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What does PaperCut MF do?
All good FAQs should start with a question that's best answered with a 500 page novel! The short answer is that PaperCut MF enables user and device level management and control for all your printers and multifunctional devices (i.e. MFDs - copy, print, fax and scan).
PaperCut MF is typically used to:
- Track and control all print, copy, fax and scan activity on MFDs
- Manage user access rights to devices based on function e.g. "marketing", "administration", and "finance"
- Implement copy quotas, charges and per page costs
- Enhance document security with "Find Me" print release at both MFDs and printers
- Enhance device security with managed access to your MF devices via user ID or building access cards
- Allow for cash payment of print, copy, scan or fax - for pay-for-print environments
It was originally an extension of the popular print software application PaperCut NG and builds on this with embedded software and hardware support. PaperCut MF software may be integrated with 3rd party off-the-shelf copy controllers and card readers.
How does PaperCut MF differ from PaperCut NG?
Both PaperCut MF and NG are very similar in core features and, at a technical level, share the same code base. But PaperCut MF has the additional ability to integrate directly with Multifunction Devices (MFDs) and other hardware to deliver extra features. The embedded software available with PaperCut MF runs on the MFD and allows you to track and control printing, copying, faxing and scanning.
Extra capabilities include:
- Track and control access with user ID authentication right at the device.
- Create a consistent user experience on the screen across all your devices. (Co-branded for your organization if you'd like.)
- Use network card readers to facilitate secure print release and Find-Me printing at any copier or MFD via card swipe.
- Enabling users to reload their PaperCut MF user account in pay-per-print environments by integrating with cash payment hardware.
- A few other complex integration areas which are too obscure to list here in an FAQ!
All other features, including general print tracking, print quotas, rules based printing and driverless web print, etc. are identical on both PaperCut MF and PaperCut NG.
Why is copier control in a different edition?
Part of the power of PaperCut NG is the simplicity and ease of use for anyone who wants to control their printing costs and reduce waste. It's distributed online and can be installed and supported by any network administrator, with the main level of integration at the Operating System level.
As we integrate at the firmware level with dozens of MFD manufacturer platforms, the complexity of the solution has increased. Often the setup requires specialist expertise and an up-to-date knowledge of current MFD hardware. And, to support the MFD and printer manufacturers, PaperCut must also ensure a correct notification and acceptance procedure is followed before any device can be loaded with the PaperCut embedded software.
So, rather than have one solution that introduces that complexity to people who may not ever need it, we created PaperCut MF and a clear separation between the two products. To help make PaperCut MF as straightforward for customers as PaperCut NG, we have extended our network of reseller and support experts to ensure the best configuration and installation experience.
The two products are complementary, however, and many PaperCut MF customers have evolved their installation from PaperCut NG. Migration between editions is very easy and your data and settings are maintained in the upgrade.
I'm running PaperCut NG. What do I need to do to use the PaperCut MF functionality?
Many of our users first implement PaperCut NG, our print-only edition, as the first phase of their deployment. PaperCut MF's setup on the other hand is a bit more involved (see other FAQs for why). The process of converting an existing PaperCut NG install across to PaperCut MF can be summarized as follows:
>Obtaining a License:
Please contact us as a first step with the following information:
- Indicate that you're an existing PaperCut NG user
- Where you obtained your license, direct from PaperCut or via a reseller?
- Where are you located? (country and region)
- What type of MFDs or copiers do you wish to manage? How many?
- How will users access the MFDs, login, account code or card?
- Do you have a preference to deal with any particular Authorized Solution Center (ASC) or reseller?
- What industry are you in? Education, Business, Professional Services etc.
We'll put you in touch with the closest and most qualified ASC and work with them to give you a recommended path forward. On the licensing side there is no need to purchase a whole new license. You'll get a credit for your existing PaperCut NG license. (See the pricing FAQs for PaperCut MF for the details.)
The Technical Upgrade Path:
It's very straightforward to convert an existing PaperCut NG installation to PaperCut MF without any loss of data or settings. Because the two editions share an identical code-base all data is compatible. In many cases the conversion is a simple install-over-the-top process as outlined here. Because you already have the printing and server-side install up and going, your chosen PaperCut MF reseller or Authorized Solution Center will focus on the copier integration installation side of the installation. The new MFD devices will appear in the PaperCut admin console just like your normal printers and you can then take over their management.
