “cloud printing” to describe what their service is. From his introductory blog post, founder Toby LaVigne says:
Cloud Printing. What?! Is Guttenberg printing from above?… Not exactly.
Imagine this; you go online to your cloud printing account(think Amazon or Expedia). And you upload a high resolution pdf file, select a quantity, choose your stock and pick a delivery destination and hit “submit”.
You just printed in the cloud, and you did it in seconds, on your time, from anywhere, to anywhere with the click of a mouse.
Cloud computing is bringing to print what it has already brought to services like travel, banking and enterprise applications.
- Lower overall costs
- Smaller environmental impact (with less paper waste)
- Substantial time savings
The HubCast service sounds good, and the site looks nice – it is however a little unfortunate that it lacks a fair amount of what can only be seen as the basic information. The FAQ page for pricing for example is substantial but nowhere does it actually indicate the pricing to output a document.
I spoke with CEO Toby LaVigne with a real world example of needing to output some material. My example (somewhat far fetched I’ll agree) saw me needing to print a document from here in New Zealand and get copies to clients in Mozambique, Iraq, Cayman Islands, Haiti and Antarctica, his answer was reasonable:
…we focus on delivering our service in the top 100 GDP markets worldwide. Not a stroke of brilliance on our part, it’s simply where most of the need and business is. Our perspective is driven by HubCast service delivery. We want to be able to support business in as much of the world as possible in as short an amount of time as possible. Strictly speaking, the number of countries we print in is less relevant than the number of countries we can deliver to reliably – next day, 5-day, etc. Your specific examples are unique. Antarctica and Iraq we are taking a pass on for now. Mozambique, Haiti, and the Caymans are next-day service. And, of course you can order from NZ
Which is pretty good – to be honest I’ll accept that Antarctica and Iraq are pretty much “edge cases” but the ability to output from my location and have copies in three locations as different as Mozambique, the Caymans and Haiti the next day is pretty powerful.