eCopy: Where Paper is Going16 Apr, 2007 By: Editorial Staff imageSource
eCopy: Where Paper is Going
In 1992, Edward Schmid was an entrepreneur in search of a business idea.
Looking around, he noticed that even though computers had improved many work
processes, there had been little improvement when it came to paper-based
processes. Unmanageable piles of paper were still scattered across desks
Schmid realized that the main cause of this situation was because information
could not travel easily between paper documents and computer systems. What was
needed was a solution that bridged the gap between paper-based processes and
electronic document workflows. What Schmid envisioned was a technology that
would be easy enough to use so any office worker could incorporate paper
documents quickly, easily, and securely into electronic workflows.
One of Schmid’s initial products was software that worked with a scanner to
digitize and send documents as attachments via email. The product was appealing
and customers were interested, but Schmid found that he faced two major
First, few office workers had access to scanners. Even today, standalone
scanners are still a rarity, especially whencompared to the vast number of email
users. Second, in the early 1990s, Internet email was not yet available, so
users could only send documents internally utilizing their company network. This
severely limited the utility of the software.
By the late 1990s, the situation changed in two significant ways. First,
copier manufacturers began converting their devices from analog to digital and
began connecting them to computer networks so they could print as well as copy.
Most users didn’t know it yet, but the device they knew as a copier was also
a powerful network attached document scanner. Today copiers have evolved to
become multifunction peripherals. Second, Internet email became much more
common. In short, when users began to have access to MFPs and Internet email,
Schmid’s software business took off.
Schmid’s company, eCopy Inc. based in Nashua, N.H. where he is president and
CEO, has grown by providing office equipment dealers with document imaging
software for MFPs. eCopy’s growth has been fueled by the need for organizations
to capture, store and distribute paper-based information among co-workers,
suppliers, and customers.
Typically, organizations have two work processes tackling the same business
task —one electronic workflow moving at Internet speed trailed by a paper-bound
process that slows everything down. This approach hardly provides instant access
to information and frequently results in misplaced information.
Today, faxes and overnight couriers just aren’t good enough or fast enough
in business. A fax simply cannot deliver clear, original-quality pages, and
despite heavy usage, overnight delivery slows down business processes too much
to be effective.
With the emergence of MFPs linked to corporate networks, electronic document
distribution is now accessible to every office worker. eCopy conveniently
combines the power and ease-of-use of the ubiquitous office MFP with the
instantaneous distribution capabilities of email, network fax, collaborative
software, and document management applications.
According to Schmid, “Our success has resulted from eCopy’s vision of
providing a standard document capture operating platform across MFP brands,
making it easy for any office worker to scan paper-based information easily into
any electronic workflow.”
eCopy helps office dealers address any organization’s need to distribute,
view, and manage paper documents by scanning them into electronic format and
integrating with the applications that run and support the business. Dealers can
provide solutions where their customers simply scan a paper document - any
contract, fax, multi-page form, diagram, or even a 50-page manual - select the
recipient, add a subject line and cover note and transmit the electronic copy
over the corporate network or the Internet, directly from the MFP.
Document scanning is a pivotal technology for organizations to efficiently
collect, digitize, and categorize more information every day. eCopy’s market
opportunity is expanding at a fast rate with workgroup laser-based MFPs
growing rapidly, per IDC research.