What does it mean to be a vendor agnostic/vendor neutral solution?
PaperCut is vendor agnostic/neutral which means that we endeavor to support as many operating systems, platforms and devices as possible. This position is part of our core development philosophy and ensures that you as the PaperCut user have choice. We surveyed our user base a few years back and the overwhelming voice was that our vendor neutral position is important. It means that you have the ability to change operating systems, printer brands, MFD makes, etc. with minimal impact on PaperCut and its core features i.e. your implementation can remain intact. This however is at times a difficult position for us. Aside from the engineering investment required to develop across multiple environments in parallel, we're also under pressure at times from organizations that would prefer "lock-in" to a particular environment or hardware/device. We've committed to remaining neutral and will continue to support an open approach to infrastructure, hardware and other services. Please note that a vendor neutral approach does not mean that all embedded offerings are created equal. We are reliant on the quality and feature-set of the underlying device (MFD) firmware and supporting SDK used to create our embedded software. In this regard some manufacturers can claim better integration and a fuller feature set, thereby setting their devices apart. In every case we strive to supply the very best user experience at the device.
Are copier/MFD interfaces available in languages other than English?
Yes. Where possible we support the same set of languages the PaperCut admin web interface supports. (Over 30 languages so far…)There are however some caveats to this:
- Some embedded/onboard solutions can't support Asian or full Unicode character sets. Contact your PaperCut ASC for more information.
- Many copier control hardware terminals have fixed interfaces and only support English.
- Right-to-left languages such as Hebrew may have screen layouts more suitable to left-to-right text.
How does PaperCut MF track copiers/MFDs?
This depends on the model and make of copier. There are a few fundamental approaches:
- Embedded software - software which runs on the copier/MFD firmware level. The device will have a PaperCut interface presented to the users.
- On-board Web Services - The PaperCut server controls and tracks the device access via remote operation calls via web service requests between the PaperCut server and the device/MFD.
- Hardware - an external device called a "Copier Terminal" or "Copier Controller" is connected to the copier. This device prevents copier use until a user has successfully authenticated via a card swipe and/or username or PIN entry. The copy terminal monitors paper output for charging/tracking, communicating with the PaperCut server and acting on its rules and directions as set by the administrator.
If your device supports one of our embedded/on-board software solutions then this is usually the first and preferred option as implementation costs are less than an equivalent hardware copy controller solution.
What is an embedded/on-board solution?
Embedded solutions are implementations where a component of PaperCut MF is installed directly on the MFD/copier. One of our developers summed up embedded solutions as follows: "It's like a smart phone (iPhone, Android) App but one that runs on copiers."
Embedded apps work by interacting with the user via the device's touch screen. Users must first authenticate at the panel or card swipe and then device access is granted. All usage is tracked and reported through to the PaperCut server in real-time. Usage is not just limited to copying, but may also encompass fax and scan tracking. Embedded solutions also provide functions to:
- release printed jobs from hold/release queues
- allocate usage costs to shared accounts (e.g. cost centers, departments, clients)
- enable access by low cost (e.g. USB) card readers for authentication
- associate swipe cards with domain user accounts (self-association)
- automatically stop jobs and deny usage when quota/credit is exceeded
Embedded solutions usually take the form of firmware level software that is physically installed on the device. Install methods vary but typically involve either loading software on via a memory card and/or uploading files via the MFDs administration web interface. All embedded software supplied with PaperCut MF is developed in-house by the same development team that develops the core PaperCut product.
What is a hardware copier terminal/controller?
Most modern copiers/MFDs have hardware interface ports to allow the control of copier access, more specifically to enable/disable the device and count detection. These ports/points/plugs have names like vending ports, or foreign interface ports. (The use of these ports dates back to the days of pay-per-copy coin boxes.) For devices that don't support an embedded/on-board solution, or where an embedded solution is not suitable, a copier terminal/controller should be considered.
Copier terminals/controllers work by interfacing with the copier on one side, and the network and PaperCut MF on the other. They present the user with the option to authenticate (keypad and/or card swipe) and account selection if appropriate. Usage is tracked by the hardware terminal/controller and in turn forwarded through to PaperCut MF via the network.
