ECopy's Advanced Document Scanning For The Masses

While production-level scanning requires dedicated operators who understand all the intricacies of a scanning system, ad hoc scanning is the everyday scanning done by anyone in an office. For massive batch scanning, production scanning is still the best method; however, when networked into a directory service, ad hoc scanning solutions can pass data to any enterprise application that communicates with the scanning application.

A typical eCopy user sees a simple set of forms presented by eCopy&'s ShareScan that allows them to add information. Depending on the scanner type and manufacturer, either an external touch panel or a copier&'s LCD presents these forms. For instance, Canon has an embedded application platform for integrating applications inside a touch panel, so Canon copiers can arrive with ShareScan built into their displays. ShareScan starts at $2,995.

For manufacturers without that capability, eCopy offers the ScanStation copier, which includes a built-in touch panel on an extension arm and a keyboard. When users hit “scan and mail,” ShareScan displays a preview of each page.

Copier manufacturers often have limits in their embedded copying solutions. Green button scanning, as it is called by manufacturers, not only pulls pages through a feeder but also sends scanned jobs over e-mail or to network folder destinations. This process is inflexible because it does not allow additional pages to be included in the middle of a job, nor settings to be changed.

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ShareScan does not have such limitations. On large jobs, ShareScan users can take advantage of a “scan more” button to build jobs that are larger than the feeder of a copier. If a copier holds 50 pages in its feeder, users can scan 50 pages and then scan 50 more pages in the feeder. Users are also not limited to a continuous job and can add intermediate scans of different page sizes between large scans. In fact, ShareScan users can build any combination of scans into a single job.

ShareScan provides access to all internal settings such as paper size, resolution, output page type, single- or double-sided pages and all other standard scanning options that are available in most TWAIN devices.

Any additional data presented to users is passed to forms through an API. For instance, user authentication integrates with realtime network authentication directories. If credentials fail, the whole process comes to a halt. Because there are no dedicated individuals scanning documents, authentication is an important step in the process. This feature complies with HIPAA.

When a user views a folder, sends a scanned document or passes it to another user, ShareScan extracts the necessary information from a document management system such as Interwoven or an e-mail server such as Microsoft Exchange. ShareScan provides dynamic lists from these systems, so the views do not need to be managed.

The company launched a channel program in January called eCopy Solutions Providers that is aimed at VARs selling document imaging and document management systems. The company provides installation assistance via phone, e-mail or its Web site. Additional professional services contracts can be purchased to assist in particular customer installations.

Improving customers&' document imaging capabilities allows them to use more devices for scanning. For VARs, that equates to additional licenses that can be sold for related fax servers and document management systems, as well as additional storage products.