HP Details its Pen-based Forms-Entry Package

The first products in Hewlett-Packard's Total Printing Management initiative were demonstrated at Comdex this week, including its Digital Pen and Paper technology.

Earlier this year, Hewlett-Packard Co.s Imaging and Printing Group unveiled its Total Printing Management initiative, a plan to offer a range of products, software and services to help customers cut costs and improve efficiency.

This week at the Comdex Las Vegas 2003 show, Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP unveiled its first products under the plan, including management and workflow software, assessment and billing services and a way of increasing the speed of processing paper forms using a digital pen technology.


"From a product perspective, (Total Printing Management) opens up completely new sets of business for us and allows us to offer a much broader set of solutions for our customers," said Eric Chaniot, vice president of HPs Digital Pen and Paper technology.

Key among the new products are the Forms Automation System and the next generation of HPs Web Jetadmin fleet management software, version 7.5. As reported by eWEEK.com last week, the Forms Automation System, based on the Digital Pen and Paper, is a "smart paper" technology designed to cut forms costs by as much as a third. The system will link HP LaserJet printers, the smart paper, and HPs Workflow Connect 200 system.

Using a digital pen, users can enter information on specially-designed printer. The pen can store the digital pen strokes, and then upload the data to a server for processing. HP will partner with Adobe Systems Inc. and employ its eForms technology.

HPs Digital Pen and Paper will take advantage of handwriting recognition technology provided Pen & Internet LLC, a Sunnyvale, Calif. division of Parascript LLC. Under an agreement HP will recommend P&Is recognition solution, called "riteForm," to its systems integrators and corporate accounts.

HP officials said the company will target larger customers in healthcare, banking, manufacturing, insurance and public agencies, a $2 billion market that processes 9 billion paper forms every year. Technology embedded in Workflow Connect 200 software will print customized forms using the printers and filled out using Digital Pen 200. Chaniot said the system will reduce the processing cost per page from 90 cents to about 20 cents.

"People are still using paper in a lot of business-critical processes," he said.

FedEx Corp. of Memphis, Tenn., has worked with digital pens for two years. Rob Carter, executive vice president and CIO, said that HPs FAS technology would have immediate use. "They say theres about 100 billion forms out there, and I think weve got about 99 billion of these," Carter said, referring to the companys paper waybills. "We process one million of these a day; Im sure that you all grab a stack of these before you head out. " By shifting to digital paper, Carter said, the shipping company would be able to upload information instantly. The technology would be especially useful in routing international packages, where the waybill information could be transmitted to U.S. Customs officials before the packages arrived, he said. Those officials could preselect packages for inspection, speeding the entire customs process.

Meanwhile, HP also introduced several other workflow products including the Digital Sending Software 3.0 Secure Workflow and Digital Sending Software 3.0 Workflow that enhances the security of digital documents and the ability to send them.

Web Jetadmin 7.5 now links to HPs new System Insight Manger software, which will cut the amount of help desk calls a customer needs to make and the amount of money spent on managing their systems by about 50 percent, said officials.

HP also is offering assessment services, including Web-based help and consulting services, as well as greater help for customers to manage their printing environments through various billing options and pay-per-use services.