Stellar Startups: Saving money by printed pixel

PretonSaver uses a specially developed optimizer to remove the excess print toner/ink; CEO: A page using PretonSaver will look the same as one printed without the application, but it will use as much as 50% less ink/toner.

311_PretonSaver CEO (photo credit: Courtesy)
311_PretonSaver CEO
(photo credit: Courtesy)
There’s always a way to do it cheaper: The more you examine a situation, the more likely it is you’ll come up with a creative solution to get what you need done, and for less money. It’s just a matter of getting down to the small details.
And in the case of the PretonSaver ink and toner saver suite, those details are really small: As small as the pixels on a printed page! Those pixels may be tiny, says Ori Eizenberg, CEO of Israeli startup Preton, but the savings can be huge.
“Some of our European customers tell us they save as much as €200,000 a month in printing costs using our printing management suite,” he says.
Ingeniously taking advantage of a discrepancy between computer screens and printers, PretonSaver software is saving money for companies around the world.
“Many companies are spending as much as 3 percent of their net income on printing,” Eizenberg says, spending money on paper, ink, toner and other printing-related consumables.
“Companies like HP make so much of their money from these consumables,” he says. “HP alone makes about $30 billion annually from ink and toner.”
And, rumors of the paperless office notwithstanding, the number of pages being printed – and the amount of money companies spend on printing – has skyrocketed in recent years. According to industry analysts, the consumption of cutsized paper (letter, A4, etc.) doubled between 1996 and 2003. And printers are more ubiquitous than ever; there are now four users to a printer in the average enterprise, another sign that more stuff is being printed than ever.
Eizenberg says he became aware of the problem about seven years ago, working with companies on cutting printing costs.
“Company after company told me that they were spending a lot of money on printing, but they had no idea how much,” he says. “We decided to work on an application that would help these companies save money, and after examining the basic mechanics of printing, we figured it out and came up with a method to save as much as 40% of the wasted ink or toner on a page.”
It turns out, Eizenberg says, that there is a disconnect between what you see on a computer screen and what you see on a piece of paper that is supposed to be a printout of that screen. They may look alike, but they’re far different.
“Computer screens display text and graphics with little squares, but printers print text and graphics using dots,” he says. “When data is printed, the screen’s square is converted to a dot, with the printer drawing a circle around the square.”
The circles overlap in order to ensure that the image or text appears properly, with ink of each adjacent dot piled on the adjacent squares.
The result: significant ink/toner overuse, running up costs.
PretonSaver uses a specially developed optimizer to remove the excess toner/ink. Using patent-pending algorithms, the program determines where the overprint is and removes it; any empty spaces are taken care of with a special bleed/smear feature (for inkjet/laser printers) that uses ink on the page as fill-in. A page using PretonSaver will look the same as one printed without the application, Eizenberg says, but it will use as much as 50% less ink/toner.
Besides fussing with pixels, Preton- Saver uses other strategies to cut printing costs: Managers can monitor network use of printers, gathering statistics on who prints what from which application or computer, as well as implementing user rules on limiting the number of pages and/or the applications from which pages can be printed.
The software comes in three editions, for companies with as few as six computers, to an enterprise edition for companies with more than 500 computers.
Preton has been selling its solution around the world since 2005. Besides its local Tel Aviv headquarters, the company maintains a full-time office in Japan. Among its customers are large corporations and governments, including Korea’s Samsung, Japan’s Tokai, the State of Ohio, government offices in Hong Kong, the Prime Minister’s Office, Israel Electric Corporation and many European banks.
“We now have 40 distributors around the world,” Eizenberg says.
“Over 3 billion pages are printed annually with our software.”
Besides saving money, more efficient printing can save the environment, he says, adding: “People may not be aware of it, but printing is the second largest polluter in North America, after transportation. During its life cycle – from manufacture to disposal or recycling – a ton of paper emits 6.3 tons of greenhouse gases, when you take manufacture, transport and other factors into consideration. And a ton of paper isn’t all that much. We’re here to save businesses money.”
At least in this case, business and the environment are on the same side.