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Integrating MFPs With Enterprise Applications

As multifunction printers (MFPs) replace standalone printers, copiers, scanners and fax machines, resellers and systems integrators will find themselves facing greater demands to integrate and customize MFPs' capabilities in customers' document-workflow and management systems.

Canon's Multifunction Embedded Application Platform (MEAP) enables building of customized document applications that integrate hard-copy operations directly into the workflow of enterprise-software applications. Using Canon's Java-based MEAP development toolkit, developers can design software applications, link them dynamically to unique customer workflows and run them internally within Canon MEAP-enabled ImageRunner hardware. MEAP applications are capable of displaying their own unique user interface on Canon ImageRunner operation panels, offering considerable integration possibilities.

The ShareScan OP (Open Platform) from eCopy is the first commercial application for Canon's MEAP. Using ShareScan OP, organizations can provide open access to scanning from an MEAP-enabled ImageRunner that connects to e-mail, fax, document management and other networked enterprise applications for easy, instantaneous distribution and management of digital copies of paper documents.

MEAP-enabled devices can be managed from a central location. Administrators can change distribution lists, applications available to each user of an ImageRunner device, security policies and more. Centralized document control is of heightened importance in these days of HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley and other information accountability laws. Customers will pay well for solutions who protect them against legal actions.

Other vendors, such as Lexmark, offer proprietary customization software for their MFPs. But Canon's MEAP sets a standard for open, embedded application-development platforms that enable resellers to create unique applications for their own customers and for licensing to others. Expect other vendors to follow suit in time, with eventual software standards that enable applications to run on any vendor's hardware.

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