Managing Paper Chaos with a Xerox Travel Scanner

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

Xerox partners with Visioneer to help knowledge workers bring paper under control in the office and on the road.

Take a look at the typical desk and you will find stacks of paper. For some people, it's a fact of life. For others, it’s an exercise in frustration.

Desk-bound workers aren’t the only ones confounded by paper. The situation can be much worse for mobile workers, who often don’t have the luxury of a stationary desk and are forced to lug around documents, forms and receipts. 

While some think the brunt of paper documents as a waste of time and money, solution providers can look at those stacks of documents and see opportunity, the opportunity to sell solutions and help customers organize the minutiae. What’s more, those desktop solutions can lead to large scale implementations that incorporate document management systems, integration with Microsoft’s SharePoint, involve compliance technologies, while prompting the growth of storage solutions. Simply put, eliminating paper can lead solution providers to a different kind of paper – money.

While large scale implementations have their appeal, most solution providers, especially those dealing with small businesses, will find it is best to start off small and that is where Xerox enters the equation with the Travel Scanner 100. The Travel Scanner weighs in at 10.6 ounces and comes bundled with software from Visioneer, which offers one-touch scanning and auto-document optimization using VRS technology from Kofax.


Xerox Travel Scanner 100

For the desktop, a scanning solution needs to be easy to use and fast enough to be worthwhile. Mobile workers need the same capabilities as desktop users, but with a twist – not only does the scanner need to be easy to use and speedy enough to make sense, it also has to be highly portable and very compact. Here  the Xerox Travel Scanner 100 fits the bill – the unit weighs in at a svelte 300 grams, measures just 2" x 1.5" x 11.4", making the device easy to shove in most any laptop bag. What’s more, the unit is powered via the computers USB 2.0 part, so no additional power supply is needed. Xerox includes a leatherette travel bag that protects the unit from bumps while jostling around during travels.

The unit features resolution as high as 600 dpi with 24-bit color and can scan as fast as six pages per minute at 200 dpi, which should be adequate for most documents. Scanning performance is further improved by the inclusion of Visioneer’s one-touch scanning application, which can scan a document directly to an image or PDF file. What’s more, Visioneer incorporates VRS technology from Kofax, which automatically straightens and crops scanned documents.

Xerox also bundles in some other applications, such as a special edition of OmniPage 15, which offers optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities and Presto! BizCard 5, which allows users to quickly scan business-cards into their system. Installation of the scanner and associated software products is plug-and-play simple. Installers need to install the software applications from the included CD and then connect the scanner, which self configures. A few additional tasks need to be performed, such as scanner calibration, setting software defaults, registering the applications and so on.

Installation of all products and configuration should take about a half hour. We tested the Travel Scanner 100 with a Toshiba Portege R500 notebook running Windows Vista Business Edition and ran into no problems during installation and subsequent testing. We configured the system to auto launch the Onetouch 4.0 application and then configured OneTouch to automatically scan any inserted documents into a PDF file using the PaperPort application.

Using the scanner was quite straightforward; we were able to feed documents into the scanner and the scanner sensed the insertion of the paper and automatically launched the OneTouch and PaperPort to process the scanned document. The VRS technology did an excellent job of cleaning up documents and de-skewing the images. We were able to scan standard documents as well as business cards and tissue paper copies from NCR style forms. We did run into some problems scanning coated paper, such as pages from advertising literature. Documents on coated paper tended to slip around while being scanned making it difficult to get a perfect image.

We experienced the same problem with photographs and other nonstandard sized documents, but were able to overcome some of the problems by incorporating a little finesse while feeding the documents into the scanner. For those scanning large quantities of items that don’t fit the classification of a traditional single page paper document, a desktop flatbed scanner may be a better choice to use. Otherwise, the Travel Scanner 100 will do in a pinch.

Many of the applications included with the scanner are limited versions and may lack some features that users would find handy. For example, the VRS capabilities of the OneTouch application are limited to de-skewing and minor image enhancement. Users will need to upgrade to a pro version to gain advanced image enhancement features. The same can be said for PaperPort and BizCard5. Even so, the default applications should suit the needs of most occasional users.

Xerox is currently pricing the Travel Scanner 100 at $199. Solution providers can expect discounts of around 20 points and can purchase the product via standard distribution channels. Solution providers can use the Xerox Travel Scanner 100 to build interest in electronic document management systems or to simply help mobile employees with gathering information or creating expense reports.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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