Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nuance Announces eCopy ShareScan 5

After Canon previewed the product at September's Canon Expo, Nuance has officially announced eCopy ShareScan 5. This is the first major release of ShareScan since Nuance acquired eCopy just over a year ago. It leverages Nuance's OCR technology to create scan-to-Office, forms processing, and auto-highlight and -redaction options right from the MFP touchscreen. It also offers some improved centralized admin capabilties for better management of distributed capture implementations.

Long-time eCopy partner Canon is the first MFP vendor to make ShareScan 5 available through its salesforce and channels. The Canon press release (available through the link) does a good job explaining the different levels of the ShareScan that are now available.

In our upcoming premium issue, we will discuss some of the other moves eCopy has made and is making to help increase the market for both ShareScan and the Connectors developed by its ISV partners.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

IBML Announces Next Generation of ImageTracs

The Birmingham, AL-based high-speed document scanner manufacturer has released an updated version of its popular ImageTrac line. The 5000 series is the successor to the III and IV lines, which were launched a few years back, with the ImageTrac III, eventually renamed the 3, upgraded multiple times over the years. "The 3 has pretty much run its course," acknowledged Derrick Murphy, president of IBML.

Yes, the 5000 series is slightly faster than the III and IV, rated at either 257 ppm or 429 ppm at 200 dpi, depending which version you choose. But, even though its scanners are very fast, IBML has always been about more than speed. And the new 5300 and 5400 models feature ergonomic and usability improvements as well. The new design also makes it less expensive for users to add sorting pockets in some cases. We'll have more complete coverage on these new devices in our next premium edition of the newsletter.

Ricoh Leverages Microsoft Distributed Scan Management

Ricoh Americas has announced that is has developed an MFP scan management app, based on Microsoft's Distributed Scan Management (DSM) tools that are included in Windows Server 2008 R2. DSM can be used to configure scannning processes, like scan-to-SharePoint, Exchange, or file systems folders. Once configured on a user's server, these processes can now be accessed through DSM compatible Ricoh MFPs.

According to Ron Albeck, Manager, Capture & Distribution Marketing, for Ricoh Americas Corporation, "The technology is very robust for a customer who only wants live in the MS world. It gives them complete control of their MFP from their 2008 R2 server to allow or disallow what each user can do with a complete audit trail."

There is currently no OCR available, but apparently Microsoft has owned up DSM to ISVs, like Nuance, ABBYY, and others, that can develop OCR integration with it. I'll have more on DSM in my next premium issue.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Gartner Magic Quadrant Update

If you receive my premium newsletter, you saw Friday that I ran an article on Gartner's new report on the ECM Magic Quadrant. We mentioned that Hyland, Laserfiche, and Perceptive, three ISVs with document imaging-focused products, all made significant moves up and/or to the right, which is where you want to be on these charts. We apparently erred, however, in explaining Hyland's move. Hyland actually moved from a challenger to a leader in the ECM  market. It is now grouped with heavy hitters like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, EMC, and Open Text.

We thought this was an interesting quote from CEO A.J. Hyland in the company's press release: “To us, product vision isn’t only about what you choose to do. It’s just as much about what you choose not to do."

A couple other interesting points that I didn't have room for in the newsletter:
1. Xerox made a significant move from a "niche player" to a "visionary," primarily, from what I can tell, due to its acquisition of ACS last year.
2. One metric that may have helped imaging companies, and I take as a sign of the recognition of imaging's importance in the ECM market (finally) is that imaging-processing related apps retained their weight of accounting for 15% of Gartner's rating, while document management and WCM each dropped off 5%. Also, BPM, which is strength of most ISVs with imaging-focused products, gained 5%, as did "Extended Components," which I'm assuming (but am not sure) could include document capture.

If you want to download a copy of Gartner's report, go to the Hyland link above and there is a link on their site for downloading the report.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Latest on ABBYY-Nuance Lawsuit

Apparently, ABBYY's parent company is back in the lawsuit, being brought by Nuance over OCR patent infringement. According to this blog post, both ABBYY 's Cyprus and Russian location, which had previously been dismissed from the suit, have been ruled back in play. The case, which was originally filed in 2008 is currenlty being played out  in United States District Court for the Northern District of California under (case no. 08-CV-2912) Judge Jeffrey S. White.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CVision Releases PDF Compressor 5.0 with SuperFast OCR

CVision has leveraged its pattern recognition expertise to develop what it terms as "Super Fast" OCR in the latest version of its PDF Compressor software. The software is named "PDF Compressor" because of its ability to create very small PDF files from scanned images. This is achieved through the application of segmenting and JBIG compression.

In PDF Compressor 5.0 CVision, an ISV based in Queens, NY, utilizes inter- and intra-page font learning to accelerate the OCR process. According to CVision founder and CEO Ari Gross, "We can apply OCR 10 times faster than [a leading OCR vendor], with the same accuracy."

PDF Compressor 5.0 also features a "Super Accurate" mode that leverages font learning. In this mode, CVision boasts a 5-10% accuracy increase over leading OCR engines. This is based on word accuracy.

It's probably important to note that CVision does not develop its own OCR technology. Rather, for PDF Compressor, it licenses Nuance's OCR toolkit and improves upon it with its proprietary technology.

