I was standing at one of our Canon MFDs this morning getting ready to scan a few items into my Google Doc’s (aka: Canon Cloud Portal) when it struck me…..blog topic. Not so much a blog on Google per se, but just an overall rant on embedded apps themselves and how we got to this point. Over the past several years the traditional MFD has really evolved and users are looking for these devices to provide more than just the standard copy, scan, and print functions.
Five to six years ago, I can recall how excited people were to be connected to a network printer. Yes, the technology had been around for quite some time but nonetheless many businesses were still getting around to adopting it at that time. Following that, all the rage focused on simple scan to folder technologies which utilized manufacturer specific applications to bridge the protocol gap consisting mostly of FTP. Scan to email and scan to folder via SMB (Server Message Block) followed shortly thereafter and are still the primary transfer methods in most offices. So what are we looking at now? Embedding apps that directly interface with our critical business applications.
Let’s look at Microsoft’s SharePoint for instance. There are many ways to get your crucial data into this application but with today’s technology you can directly interface using a variety of methods from your MFD. eCopy, which has an embedded client, has maintained connectors for quite some time that allow for seamless integration and not to mention it works across both the Ricoh/Savin and Canon platforms. Canon themselves have even developed their own SharePoint connector for ADVANCE Series devices.
Many businesses out there have print costs in mind and have put initiatives in place to track items. Even this type of software can now be embedded in your MFD such as Canon’s uniFLOW, Savin’s Print Director, PaperCut, and Equitrac. All jobs whether copy, print, or scan can now be tracked with this underlying software without any bulky add-ons to the MFD. Since these apps are Java based, it makes for an easy deployment in mixed manufacturer environments as embedded clients are provided for most manufacturers.
So, regardless of how you are using your MFD today, just be aware that embedded programs exist that can help you directly connect with your business applications. Java has allowed MFD manufactures to provide us with a wealth of new applications and it’s time to start using them to your advantage.