We have come a long way since the photocopier was first introduced in 1959. With the introduction of the digital revolution in the 1980s we saw the photocopier evolve into the multi-function device, becoming a centre of productivity. As time progressed devices became faster, interconnected, and produced and scanned better quality images, ensuring a growth in productivity and cost savings. However, there is a limit to when the advancement of devices’ physical features start to become more of a marketing gimmick than an actual value proposition. For example, we don’t need the world’s fastest machine when the average document length is only 8 pages.  So what is the next evolutionary step?

We are now entering into a new phase of smart technologies, with smart phones, smart televisions and even smart white goods. So where is our smart MFP? The good news is that the technology has been around for a couple of years now with the introduction of the Java platform on most leading brands. Only now is the market starting to catch up with developers and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) hopping on board with the smart revolution band wagon, with the introduction of new user interfaces and apps to truly revolutionise the way we work.

It’s important to point out that I’m not just referring to straight OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technologies which have been around for years, but rather an end-to-end document hub to personalise and streamline the way you use the device.  Let me give you an example:

You walk up to your office MFP, scan your ID card, and receive a set of on screen tools that are personalised to you. Your email, your folder, your cloud drive (e.g. Google Drive, Skydrive, Evernote etc.), all your projects on your document management system, are all there at your fingertips. You can scan your regular documents in (such as vendor Invoices), and see the document type recognised, data extracted, then sent to your data and/or document management system, all at the push of a single button.

Through this open platform we’re seeing VARs (Value Add Resellers) working closely with developers, or even investing in R&D themselves, to produce a product that is, customised to your business context and, at the forefront of innovative productivity solutions.

We have now moved beyond speeds, quality and interconnectivity, and taken the next evolutionary step towards greater productivity through software.