PDF Compressor is a mature products with an install base in the thousands. There are versions available that can be integrated into the workflows of leading capture platforms from Kofax, EMC Captiva, and Oracle.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Open Text Licenses Oracle Archiving SDS

Not exactly sure what this means, but according to the press release, "Open Text is obtaining a technology and distribution license specifically for the Oracle Universal Online Archive Content Management SDK. As part of this agreement, Open Text can embed Oracle technology in its products, allowing the company to fully utilize the capabilities of Oracle Database 11g as an enterprise content repository. This will also permit rapid uptake of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g and other Oracle platform capabilities."

Here's the way I understand it, and this may be wrong: Open Text has always been a Microsoft shop, running on SQL databases, but now wants to work with Oracle databases as well. Of course, Documentum has been a long-time user of Oracle databases, and after the Stellent acquisition, Oracle has its own ECM technology to run on its database.  But, as far as Oracle is concerned, the more ECM systems that leverage its database, the better. And Open Text does have a large install base--including a lot of SAP customers and a deep SAP partnership, which really makes the expanded Oracle-Open Text partnership interesting, because, of course, SAP and Oracle are at each other's throats in the ERP market. And, we all assumed SAP was going to buy Open Text. So, maybe that's not the case anymore?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Top Image Systems Reports Profitable Third Quarter

Tel Aviv-based document capture software specialist Top Image Systems continued its trend of profitability in its recently completed third quarter. For the three months ended Sept. 30, TIS reported "Non-GAAP net income of $0.95 million or $0.09 per diluted share, compared to $0.60 million or $0.05 per diluted share (the year previous). "TIS also reported "Positive cash flow from operations of $1.10 million, compared to $0.25 million; and Adjusted EBITDA of $1.0 million compared to $0.70 million."

This is all good news for TIS, which after seven consecutive profitable quarters now has $3.65 million in the bank, a decent turnaround for a company that spent several years focused on growth, while losing money. Interestingly, the company has actually gotten smaller during its profitable run and third-quarter revenue was $5.4 million, compared to $5.9 million for the 2009 third quarter. For the year, TIS is now predicting
"revenues to be between $21.5 and $21.8 million." compared to $23.5 miillion in 2009 and $32.2 million in 2008. However, the 2008 revenue especially was inflated by lower-margin low-end software/third-party sales related to TIS's acquisition of AsiaSoft. TIS has spent the last two years divesting itself of the lower-margin stuff and re-focusing on its higher-end data capture and digital mailroom business. The result has been the increased profitability.

All this is playing out against TIS' efforts to keep its stock trading on the Nasdaq, by getting the share price over $1.00 a share for a period of consecutive days. This week, it reached $1 for the first time in a while, but had fallen somewhere in the upper $.90s as of this post. Nonetheless the stock spike and profitable quarter, in continued tough economic times would appear good signs for TIS.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Kofax Introduces New "Elite" Version of VRS

Not sure how Kofax is going to market this, or how it fits in with the VRS Standard and Professional lines, but the new VRS Elite version certainly has some intriguing features. These include centralized licensing for better control over distributed capture apps, device monitoring capabilties, and automatic profile creation, as well as some improved image processing algorithms.

VRS, of course, has been a tremendously successful product for Kofax over the years, basically creating the market for grayscale thresholding on document images. It's bundled with scanners from leading vendors like Fujitsu, Kodak (on the products picked up from Bell + Howell) and Canon, and many shops have standardized on it. However, last year's decline in scanner sales definitely hit Kofax's VRS business, and despite some discussion about, Kofax still hasn't found a way to really leverage VRS in MFP scanning environments- which account for an ever-increasing segement of the capture market. We hope to have more coverage of VRS Elite in an upcoming premium edition.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Lockheed Delivers DRIS Info to Census Bureau

With all the publicity surrounding cost overruns surrounding the 2010 U.S. Census, it's good to hear that Lockheed Martin has completed the Decennial Response Integration System (DRIS) contract on scheudle and under budget. "Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] made its final set of deliveries for the population count—which included data from more than 165 million 2010 Census forms—to the U.S. Census Bureau," said a recent press release.

The release touts the delivery as the culmination of a six-year effort, which was covered extensively in DIR. Here's a story we did in Feb. of this year when things were about to go live. It dicusses the deployment of some 45 IBML ImageTrac IV scanners at three sites, which were used to scan the forms in color. The 2010 Census marked the second time, image-based data collection technology was used. And it seems like a smashing success, especially when compared to alternative data collection technologies like mobile computing, which was tried and failed this time around--accounting for an increase in the number for forms handled by DRIS. 

We also expect digital images to be accepted by NARA this year for the first time, for long-term archiving, saving millions in microfilm costs.

PDF/A-2 Standard on Way

LuraTech recently sent us this link explaining some of the new features in the upcoming PDF/A-2 standard. PDF/A is the electronic document archiving standard that was approved by ISO in 2005, but to date as seen limited adoption in North America. The PDF/A Competence Center, of which LuraTech is a member, is hoping to change that.

The technical work on PDF/A-2 is apparently finished with the standard set to be published in early 2011. PDF/A-2 can be used on more complex documents including those with JPEG 2000 compression, open font types, and those including document collections. Overall, it should make PDF/A a more versatile standard and help drive more adoption.