Monday, May 15, 2006

AIIM 2006

So, I'm stuck here in the Erie Airport, waiting for my departing flight to Philly - what a great time to blog. Yup, headin' down to AIIM On Demand - the second year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. I actually enjoyed last year's show immensely and found Philadelphia easy to get around. (Sorry for any mistakes that follow, need to go through security. We're moving.)

Apparently, there are some T-storms going on this way. Hope your flight isn't too badly delayed. Fortunately, I'm flying direclty there and not using it as a connection, because (Philly is a U.S. Air hub), the people in front of me in line were really screwed up. I'm just going to use my down time here as a substitute for sitting in Starbucks this afternoon and catching up on things and prepping for the show. (Flight from Philly just landed close to on time, but still we're delayed for an hour. Don't quite get it, but oh well.)

Two interesting announcements in preparation for the show this week. The first comes from Kofax, which has finally officially announced it Document Scan Server. The Scan Server is a hardware/software appliance designed to replace ISIS and TWAIN drivers with SOA calls directly to the device. In other words, instead of having to configure a TWAIN interface into your accounting application, you can just write some SOA/Web services calls to get the image. Like a lot of things these days, the Scan Server is designed to bring document imaging further into the mainstream. "No longer do you need a developer that specializes in ISIS or TWAIN, now you can get any engineer that knows standards-based Web services to do you image enablement [enable your application to receive document images directly from a scanner]." That's a big of a paraphrase, but that's pretty much what Anthony Macciola of Kofax told us. It's an interesting venture by Kofax, whose Image Controls driver business has morphed into VRS, and which has cooperted very closely with ISIS Master Developer Pixel over the past few years. It appears Kofax wants its driver buisness back. It definitely has the partnerships with the scanner vendors in place to make this happen.

Kofax partners seem pretty excited about the Document Scan Server, and we recently had an opportunity to talk with an integrator that has had the Boy Scouts of America commit to buying like 250 Scan Servers. Kofax preliminary pricing was $1,000 per unit - but they stressed that volume discounts will be made. The ROI comes in the areas of integration and maitenance, as the Scan Server is designed to enable true server-based deployment and maiteance of Server-based capture. Plenty more on this in my next issue, which comes out tomorrow.

Interestingly, Datacap also made an SOA-centric announcment today. It make it TaskMaster flagship application available as a service. (I apologize, I couldn't find it as a link, so here's the complete text:

Datacap Releases Taskmaster Web Service,
the Industry’s First SOA Capture Solution


On Demand Image Processing, Recognition, Validations and
Export Formatting for any Platform

May 15, 2006, Tarrytown, NY – Datacap announced today the release of Taskmaster Web Service, a new approach for users to capture document images via the Internet. Whether an organization is running FileNet Capture, Kofax Ascent Capture or another capture product, they can expand their capture capabilities whenever and wherever needed simply by calling the Web service.

“Datacap continually leverages key technology developments to provide maximum flexibility to organizations looking to increase data-entry and document-indexing efficiency and accuracy,” said Datacap CEO Scott Blau. “Taskmaster Web Service brings a whole new level of flexibility. Users can take advantage of Datacap’s procedural rules engine to control document identification, field recognition, data validation, and export formatting – all without any programming.

Taskmaster Web Service takes advantage of the Service Oriented Architecture trend to decouple traditional forms processing and advanced document capture capabilities from the capture platform. This makes it easy to set up rules that will run exactly the same on documents whether they are scanned locally or remotely, whether they are processed in one capture system, such as Kofax Ascent Capture, or another, like Datacap Taskmaster. Simplified rules administration – without programming – means less administrative overhead for a capture application. Centralized, Web-service based processing also makes it easier to monitor multiple capture applications efficiently sharing the same resources.

Those using FileNet Capture, Kofax Ascent Capture or other capture platforms can use Taskmaster Web Service to add enhanced capture capabilities not standard in their existing platforms. As user needs change, organizations can add the capture pieces they need via the Web Service. Taskmaster Web Service integrates with third party capture platforms and can easily provide added capabilities, saving organizations the expense and effort of replacing their existing capture investment.

An early adopter of the Taskmaster Web Service has built an application that sends fax images to the Service to capture addressee information with advanced recognition. The fax management application was developed independently as a Microsoft .NET executable. The functionality for natural handwriting recognition was added with only a few lines of code to call the Web Service and interpret the results.

Availability
Taskmaster Web Service is available immediately. For pricing and system requirements, contact Datacap at sales@datacap.com.

Comment: This application would seem to be the perfect compliment to the Document Scan Server, as it puts the entire data capture portion of document imaging on a servier - makes it available as a service. So, once you capture the image with one of these Scan Servers, you feed it to Datacap and off you go.

Ralph

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