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Mopria 2019 Predictions: The Rise of Mobile Scan in the Enterprise

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Brent Richtsmeier is Vice Chairman of the Mopria Alliance Steering Committee

The Rise of Mobile Scan in the Enterprise

Given the option between wired and wireless technology, you don't need an analyst to tell you what the overwhelming majority of users prefer.

It's happened with internet connections, phones and printers; now, with scanners the latest formerly wired product to cut the cord, mobile scanning is primed to be one of the major changes coming to the enterprise in 2019.

Why Mobile Scan?

Mobile scan functionalities started in the consumer space, specifically in retail, with barcodes, fueled by the ubiquity of cameras on mobile phones and the reasonable quality of photos they yield. Additionally, consumer applications like CamScanner made it fast and easy to scan a document while on the go - something consumers traditionally would only have been able to do at home with a standard wired scanner or printer/scanner.

As with many other applications, the business world saw what was happening in the consumer realm and realized there was a way to bring it into the enterprise. The workforce is becoming more mobile, and trends like bring-your-own-device and "hot desking" are driving fully wireless work environments. The technologies people use on a daily basis need to follow suit to ensure people stay productive and happy.

Even for non-mobile workers, scanning used to be a multi-step process: Walk over to scanner, place the document on the surface, change the settings, initiate the scan, and then walk back to the desktop computer and wait for the digital version to arrive via email.

Now, workers in an office no longer need to walk back and forth between desk, printer and scanner to initiate a simple scan job; mobile scan puts a traditionally "wired" functionality in the palm of an employee's hand. Mobile scan-to-print capabilities streamline an otherwise inconvenient workflow, increase productivity, and ensure accuracy while meeting employees' mobile expectations.

Paper documents, forms, contracts, business cards and even whiteboard snapshots can be scanned and converted into PDFs and then incorporated into existing digital workflows. This makes standard workflows more versatile, convenient, real-time and reliable - and advancements in mobile scan technologies and software will continue to boost these workflow efficiencies.

Recent Advances Enabling Mobile Scan in the Workplace

While scanning hardware has not seen any major revamps in recent years, there have been a number of innovations in scanning processing and software, and we expect this trend to continue.

A decade ago, when people talked about archiving documents, they were talking about storing a physical piece of paper. Without riffling through file cabinets and manually reading or skimming a page, they had no easy or automated way to search archived documents or tell what content they contained. This limited the ways people could extract information and integrate it into workflows, slowing down their processes.

But in recent years, companies like Facebook, Apple and Google have made major investments in technologies like optical character recognition and intelligent character recognition, which recognize typewritten and handwritten characters in documents.

These kinds of imaging algorithms have boosted scanning functionalities, allowing handwritten documents to be searchable and the information they contain extracted, creating more accurate, automated archival processes.

With the integration of mobile into this ecosystem, employees now have a way to scan from a mobile device as well as search their scanned content, saved to a cloud or server. These improvements have created true digital content instead of just a bitmapped image of a piece of paper, streamlining workflows and making it easy to search an entire archive of scanned content with the push of a few buttons. Digital documents and their content now can move back and forth between an archive and a current workflow as needed.

New Flexibility

A few decades ago, the idea of the "paperless office" was buzzy in discussions about the future of business. That's changed in recent years because of a shift in understanding of how offices really function: Most finalized content now is converted to digital to be stored and archived, while paper remains an integral part of workers' transaction-based, temporary processes.

You almost never see employees archiving paper documents anymore, but neither do you see them working in real time entirely off digital documents, and in 2019, we predict mobile scan will become more prevalent across the enterprise. It provides the necessary link between the digital and physical realms, allowing workplaces to efficiently generate content on paper and move it into a digital archive to be stored and searched as needed.

The offices of the future aren't paperless, but neither are they fully digital, either - and mobile scan provides the flexibility to seamlessly move back and forth between the two.

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About the Author

 

Brent Richtsmeier is Vice Chairman of the Mopria Alliance Steering Committee.

Published Thursday, December 06, 2018 7:24 AM by David Marshall
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