RealTime IT News

Are You Printing Again?

By Jeremy Jarrell

The paperless work environment -- an idea that gained momentum as the cost-cutting wave of the future -- is buried under a clutter of paper sitting around office printers and copier machines.

For all their proclamations to do away with paper, many enterprises, particularly within the government, education and financial sectors, still rely on hard-copy output.

With the goal of targeting those costs, software firm Equitrac has launched Equitrac Office 3.0, a document accounting and cost recovery package for businesses that remain dependent upon high volume printing and copying.

Equitrac Office 3.0 aims to provide businesses and organizations with a way to measure, monitor and manage all printing, copying, scanning and faxing activity from an entire global network down to an individual workstation.

"We've seen a huge proliferation of printed output," said Chris Wyszkowski, vice president of product management for the Coral Gables, Fla.-based Equitrac. "The information age, and the advent of digital technology and the Internet have actually increased document liquidity. There is more opportunity for people to have information, and because printing hardware costs have come down, we have actually seen a dramatic increase in the number of pages printed in the office and in the home environment."

Integrated within an enterprise's existing print server architecture, Equitrac Office's function is to measure print utilization. It helps systems to monitor and manage printing and copying activity through such features as rules and routing to control the use of individual printers, and security to ensure that only authenticated or authorized individuals are able to use certain devices.

The package also offers collective reporting and fault tolerant capabilities through its Server Uplink and Windows Server Clustering support features, as well as an analysis toolkit to help businesses model and predict device expenses and utilization.

Dan Cosetti of research firm IDC said the company is targeting a problem that the digital office was supposed to ease. "We haven't seen the massive decline in paper volume that a lot of people were predicting," he explained. "And the reason why is that the role of paper in the office has changed. Essentially, we've moved from paper as a permanent means of storage to a temporary means of display."

IDC research indicates that businesses implementing this type of document accounting can reduce output costs on an average of 23 percent, thus decreasing unnecessary overhead.

According to Wyszkowski, the application can accommodate up to 100 printers, but with additional print servers, that number can be increased into the thousands. It also offers a small business version.

"Equitrac sees the marketplace for document accounting as a real latent opportunity that is emerging," said Wyszkowski, "and we're excited to be able to provide the leading solution as these opportunities and customer demand grow in the marketplace."