In alignment with our goal of remaining vendor neutral, PaperCut works with a variety of manufacturers. Options range from account entry keypad-only versions through to sophisticated touch screen terminals supporting almost all card formats. The touch screen terminals are also being used extensively as secure print release terminals, thereby providing a similar user experience at the printer to that which is offered by PaperCut MF embedded at the MFD.
Can I install an embedded/on-board solution myself?
This may be an option in the event that PaperCut do not have a qualified reseller in your area or your MFD supplier does not wish to complete due to lack of exposure or experience. In either case, you must not try to install without contacting us first as we have an obligation to each manufacturer to follow due process. Installation of the PaperCut software onto devices varies a lot. In some cases installation of an embedded application is very simple while on some MFD models, the process is quite involved. Some installs require actions like:
- Copying files on to internal memory cards
- Conducting firmware upgrades/flashes to particular revisions
- Entering special service codes to enable features to allow installation
In each instance the method and control as dictated by each manufacturer is constantly changing.
In the majority of instances a PaperCut MF reseller will work with you to devise the best method of installation. This may involve assisting you with self-installation, arranging assistance by a local copier technician, or attending the site to coordinate the install. One day we hope installing an application may be as easy as installing an App on an iPhone! Today it's a little more involved and we suspect the manufacturers will wish to ensure even greater control to protect your investment in their products, while opening up a whole new range of approved applications.
How do I know if an embedded solution will work on my device?
Embedded/on-board solutions are an emerging space and the functionality is likely only to be supported on newer models. Your PaperCut Authorized Solution Center will also be able to assist and advise on suitability. When in doubt always contact a PaperCut Authorized Solution Center (ASC) or approved reseller.
What options do I have if an embedded option is not available or not suitable for my device/environment?
The alternate option to an embedded solution is to use a Hardware Copier Controller/Terminal. This is a proven control method and one that's popular and well supported by PaperCut MF. Hardware copier controllers/terminals are manufactured by 3rd party hardware manufacturers. PaperCut remains vendor neutral in this space and supports a number of different hardware options ensuring there is choice. PaperCut's Authorized Solution Centers can all supply, install and support the various hardware options we have interfaced with.
Will your embedded/on-board solutions work with a Mac/Linux/Novell server?
Yes. All our embedded, on-board and hardware copier controller solutions will work with any server based OS. There is no need to run a Windows server in a non-Windows environment. This level of cross-platform support in PaperCut MF is unique in the industry and has required a significant engineering investment. Even though many PaperCut users are in a 100% Windows only environment we've had many say they are impressed by our efforts and see PaperCut's cross-platform position as a stamp of engineering excellence. We've had to work closely with the copier manufacturers to accomplish our cross-platform support and our very proud of this achievement. (Not to mention many Mac, Linux, and Novell sites that are very happy to see PaperCut supporting their platforms!)
Why is there not an embedded/on-board option for my Copier/MFD?
PaperCut MF can track the printing side of any MFD at the operating system level. For copy, scan and fax control, PaperCut MF supports every major MFD manufacturer. However, not all devices have the power or functionality to support embedded software control. For devices that do not yet have a suitable embedded or on-board solution, hardware copier controllers are the recommended solution.
PaperCut has embedded solutions for these latest generation devices.
We are committed to a vendor neutral path supporting all operating systems, devices and languages. If your device does not offer an embedded solution, or the solution does not yet offer the features required for your environment, we suggest that you contact your device manufacturer and ask why.
I've heard that PaperCut runs better on some modes/makes than others? Why is that so?
Yes. It is true that not all environments are equal. Copiers/MFDs are a bit like operating systems - they each work differently and each has its area of strength. A good example would be card reader support for user authentication. Some MFDs only support card readers supplied by the copier manufacturer, while others have given us access to the device's full USB stack. This allows us to write our own drivers to support a wide array of generic USB card readers.
All PaperCut ASCs and VARs have access to a feature matrix enabling them to determine which product offers a best fit for your needs.
Which model/make of device has the best embedded/onboard solution?
