New cloud software aims to slash paper usage

Mississauga, Ont.-based Canon Canada Inc. released new Cloud Portal software for its printers last week, allowing businesses to cut down on paper usage and workers to be mobile.

The Cloud Portal software would benefit traditional businesses like financial services and health care through the scanning function, which allows client documents to be shared online with workers and other parties. For example, patient records can be posted online in the cloud and available for other doctors to easily access and print.

It can be used similarly in financial services, when sending invoices, according to Craig Le Clair, an analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.

This means Google Docs and Microsoft SharePoint Online can be accessed directly through Canon’s imageRUNNER ADVANCE from the multifunctional printer panel. The Cloud portal software is free and no additional hardware needs to be installed to work. However, Canon Direct Print Kit or PS Printer Kit requires installation on the Canon office system. The new portal is offered through the imageRUNNER ADVANCE Content Delivery System, which works through the printer. The portal lets users scan and save documents from paper to the cloud. It also allows documents stored in the cloud to be printed, according to Canon.

“It would just be an easier way to digitize your papers,” Le Clair said.

By using the scan function businesses can upload important company documents on to the cloud to share with their clients or mobile workers, cutting printing costs, Le Clair said.

Another advantage of using this software is it allows workers to be more mobile because they can share, access and print documents from different locations, according to Le Clair. After scanning the documents using the Cloud Portal software, workers can access those documents online from anywhere on their laptops, smart phones and tablets.

The printing software from Canon is not the only cloud printing software on the market, although it does differ from other offerings such as the open platform printing service from Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Co.

“The major differences are based on whether the cloud printing service is open to output on any printer or is exclusive to the manufacturer’s devices,” said Pete Basiliere, an analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. “Given that most offices and other environments such as hospitals and government agencies have printers from two or more vendors, the open-architected cloud printing service is likely to become the standard.”

The development of this software could prove more companies are moving in the direction of using more cloud-based software. In an IBM survey, two thirds of medium-sized businesses said they are going to be adopting cloud software, according to Natasa Galic-Prekovic, a marketing manager at Canon.

“More and more companies are moving to cloud computing,” Galic-Prekovic said. “Cloud computing is getting more and more embraced.”

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