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Canon Introduces Capture App for MFDs

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Canon has released a new scanning application for its imageRUNNER ADVANCE MFDs. uniFLOW Capture was introduced as part of uniFLOW V5.3, announced last month. Capture can be installed with uniFLOW—which is primarily a network print management tool, or as a standalone application.

“uniFLOW has had a scan module for some time,” said Tom O’Neill, director of product marketing for enterprise solutions at Canon USA’s Business Imaging and Solutions Group. “But, with this release we have made scanning extremely easy.”

uniFLOW Capture can run on a PC or server and is accessed at the device touchscreen through Canon’s MEAP interface. It offers features like the usual scan-to destinations, including e-mail, desktops, and now multiple cloud services. The interface can be customized so each user only sees relevant scanning options and jobs. This customization has “follow-me” capabilities, meaning that users can access their personal screens on any uniFLOW connected device.

“There are new wizards in uniFLOW that make setting up scanning jobs much easier, including scan-to-print,” said O’Neill. “There is also a new scan accounting feature to accommodate users like law firms that charge for scanning.”

uniFLOW Capture offers advanced scanning features that were created utilizing the technology Canon Europe acquired last year with I.R.I.S. These features include zonal OCR, conversion to Office formats, barcode recognition, PDF output, and advanced compression. There are also optional modules available for connecting to ECM applications from leading ISVs, as well as CMIS integration.

As a standalone application, uniFLOW Capture starts at $915 per device for a license for up to 500 users. “Being able to purchase Capture separately really makes it accessible to the SMB, which might not need the full capabilities of uniFLOW,” said O’Neill. “Our resellers are very excited about being able to offer this type of capture functionality on the device level.”

As part of uniFLOW 5.3, Canon also introduced improved capabilities for supporting other vendors’ devices. However, because of scanning’s unique characteristics, this does not extend to Capture. “We are in discussions as to whether there is any way to support at least a minimal amount of scanning on other devices,” said O’Neill. “There are certainly some challenges. Where it will end up, we don’t know.”

Bringing together hardware and software
O’Neill concluded that uniFLOW Capture represents a peek into the future direction of Canon. “You’re going to hear more from us on the benefits of an integrated solutions and platform strategy,” he said. “We have several Canon group companies based in Europe, like NT-ware [which develops uniFLOW], I.R.I.S., and Therefore [a document management ISV]—we are able to integrate their technologies with each other, as well as directly into the imageRUNNER ADVANCE platform.

“This will help us create a very strong integrated solutions platform that we believe will relieve a lot of the frustration and pain for our dealers and channel. Nobody wants to have to manage three or four different vendors to create a solution, and Canon understands that. Also, customers aren’t looking to buy a device or software like uniFLOW or Therefore. They are looking to buy solutions to their problems, and we want to provide that to them in a way where the technology is transparent.

“We are able to do this by utilizing our Canon group companies—with a lot of the integration going on at the R&D level in our Japanese headquarters. If we utilize our total platform, we can minimize holes and gaps and optimize solutions for our customers.”

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