It's a very difficult question for us to answer as a provider of vendor agnostic/neutral solutions. As mentioned above, not all environments are equal and it is true that some models/makes offer more features than others. Examples of differences include:
- Faster response to button presses and screen redraw.
- More powerful screen layout options allow us to design a more usable system.
- Ability to present a series of screens to help the user through tasks such as authentication and account selection (workflow).
- Support for USB card readers, while other devices don't support readers at all.
It's also a rapidly changing environment and what is true one week might not be so the following.
So we've taken the position to not endorse any one vendor over any other. (We promise, it's not a cop out!) Instead we strive to offer the best set of features technically possible for each manufacturer's device. Our ASCs and Resellers have access to information on each embedded environment as well as any technical limitations that may exist and can work with you to ensure the solution will meet your requirements.
What is better? Embedded or Hardware Copier Control Terminal?
There is no doubt that the functionality of embedded solutions (in all devices, not just copiers - phones, cars, and even your fridge) is always improving. Embedded software (the "app model") will be the predominant technology to implement copier, fax and scan control with as time goes on. Embedded technology is however newer and Copier Control Terminals offer a number of advantages.
Copier Control Terminals Pros:
- Provide a common user experience across different device types.
- Able to support almost all MFDs including older devices without embedded options.
- Often can support a wider range of authentication card technologies.
- Can be moved to new copier brands and models with minimal costs.
- Increased security. Device control is done at a hardware-level.
Embedded/On-board Control Pros:
- May be implemented with zero hardware or minimal hardware (e.g. USB card reader)
- Lower purchase/license costs because there is no hardware outlay.
- Able to track other device usage other than "paper out" events such as Scan and Fax
- New features become available with software updates (i.e. PaperCut updates)
- Offer a seamless user experience - the MFD touchscreen being the only interaction point.
All PaperCut Authorized Solution Centers have experience in both software and hardware solutions and can advise on the best solution for your environment. They will factor in aspects such as your MFD models, your requirements and your future objectives to recommend the best solution.
What makes PaperCut MF different from other options/products/solutions?
Ahh… you're looking for a PaperCut MF competitive smackdown!?! We tend not to do side-by-side feature comparisons. (Primarily because we update our versions so frequently that we'd need a team of people full time just to keep up the documentation!) But here are some of the things our support team share with customers who ask.
PaperCut MF vs. No Copier/MFD Control At All
Yes. Believe it or not, "nothing" is the main option users consider when investigating how to manage their MFDs and copiers! In many cases these organizations decide to run PaperCut NG (print tracking only) and defer implementation of PaperCut MF to a later time. But we have so many customers who share that the cost savings alone cover the price of PaperCut MF, that No Control At All is becoming rarer.
PaperCut MF vs. In-built Control/Security/Tracking on the Device
It is true that as more and more capability is included on the devices, many copiers have their own built-in control systems such as simple PIN systems. But most have limitations and the key to a successful implementation is to capture all copy, print and scan for centralized reporting using a single software application. PaperCut MF adds value in numerous ways, for example:
- A single set of accounts centralized via a server based application.
- Real-time and centralized reporting - may also be automated via email delivery.
- The same system can be applied across a mixed fleet of different devices makes and models.
- No vendor lock-in. You can change operating systems or copier/print vendors and leave the system in place, happily monitoring whatever you throw at it.
- ... and of course all the core features PaperCut offers on the server-side (see tour).
PaperCut MF vs. Other Print Management Solutions
There certainly are a number of companies who offer solutions quite similar to PaperCut MF. While the core functionality may align there are many differences between the solutions.
If we have to pick one overarching difference it would be culture. Other solutions in the copier control area have come from the hardware space - being companies that produce or have produced in the past solutions like copier coin boxes and hardware copier terminals. PaperCut is the complete reverse. We've come from the world of internet self-download software. Now that MFDs run embedded software, we're able to bring our software and our "software culture" into this copier control space. You can see this culture difference in a number of ways:
- User experience is key. PaperCut software is designed with the administrators and users as forefront in everything we do.
- We focus on simplicity. Many hardware focused businesses have operated under a model of technician serviced installs and support. Internet software is all about self-help and ease of use. We do not rely on consulting revenue to setup an overly complex product, and we certainly don't take 5 days to install… you'll be up and running with Papercut MF in an afternoon.
