Labels are hard to overcome. Since their advent, document scanners have been labeled a peripheral, an accessory to the more primary device, the PC. For years, this was deserved. The scanner’s functions were useless without the tether to a PC, the destination for their output. Most document scanner innovation has focused on delivering features for higher resolution, speed, and the handling of different types of documents. Though scanner hardware has evolved to include wi-fi connectivity, eliminating the need for a physical connection, that label has stuck, limiting people’s expectations of the potential for the device to a single purpose: scan.
Those expectations have also limited imagination for the problems the scanner can solve. Every solution is presented in the context of output to a personal computer or server. Scan-to-FTP, scan-to-email, scan-to-folder. The language self-imposes limits on the device. The scanner scans and then sends the document elsewhere do the rest of the work.
Usually priced close to a new desktop or laptop, so little is expected of it. Meanwhile, we expect so much from our PCs. At any given time, I have Outlook, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, as many as 20 tabs in Chrome, and several other applications open, totaling over 100 processes, millions of instructions per second, without a complaint from my computer.
Yet inside each scanner resides a comparably powerful computer, its horsepower remaining largely underutilized. In the case of the Kodak S2080w, it contains embedded dual core cortex A15 Processors, with dual DSP Image processors and multiple cortex M4 sub-processors, which, combined, can perform many functions more efficiently than the newest desktops. But on most desks in most offices, they sit patiently dormant, waiting to be fed paper, to run one of only a few of the aforementioned “scan-to” processes at a time before going back to sleep, feeling undeservedly complacent. Framed that way, the scanner could be viewed one of the biggest underachievers in technology.
Trends in automation have created new opportunities for many traditionally peripheral or single-purpose devices. The power of graphics cards is being used to mine Bitcoin. External hard drives are being transformed into Cloud NAS solutions. Scanners are still sitting on the outside, looking in, waiting for their turn, while humbly possessing the firepower needed to make a difference. Why should traditional computers bear the burden of post-capture processing alone?
The document scanner’s time has come. We’re aiming to redefine our expectations of what these powerful, compact devices can do to improve our businesses; reimagining the possible outputs. Scanners can, and should, be more integrated in the business, becoming more than just a box on your desk, but, rather, a co-worker, a contributor, a solution.
The INfuse Smart Connected Scanning Solution marks the document scanner’s emergence as more than just a one-trick-pony peripheral, but as a fully integrated solution in your business process, able to provide and receive feedback from applications via a two-way API, initiating workflows, and speaking the language of your applications and your team. A dedicated data channel sends finished files directly to their destination, not through a PC or server, minimizing handling, time, cost, and potential points-of-compromise for hackers. Management software enables control of any device, from anywhere with an internet connection.
It’s time for scanners to start showing what they’re capable of. Learn more about INfuse today.