Print services specialist Ricoh has developed a cloud-based platform to help small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and educational organizations lower costs and improve productivity by helping their mobile workers gain remote access to content wherever they happen to be.
The Integrated Cloud Environment (ICE) is a single interface connecting mobile workers to cloud services for document storage, management and printing through Ricoh multifunction products (MFPs). When scanning paper documents from an MFP to cloud storage services, ICE automatically uses its optical character recognition (OCR) engine to turn them into fully searchable and editable PDF, Word or Excel documents.
The platform currently serves up 16 cloud services providers, including Google Drive, Ricoh DocumentMall, Dropbox and Evernote. Mobile workers can access and print these documents from any location in the world via a smartphone, tablet, PC or the MFP itself. No local network connection or printer driver is required, and ICE data transmissions are secured by 128-bit single socket layer (SSL) encryption.
"Ricoh’s ICE solution has resulted in an incredible cost savings for our business," Fritz Hovey, operations manager at Herth Real Estate, said in a statement. "And by scanning directly to the cloud, we’ve been able to remove a step of saving scanned documents to the server, ultimately streamlining the entire process."
ICE is designed to enable companies such as Herth to use the Internet as their IT infrastructure. With this platform, scanned documents are no longer frozen as opaque image files, mobile workers who want to print a document no longer need to email it to colleagues at workstations to have them do the printing, and administrators don’t need to type hard copy documents into computers to make them accessible to mobile workers.
For instance, the company said a manufacturer could share marketing collateral through ICE with its distributed mobile sales force’s smartphones and tablets, a college professor could use ICE to scan graded paper tests to Evernote, enabling student advisors around campus to print them out on demand, or business travelers could scan their receipts directly to accounting software instead of stapling, packaging and mailing hard copies to their business office.
To scan documents to the cloud, users choose a destination through the ICE interface on their MFPs. To print from any smartphone or tablet, they access Ricoh Print Cloud through ICE, enabling them to release the document from any ICE-enabled MFP by typing in a six-digit code.
For added security, Ricoh’s storage and OCR data center is compliant with SAS 70/SSAE 16, a universally accepted audit mechanism, issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), a standard-setting board of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).
"ICE is a breakthrough for mobilizing information and making it work for mobile and in-office employees alike," Jason Dizzine, vice president of technology marketing at Ricoh Americas, said in a statement. "It’s also an ideal way for companies to initiate their cloud strategies with minimal risk. ICE is a consummate expression of Ricoh’s true identity as a services company."