Multifunction devices using big data are becoming the linchpin of the smart office.
As the world of IT evolves, Canon is revolutionizing working styles and supporting new ways to work.
To cope with a constantly changing IT environment, including the increasingly ubiquitous IoT, many companies are taking advantage of cloud computing and big data. They are actively incorporating these technologies into products and services that improve operational efficiency and provide new services. Such advances have led to the emergence of the smart office.
Canon has swiftly adapted to the changing environment by designing Office Multifunction Devices (OMDs) to take advantage of industry innovations. Over one million Canon OMDs in more than 100 countries and regions are connected to the cloud. In addition to copying and scanning, these cloud-connected devices collect and store data in secure online networks for use around the globe.
Big data gathered from OMDs all over the world is analyzed by Canon—data such as the timing for replacing consumables and the occurrence of breakdowns—in order to greatly reduce equipment downtime.
Canon’s OMDs are also contributing to more efficient document management through such features as directly uploaded scanned documents to the cloud, and batch management of documents. However, there are also new challenges to be addressed. For example, Canon is working on technology that enables OMDs to digitize scanned files for efficient upload and storage to the cloud by reducing noise in high-quality images, compressing files without loss of image quality and ensuring files resemble the original image as closely as possible.
Strengthening security has also become a critical point. When a multifunction device connects to the outside world through an external network, there is an increase risk that it might become the target of a cyber-attack. To protect against such possibilities, Canon employs the latest industry-standard encryption methods for communications between OMDs and the outside world, as well as redundant security measures such as technology that detects tampering with the device’s firmware.
Canon’s global development system supports the evolution of OMDs. One example is the development of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in conjunction with I.R.I.S., the Belgium-based Canon Group company. This technology makes it possible to search for and within scanned documents.
In addition, the Canon Group company NT-ware in Germany is developing uniFLOW Online software for OMDs that uses cloud-based infrastructure to offer expandable features that facilitate smooth sharing of information and improve operational efficiency. Collaboration with such overseas Group companies speeds up development and brings new perspectives to Canon.
Cloud use by OMDs is also effective in changing the way people work. With Japan facing a declining and aging population, there is significant demand for workplace improvements that enable employees to work while also balancing such home responsibilities as childcare or nursing care. Improvements are also needed to boost white collar productivity. Cloud use allows people to work as usual not only when in the office, but also from home or on the go—whether parenting, caregiving or on a business trip—helping to boost productivity.
Additionally, based on usage data from the devices, it is possible to schedule automatic deliveries or stock replenishments of consumables before they run out. Usage analyses also help determine the ideal times to perform maintenance operations, thereby greatly reducing downtime.
By analyzing the enormous amount of data gathered in real time from Canon’s OMDs connected globally via the Internet, we can provide products and services that support workplace and a variety of work style innovation as the IT environment evolves.
Canon’s all-in-one OMDs have set the standard with a single green start button to enable simple operations. This “green button” culture of simplification embraces new possibilities in working styles and ways of doing business.
Data is collected in real time from Canon’s OMDs around the world
The operating panel enables direct access to the cloud.