How technology can help design professionals adapt post-COVID

To see the same number of clients and do the same number of jobs, we need to adapt. HP's new large-format printers are designed for a new socially distanced world.

Any architect who has had to negotiate the new one-way systems on construction sites will know site visits often take much longer than they used to. But that doesn’t stop them being important.

Physically standing in front of an on-site challenge and discussing it with the manager usually gets you to a solution much faster than a chain of emails, photo attachments and phone calls ever could.
Now, however, site visits, client consultations, meetings with colleagues and all the other interactions required to get the job done are also more complicated – and take longer – because of social distancing. Which all means less time in front of your workstation getting on with the job of designing the structures your clients want built.

Digital transformation is only part of the answer

One of the ways in which architects have responded to this challenge is to accelerate the pace of their digital transformation. Many firms, for instance, have given staff the tools they need to work remotely. In the UK, one-fifth of architects say all their staff are now working remotely, and 60% say at least some employees are working from home.

At the same time, architects are automating their workflows to reduce or eliminate manual work through an ongoing process of digital transformation. These efforts include the adoption of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA), which automate manual work and bring the intelligence of data analytics to design and decision making.

Digital transformation also includes innovations such as wearable tech, geolocation, and the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to gather data and monitor site conditions.

All these innovations can help accelerate work rates and save time. Enabling staff digitally so they can work away from base makes social distancing at the office easier when clients do visit. However, by themselves, these technology-based measures are not enough.

Once you have digitised everything that can be digitised, the proportion of time taken up by the remaining physical elements of the job is greater than ever. In the post-COVID era, this leaves architects with two main challenges: how to make these physical processes faster and more efficient and how to make them socially distanced and safe.

And chief among the physical processes in question is printing.

Large-format printing for post-COVID architectural work

Printing schematics, artistic concept renderings and other large-format print jobs is a standard part of any architect’s day. It can also be a time-consuming one. What’s needed now is a printer seamlessly integrated into the workflow for a digitally streamlined, post-COVID age.

This is why HP has recently released its new HP DesignJet T200, T600 and Studio Printer series. All three new product ranges have been designed from the ground up to be low-touch, and the easiest and most efficient way to maintain large-format printers, ever.

Adaptions to meet the needs of architects in the post-COVID world include:

• Easy document set-up: print multiple files, at any supported size, in just a single click with no extensive manual configuration.

• Smart multi-size printouts: with an A3 print tray and an integrated A3 workflow, these new printers let you print at any size from A4 up to A0, without time-consuming manual reconfiguration.

• Work anywhere, any time: print from any connected device, whether you’re in the office, at home, on site or in transit, so your printouts are always ready and waiting.

These ranges also include some of the most compact large-format printers ever made. In fact, the HP DesignJet T200 24-in series printers are up to 18% smaller than competing products, making them the world’s smallest large-format plotters. This makes them perfect for staff who are working remotely, as they can be installed in home offices where space isn’t as abundant as it is in the studio.

Taken together, these features deliver real flexibility — allowing your colleagues and even your partners to print remotely and collect their documents quickly, with the minimum amount of configuration and almost no physical contact with the printer. They're perfect for the new socially distanced office.

Perhaps even more importantly, the easy-set and print submission combined with the printers’ reliability helps you accelerate the physical task of printing in the same way you’ve already accelerated other digital processes.

“These new large-format printers are specifically designed to help architects and other design-led professions be as efficient and operate as intelligently as their customers and the market demands,” says Colin Easton, Large Format Printing Channel Manager at HP UK. “This also makes them ideal for architects looking for smarter ways to operate in the post-COVID era. In addition, they are also highly cost effective and environmentally friendly, allowing you to save up to 95% on ink costs for routine maintenance compared to the competition and reducing emissions from large-format printing by up to 7.3 tons a year.”

To discover more about the HP DesignJet T200, T600 and Studio Printer series and how their design can streamline modern working, please click here