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Panasonic Creates Interface Module to Integrate Remote Diagnostics

29 Jun, 2004

Panasonic Creates Interface Module to Integrate Remote Diagnostics

Panasonic has created an interface module that allows dealers to directly upload information gathered by its powerful Remote Diagnostics System to OMD Corporation’s iManager, eliminating cumbersome data entry. Dealers no longer need to manually input meter counts and can bill their customers far more efficiently and accurately. The interface module complements Panasonic’s new remote diagnostics package, which enables service technicians to diagnose – and in some instances repair – mechanical failures in WORKiO copiers and multifunctional products (MFP) without physically visiting the device.

With Panasonic’s new remote diagnostics package, dealers are able to improve the efficiency of their service operations, resulting in improved levels of customer service and performance. In addition, Remote Diagnostics System makes it even easier to plan parts and supply usage, helping to ensure a level of productivity that keeps offices up and running.

Previously, most diagnostic systems have relied on givingtelephone lines to gain access to the machine. However, the company’s latest remote diagnostics package extends that support into the IP protocol world, thus substantially enhancing the amount of information that can be retrieved. Settings for typical machine operations, network configuration and service modes can now be accessed via telephone line, email exchange or direct LAN connections. This makes it possible to reach a great number of machines quickly or change a setting for a user without having to wait for a tech to program the machine in person. 

Rich Heckelmann, product development manager for Panasonic Digital Document Company, said the new remote diagnostics and standard network configuration utilities provide IT managers, as well as dealers, with three levels of support.

“We offer a standard device configuration tool for network administrators, which manages the standard user- accessible functions,” Heckelmann said. “The remote diagnostics tool enhances this to include service management functions. We also provide a LAN-based firmware update tool.”

According to Heckelmann, the service management functions allow the technician to track error codes remotely.

“The idea is to look at a series of events and come to a determination about what has happened before visiting the customer,” Heckelmann said. “This pre-planning improves service and end-user training for the customer.”

The new remote diagnostics package features other network management tools that can be used to provide automatic alarms from a malfunctioning device. The tools consist of plug-ins for enterprise console managers that cause alarms to appear on the console when a networked device is in need of attention. Consoles from Tivoli, HP, OpenView, CA Unicenter and MMC are currently supported.

The new remote diagnostics package also includes the ability to export data from the system into the dealer’s operation management software system.

“This will allow dealers to transfer data into a usable format so that it can be extracted and input into their management systems, which eliminates the need for manual entry,” Heckelmann said.

According to Heckelmann, Panasonic’s interface module, which connects networked WORKiO MFPs with the OMD iManager, enables usage data to be automatically communicated from an end user’s copier, printer or MFP to the dealer’s OMD system.

“Our primary goal in developing the interface is to help our dealers and their customers improve their business process and satisfaction level with their document equipment,” Heckelmann explained. “In addition, the equipment usage data is invaluable to the customer and dealer when planning for equipment replacement cycles and future needs.”

According to David Nagel, vice president at OMD, Panasonic’s interface does exactly that by virtually eliminating human error, and saving time and money.

“Dealers can immediately impact productivity by integrating OMD iManager with their Panasonic MFPs,” Nagel said. “This is a very accurate method of obtaining meter counts from the end-user’s equipment, and migrating the data into the dealer’s OMD meter field for cycle billing.”  

For more information, visit http://www.panasonic.com/office.



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