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Ricoh eyes subscription model, AI, intelligent workflow platforms to advance smart office cause

Ricoh put some meat on its smart office and growth plans with an effort it calls Dynamic Workplace Intelligence.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Ricoh rolled out an approach to using multifunction printers more as edge processing devices, subscription-based models and workflow platforms to advance its smart office ambitions.

The moving parts add up to what Ricoh calls Dynamic Workplace Intelligence. Ricoh's plan is to change how customers work with its printers and become more embedded in workflow processes in businesses of all sizes.

Steven Burger, Head of Engineering and Technology Marketing, Ricoh USA, said in an interview that Dynamic Workplace Intelligence was an approach developed with research and development, customers, engineers and various teams at Ricoh, which recently laid out its growth strategy.

"This approach brings the cloud workflow solutions we have on enterprise level accounts down to the SMB space," said Burger.

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The pillars of this smarter office plan revolve around the following:

  • Ricoh Always Current Technology where its devices will be updated regularly similar to way PCs and smartphones are updated today. Under the Always Current Technology program firmware will be updated on demand and as needed with new applications and update being added when available.
  • Cloud Workflow Solutions, which include integration tools and apps to submit invoices, print checks and handle work orders. The platform will have a series of cloud connectors, or predefined workflows for processes, and multi-destination scanning and document management.
  • Six new multifunction printers called the IM C Series with a new user experience and embedded artificial intelligence for maintenance, support and document management. The models range from printing 20 pages per minute to 60 pages per minute. These printers will also have onboard encryption and user profiles with permissions, scanning destinations and tailored experiences.

Glenn Laverty, CEO of Ricoh Canada and senior vice president of the strategy office for Ricoh North American, said the multifunction printers now have quad-core processors and can handle more computing at the edge. Special report: From Cloud to Edge: The Next IT Transformation (free PDF)

One example would be a bank that can scan statements and documents and handle the cleanup and compression locally before sending to a central location, he said. Another example would be that the printer could scan a bevy of business cards and know that each one should be stored individually.

"Beyond leveraging AI and big data for support and service, we cay also do more processing on the device and base platform," said Laverty.

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