Monday, March 19, 2012

Zero Footprint and Mobile Scanning

The concept of capturing a document without having to utilize a traditional scan client is emerging as a hot topic in our market. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with former ImageSource CTO Shadwick White, who recently launched a start-up CloudPower that is focused on creating cloud-based ECM solutions utilizing next-generation tools. This includes leveraging technology from vendors like Box.net and Google to create innovative ECM solutions. Of course true to his roots, White is also working on some proprietary zero-footprint scanning technology that he plans to debut shortly.

Zero footprint scanning was also a topic at the recent Kofax Transform conference, as Kofax was promoting the newest version of the DotImage SDK that is acquired with Atalasoft last year. Atalasoft has always promoted zero-footprint document viewing, but  historically, its scanning has been done with an ActiveX TWAIN driver. Atalasoft is apparently working on some Java-based scanning technology that will enable it to do "minimal footprint" scanning at least.

Remember Kofax's Document Scan Server? That was actually some pioneering technology in the area of zero-footprint scanning, as it leveraged Web-services calls to move images from a utility attached to a scanner to server-based apps. Kofax actually showed it way back at AIIM 2006. When I caught up with CTO Anthony Macciola at Transform, he indicated that the DSS initiative is still alive but that it originally failed due to technology costs at the time.

"Atalasoft has a mandate to try and achieve zero footprint scanning," Macciola told me. "In fact, the next release of its SDK will have a browser plug-in that will interrogate the system and user has, and if they have the right components, such as Silverlight running on Windows 7, they might not need to use a driver to scan. As the Windows OS matures, it's possible zero footprint scanning could be even more common."

And, of course, EMC Pixel has released its Captiva Cloud Toolkit, which is designed to enable ISVs with cloud applications to capture without traditional drivers. Instead of a traditional ISIS driver, there is a Web services-oriented piece loaded onto the PC connected to a scanner. The cloud-based piece of the SDK can make calls this PC-based software to drive a scanner. When we spoke with EMC's Sean Baird late last year, he indicated that several hardware vendors and some ISVs as well were working with this SDK.

So, there's quite a bit being done to move scanner drivers into the 21st century it appears, not to mention all the mobile capture stuff where drivers are actually replaced by apps.

1 comment:

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