- Software support. If you've got a sticky print management situation, we'd love to hear about it and solve it! The PaperCut team of resellers, support engineers and solution centers may not have seen it all, but we've seen a lot. And if you want to go it alone, we have a comprehensive knowledge base and fully documented solution.
- We've brought commodity/volume pricing to this once "traditional" space. In many cases PaperCut is many times cheaper than comparable solutions.
- We've brought the rapid release cycle software culture and have a very fast rate of development (similar to the culture of Chrome, Mozilla, Linux, Paint.Net, etc.) If you report a bug (all software has bugs) chances are that it will be fixed in the next release.
- We're very transparent. We'll tell you how it is. Our commitment to transparency is typified by things like this FAQ, our blog, twitter feed, release notes, and the fact that we provide source code level access to our users.
In the end, you, the end-user, are the judge of any solution. We're encouraging you to download PaperCut NG and get a taste and contact your PaperCut MF VAR or ASC to see what they can do for you.
User Authentication and Swipe Cards
Can I use card swipe authentication at my device?
Yes you can. All of the hardware copier controller options and most of PaperCut MF embedded solutions support card swipe based authentication (and also card swipe for print release). Where technically possible we ensure there is a choice of card reader technologies ranging from proximity card, magnetic stripe and bar code. With PaperCut MF's embedded solutions, we've put a lot of engineering time in to support commodity USB based card readers. This ensures you have a choice of cheap readily available reader types (and also ensures our embedded developers have lots of fun writing USB device drivers :-)
For completeness it should be mentioned that some MFDs "white list" approved USB card reader devices. Again your ASC or MFD supplier can advise on the most appropriate reader type for your MFD and card technology.
Do I need to issue cards to my users?
No. PaperCut MF is able to authenticate users at devices/MFDs using a number of different methods including username and password or ID and PIN. In both cases credentials can be extracted out of the user network directory (e.g. Active Directory). It is also possible to issue a subset of users with cards while others use username/password login. For example it may be common in small schools to issue cards to staff but not students (because they lose everything you give them!).
Organizations with existing issued employee/student cards should consider the card option, while others may find ID numbers the most convenient. The card numbers are stored in the PaperCut database (in the Card ID field) and are put into the system using various methods including:
- Self-association - users can self-register their cards automatically on first use at the device.
- Import from a text file
- Looked up in real-time in an external database (e.g. Door security system database)
- Extracted and synchronized from the network directory (LDAP or Active Directory)
What swipe card authentication methods are supported for MFD access?
At the software layer, PaperCut MF has been developed in a way where it can support any card type - the underlying technology is abstracted. Production installs of PaperCut MF cover a wide array of card technologies ranging from popular Proximity Card formats (near field communication) such HID, MIFARE, i-Class and other card technologies including common magnetic stripe cards and bar coded cards. It should be pointed out that identity cards are also not mandatory. Many sites simply use card-less authentication methods such as username/password or ID numbers and PINS.
Even though PaperCut MF is able to support a wide array of card technologies, the supporting hardware layer may impose restrictions. For example many of PaperCut's embedded solutions rely on the USB interface provided by the MFD vendor to support commodity based USB card readers from manufacturers like RFIdeas, Elatec, Onmikey and Magtek. Some MFD vendors "whitelist" a limited range of card readers and this range may limit the choice of card type. Other factors such as card encryption, encoding formats, or proprietary card technologies (as often seen in the security door access environment) can also impose restrictions.
With that said, the topic of card authentication is a mixed bag. It can be as simple as plugging in an off the shelf reader into the MFD's USB port, or may end up being a complex tail of endeavoring to match up reader technology with an existing proprietary card system. This is where our resellers and Authorized Solution Centers can assist. They draw on their past experience and access to testing hardware to put together a card authentication approach that best suits your environment.
My existing users already have ID cards issued for door access, but I know it's a proprietary technology? Can I use these cards?
When integrating these types of cards the common approach is to utilize the card serial number (CSN) where possible as this number can be openly read by the majority of card management and card ID personalization systems used in educational and corporate offices globally. The CSN can then be made available to PaperCut MF enabling single card support and access for all onsite services. Should additional security be required, a user PIN can be added.
