A simple and more sustinable printing-as-a-service

Despite the fact over 300 million ink cartridges end up in the landfill each year many people still need to print out of nesssuty and sometimes even purchasing their own equipment at home in the process.

Founded with a mission to create a simple and more sustainable way to print. Printt had already built a small network of public printers across 50 student accomodation locations across the UK.

Their existing system was a rudimentary affair powered by Raspberry Pis, bluetooth beaconds and a business printers. They had comvined this with a business model which utilised strateigic partners to re-fill the toner and encouraged locations to provide paper to discourage waste.

To encourage students to give up buying and eventualy throwing away their home printer they offerred a small amount of free printing supported by adverts which had the beenfit for advertisers cutting down on the large amounts of printed advertising they would typically hand out at campus.

A out-of-home campaign ran for the launch of the final printt app

Refreshing the hardware

A student next to a prototype print station

Having validated their idea they needed to scale to the general public but were facing reliability issues which span from regular failure of the SD card contained within the Raspberry Pis to student’s helping themselves to the power cables to charge their phones.

An example of a broken printt station

We worked with Printt to assess a series of industry grade IOT hardware platforms which could meet their requirements whilst reducing the unit costs accosiated with each device. Using a custom built OpenWRT based operating sytem and an off the shelf router we were able to not only remove major sources of failure (The aforementoned SD card and power cable being two of them) reducing a major source of waste. But reduce the unit cost by over 80%, allowing Printt to expand to over 250 locations.

The more durable router based system

For the second phase of expansion, a new wave of smart-printers had hit the market. We were uccessfully able to port all of our code from our IOT devices to a javascript preact application using a SDK from the printer. Fully eliminating any hardware leaving just the printer, finally allowing the network to expanded to a total of 500 locations.

A printtstation

Expanding the service

The old app whilst printing a document

Parralel to the work on the new printing hardware, the mobile application went through a makeover including rebranding, additional services and new UX userflow based on UX research carried out.

The new Printt appt

Alongside this refreshed mobile app we were able to introduce a new web application for ordering from your laptop, new click & collect services in partnership with and a delivery service complete with end-to-end delivery tracking.

The mock up of the app across all of the supported devices