New Xerox Printing Tools Aim to Automate Paper-Laden Workflows

The tool is designed to help businesses reduce the need to print documents, convert files or toggle between different programs and digital versions.

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Document services and printing specialist Xerox announced the launch of three tools designed to help businesses move their document needs into the future while also reducing their environmental footprint.

The Digital Alternatives tool is a desktop and mobile assistant that automates paper-laden workflows within organizations. With Digital Alternatives, users can read, annotate, sign, share, sync and save documents from one interface.

The tool is designed to help organizations reduce the need to print documents, convert files or toggle between different programs and digital versions.

The interface can be deployed across Microsoft Windows-based PCs and Apple iPad tablets running iOS 7. Work can be synchronized automatically on most personal devices for use by mobile employees.

In addition, real-time analysis of the document cycle also gives enterprises insight on how to better manage their migration from paper-based working to digital.

Given that many workplaces today are no longer tied to a physical location, the ability to access, print and manage business documents on-the-go has gained significant traction. From home offices to airports, the workplace is becoming more mobile than ever.

"Technology has not only changed how we do business, but where we do business as well. With less dependency on a traditional office structure, employees need tools that maximize productivity and collaboration in an easy, safe and convenient way," Don Dixon, senior vice president of global document outsourcing for Xerox, told eWEEK. "Solutions like Xerox Digital Alternatives gives workers a paperless way to complete, sign, share and annotate any type of form, document or PowerPoint presentation in a secure and efficient way."

With ePublishing Services, clients can execute printed documentation as well as content delivered electronically using a common document processing workflow.

The service provides a digital file output suitable for smartphones, tablets, eReaders and computer displays.

Documents can be published in PDF, or for more interactive engagements in HTML5 or ePublication formats with hyperlinks and rich media.

In addition, built-in analytic tools measure and collect data, such as clicks and average-visit duration, providing feedback in developing future content.

To help enterprises reduce their carbon footprint and motivate employees to do their part, Xerox’s European Research Centre created the Print Awareness Tool, a system that actively encourages workers to be more environmentally responsible.

Using gamification technology, employees can voluntarily track how their efforts support companywide print reduction goals. For instance, a desktop software widget monitors and analyzes print history and wasteful habits.

The tool provides real-time print metrics and tips on how to change behaviors. while other factors, including peer competition and incentives, can also be used to encourage participation.

Digital Alternatives is available immediately in North America and Europe, worldwide in 2015, while ePublishing Services is available in North America and developing markets and the company’s Print Awareness Tool is available initially in North America and Europe.

"The future for this space will involve digitizing the universe of paper-based documents. This will ultimately enable digital workflows that will speed up paper-based business processes and provide ready and secure access to a network of documents from any platform, anywhere," Dixon said. "Printing will evolve from a largely tethered and wired experience to a wireless and seamless way to print from any device, to any device, from anywhere and at any time."