If there is no CSN present, then the only method to read these cards is via the supplier's readers i.e. the same used for door access. These readers are typically not suited for managing copy and print access alone, but can be combined with hardware copier controllers to provide an in-line solution. The cost of combining proprietary access control readers and hardware terminals is typically high and a sample card will need to be provided for testing to confirm compatibility. Our ASCs or resellers can assist here.
Other options do exist. A common one is to use an RFID sticker/dot. A small sticker is attached to the existing card (using a non-clashing frequency) effectively turning the card into a dual frequency card. The door system reads the card while the MFDs read the number off the sticker. Our ASC's have a few provisioning tricks up their sleeves to streamline such a process.
I plan on running PaperCut MF in an education environment. Students must pay for printing with their own money when they run out of print quota. What payment options can I offer my students?
PaperCut MF offers the popular payment methods offered with PaperCut NG. Because PaperCut MF is "PaperCut NG plus hardware integration", even more methods of handling end-user payments are available. The full list of options, listed in order of popularity are:
- Top-Up Pre-paid cards (a voucher system)
- Online Payments via leading online payment gateways
- Manual Payments - Web Till
- Self-serve hardware (cash loaders and kiosks)
- Custom system via PaperCut's open APIs
In K-12 environments it's recommended that sites first consider Top-Up Pre-Paid cards. This is the most popular form of managing payments. Administrators print out a set of cards/vouchers with a value such as $5 and these are sold at venues around campus like the office, cafeteria, library or book shop. Each voucher has a unique code and students simply enter this code on a web page to redeem the amount and have it added to their account. The concept is similar to iTunes Music cards or pre-paid mobile/cell phone accounts - concepts students are very familiar with!
Online payment gateways are popular in higher education. They allow parents and or students to make payments into their account using popular credit cards or equivalent. PaperCut has a vendor neutral position on payment gateways and offers a large choice of providers ranging from popular well-known names such as PayPal and CyberSource to local banking providers.
In the self-serve payment area PaperCut is vendor agnostic and has worked with a number of hardware manufacturers to ensure self-service cash loading devices can connect to PaperCut's database. Again, your local Authorized Solution Center is the best point of call to discuss hardware reload and payment options. It is possible to use self-serve hardware alongside online payment gateways and/or Pre-Paid Top-Up Cards.
More information in the tour here.
Do you interface to/use stored value card systems?
PaperCut MF is an online system where value is stored in a user's online account. Value is not stored on a card. One of our primary design principles is "do stuff in software rather than hardware". User balances are stored on the server in the software layer similar to how a bank stores your account details on their servers rather than on your credit card. The card is simply an authentication source (or a part-factor in the authentication process). This approach means that PaperCut is able to be deployed in a 100% software-only environment and cards or card readers are optional.
Using the balance in the PaperCut MF database is however not the only method supported by PaperCut MF. PaperCut MF has an open API and hence has been used to interface with various value-on-card systems. With these systems there is no central database storing a user's balances but the credit is secretly encoded onto the card itself.
Where the investment in stored value hardware and stored value cards prohibits the site or supplier to changeover to a full online system, PaperCut MF is implemented as the supporting print and reporting system.
Stored value systems have been integrated with PaperCut MF using one of two methods:
- Every print device has a PaperCut MF release station next to it and the release station is configured to connect with the special card hardware reader. Users can release jobs using credit in their card (or also optionally their online PaperCut MF account).
- Pay stations are set up at various locations around the campus. These stations allow users to transfer funds from their card across to their online PaperCut MF account. This approach is often more cost effective than method 1 as the special readers are not required on every printer (in some cases stored value card readers cost more than the printer itself!)
We do not promote or endorse any particular stored value system. Instead we have opened up our APIs and have left the task up to our users and 3rd party vendors to interface their hardware with our software.
Please contact PaperCut MF support if you'd like to get more information.
Does PaperCut MF interface with campus card systems such as Blackboard and CBORD?
Yes. Blackboard and CBORD are two popular campus cash card solutions. PaperCut MF has real-time connections with both these popular campus card systems (and others) via the payment gateways interfaces.
