Kodak Alaris targets AI-based solutions to spur growth

A focus on the burgeoning market for Intelligent Applications that incorporate Smart Distributed Document Capture is promising a bright future for Kodak Alaris, according to Leonel Da Costa, Managing Director, Asia Pacific Region, Alaris, a Kodak Alaris business.

“The growth opportunity is in complete solutions that combine Capture Pro Software with our scanning hardware, plus OCR, plus Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This is the great opportunity today. It is not in standalone scanners on software products.” said Da Costa.

“Our INfuse Solution is gathering momentum in the market today and one of the main reasons is that we are engaging new solutions partners that are integrating with specific software applications. Many of these solutions incorporate Artificial Intelligence.”

Introduced in 2019, Kodak Alaris’ INfuse Smart Connected Scanning Solution is a combination of hardware (Alaris INfuse AX scanners) and software (Alaris INfuse Management Software) that enables MSPs, ISVs, and integrators to deploy a distributed scanning ecosystem alongside their business process solutions.

Alaris INfuse AX scanners offer PC-less scanning and enables operators to kick off workflows with the touch of a button. The device even informs the operators if scanned images were properly indexed and routed properly at the point of capture, so that the operators can catch and address any mistakes right away. 

Alaris INfuse AX scanners support Alaris EasySetup technology, reducing device configuration tasks to scanning a single QR code. ISVs, integrators, and MSPs can set up end users, configure devices, and manage the entire fleets of scanners from Alaris remotely through the Alaris INfuse Management Software.

“Many of our partners are now exploring how to develop new applications with INfuse at their core that will expand the scanning marketplace. These are very different from the traditional scanner business. At the end of the day it’s about a business application, it’s not about the hardware,” said Da Costa.

iFLYTEK, a Chinese company well-known for Artificial Intelligence (AI), is providing an intelligent grading solution for smart assessments in the education vertical in China with Kodak i3000 Series Scanners. Kodak Alaris has also commenced a relationship with a cloud-based accounting systems provider that is looking to rollout an INfuse-based solution across the Asia-Pacific region.

“There are many manual processes in accounts payable and receivable. With INfuse we can eliminate a lot of manual exceptions and give realtime feedback to users. Distributed scanning also eliminates the problem of moving documents from one part of the organisation to another, providing saving in time and costs,” said Da Costa.

“We are committed to finding new business with new technologies over the next 3-5 years as the penetration of AI and RPA expands opportunities for image capture. The company is continuing to invest in our technology to allow for better integration with these platforms. The challenge to our partners is to explore new opportunities beyond the legacy scanner business.

“In my view we are still at the beginning of the curve. We have two initiatives currently underway to integrate INfuse with RPA. We have just closed a worldwide agreement with UiPath which will enable us to work closely with their partner ecosystem, and are also working with another RPA vendor in Japan to develop a trial of an RPA solution for small to medium business that we expect to have ready to rollout out across the globe in 2021.”

On the hardware front, Kodak Alaris also plans to launch new entry-level 70-90ppm A3 scanners in the second half of 2020, and is also working to establish Managed Content Services in Australia.

These will offer the ability to extend the Managed Print Services offered by traditional MFP vendors such as Konica-Minolta, Ricoh, Kyocera and Toshiba, to manage dedicated document scanners.

“The market is moving from centralised to decentralised scanning so the ability to enhance ease of management in these scenarios will be increasingly important,” said Da Costa.

To further the reach beyond network connected scanners, Kodak Alaris has also developed a software agent to allow USB connected scanners to be managed as effectively as network printers are today

“The rise of cognitive technology, working together with robotic process automation (RPA), will drive the next wave of growth in enterprise capture over the next 3-5 years,” said Da Costa.