Having said that, real-time integration can be quite expensive to setup and many CBORD and Blackboard colleges have taken other integration approaches such as simply selling PaperCut Pre-Paid Top Up cards (e.g. a voucher) at venues around campus that accept payment with the campus card (e.g. cafeteria, book shop, etc.)
Purchasing, Pricing & Licensing
We've got lots of pricing and licensing questions for PaperCut MF answered here. Some of the questions are below:
- Why can't I purchase PaperCut MF direct online?
- Why is PaperCut MF's price not listed online like PaperCut NG?
- OK. But can you give me any guidance on price? Or a ballpark figure for budgeting?
- I've contacted a reseller and the price quoted seems expensive when compared to simple PaperCut NG. Why?
- I already run PaperCut NG. How do I upgrade? What will the cost change be?
- Is PaperCut MF support/upgrade assurance mandatory?
- What is the difference between an ASC and VAR?
- How do I contact a reseller (ASC or VAR)?
- What happens if I change copier/MFD/printer brands?
Plus a couple of extras that you might have…
You can download a trial of PaperCut NG, but why can't you do the same for PaperCut MF?
PaperCut MF goes right onto your printers and MFDs – often at a firmware level – so it's a bit more complex to install.
Because of this, we've partnered with a knowledgeable network of Authorized Solution Centers (ASCs) and resellers to help set up PaperCut MF just right for your environment. They also provide expert regional support, so you couldn't ask for a better team.
To get the ball rolling with PaperCut MF, or download a free 40-day trial of PaperCut NG, head here.
Copying only makes up a small percentage of my output. I find it hard to justify the extra cost to track this volume?
A very valid question and one we get all the time. Five or ten years ago copier use was the majority of paper output. Today printing and computer driven content dominates output (e.g. printing web pages!). We are aware that copy control is not for everyone and we encourage those sites to first start out with simple self-install print control with PaperCut NG.
There are however a few industry changes that are making copier control attractive again. The first is the move to embedded/on-board solutions. Embedded solutions are implemented in software at the device firmware layer and usually don't require extra hardware. This means that the cost of implementation and maintenance over time is much less. We'd encourage you to consider copier control and also look at the other benefits the system can provide such as secure device access, secure print release, tracking of scanning and minimization of waste, etc. Often the question administrators ask is not the cost to implement, but the cost of not implementing a complete solution that ties off all loopholes e.g. print once then copy many.
What is the difference between an ASC and VAR?
An Authorized Solution Center (ASC) is our most qualified reseller level. They are best thought of as local PaperCut specialists. We carefully select ASCs based on a set of criteria that carefully match PaperCut's own business approach:
- Independent - no alignment with a copier brand
- Experienced - Most ASCs have been in the copier control space for many years
- Skilled in both software and hardware
- Technically focused - not a marketing heavy organization
- Easy to get along with!
A value added resellers (VAR) is typically a company "in the trade" - a printer or copier vendor aligned organization such as copier/printer supplier, reseller, or MPS provider, where PaperCut MF forms an integral part of their solutions offerings. VARs usually either supply a limited PaperCut MF option (e.g. embedded solutions on their device) or partner with a PaperCut ASC to deliver a complete solution under one roof.
If I purchase PaperCut through my copier dealer, what happens if I change dealers when my lease/agreement expires?
All software licenses are made out in the end-user organization's name - not in the name of a reseller or a service provider. You are the licensor. This is in-line with software industry practice and it also makes sense given that 95% of what PaperCut MF does is installed on your server. If you switch printer or MFD supplier in the future, your PaperCut MF license will continue to work and is owned in your organization's name.
It should be mentioned that if your MFD models/makes change you will require from your current reseller the correct embedded software to suit the new makes/models. See changing copier/MFD brands FAQ in the Purchasing section.
In the event an alternate reseller to your current reseller wishes to offer PaperCut MF embedded on the newly proposed devices, then the only cost you will pay is for the embedded software on these newly proposed devices as supplied from the new reseller. In many instances to win your valued business a new supplier might bundle or fund the cost of the embedded software. In all cases the ownership of the software remains with the end user.
There is no reseller or Authorized Solution Center (ASC) in my area. How can I get PaperCut MF?
At the time of writing we have thousands of resellers operating in over 116 countries. We are working hard to ensure all PaperCut users no matter what language or part of the world they are in have access to the technologies in PaperCut MF. The world is however a big place and there are some regions/countries where we don't have Authorized Solution Centers or Resellers.
If you are in this position, please contact us first. On the server-side PaperCut MF is very easy to setup (you may for example already be running PaperCut NG) and it's on the copier side where you'll need setup assistance. In many cases your local copier supplier may qualify as a PaperCut MF reseller and with our support would be able to sign up and support your installation. Today we have global relationships with many MFD and printer manufacturers and hearing your interest in PaperCut will in most cases provide a positive response and approach to assisting you as we are assisting them. Most copier suppliers have the skills in-house to set up an embedded solution or copier terminal for the brands they supply and manage, therefore your key area of responsibility will be on the server side. As noted, PaperCut MF like PaperCut NG is very simple to install. Alternatively we may have an ASC or Reseller who services your area either under a remote support arrangement or in partnership with your local copier provider. Please let us know.
How can I become a reseller?
Wow. You've got this far in the FAQs for PaperCut MF and you're still reading? You will make a GREAT PaperCut reseller!
The PaperCut MF reseller program is limited to organizations that work in the IT industry and have strong experience with both hardware and software. This includes organizations like:
- Copier dealers/suppliers/resellers
- IT services companies (with skills in both hardware and software)
- Organizations providing managed print services (MPS)
- Organizations that specialize in print/copier cost recovery and print tracking
If you're interested in becoming a reseller, please apply on-line.
What support can I get from a VAR or ASC?
First of all, we should highlight that PaperCut server software is very easy to setup and support. The success of PaperCut in the self-download and install environment is testament to this ease-of-use. PaperCut MF is the same as PaperCut NG on the server-side and your in-house IT staff will be in an ideal position to install and support this area. Where support is often required is in the area of device (e.g. MFD) integration.
ASCs and VARs offer different levels of service. We recommend all sites deal with their ASC/VAR for 1st level support, however the door is always open for any PaperCut users to contact us directly for support. PaperCut Software also works closely with our resellers and many advanced issues are often elevated through to us.
VAR (value added reseller):
VARs are able to assist you with the installation and setup of embedded solutions and/or configuration of their hardware options. VARS are also able to assist with basic PaperCut setup tasks. Usually VARs will ask you to install PaperCut MF on your server (like you would for PaperCut NG) and then come in and configure the device (MFDs, Copier, embedded software).
ASC (Authorized Solution Center):
ASCs are able to provide any layer of support ranging from assistance for your own deployment project all the way up to complete deployment planning and project management. PaperCut works closely with all ASCs to ensure they are able to support the majority of customers across all technologies. An ASC should be able to help you with all aspects of any project, ranging from:
- Architecture and design
- Project management
- Staff training
- Considerations and effect
- Software installation (from small servers to clusters)
- Configuring copiers via hardware or embedded
- Online payment gateway configuration
- Self-serve hardware payment options
- Testing, sign-off and hand-over
- Ongoing support and contact
Is PaperCut MF support/upgrade assurance mandatory?
Premium Upgrade Assurance (PUA) is mandatory for the first year and strongly advised for subsequent years. The less-short answer: If you opt to discontinue support and upgrade assurance after the first year (or any subsequent year for that matter), you won’t have access to any further upgrades. Similarly, compatibility with future driver or operating system updates cannot be guaranteed. Also, active PUA is required for any additions to an existing PaperCut MF license. And if you’re using add-on services such as Scan to Cloud Storage and OCR, PUA is required to activate these services. So, while PUA’s not compulsory, it’s pretty important and highly recommended!
In addition to PaperCut Premium Upgrade Assurance, resellers and Authorized Solution Centers (ASCs) will offer additional value added support and professional services at their standard rates of the day. Determination of whether you should take up these services is yours, however we can advise as needed on the value our ASCs bring.
Have more questions?
No problem! After all this FAQ covers only frequently asked questions and it's often the less frequently asked questions that are the important ones. Shoot us an email and we'll get back to you. You may also find the general PaperCut FAQ and Knowledge Base useful.