Sharp Launches New MFPs With New Touch Screen, OSA 4.0, New Standard Hard-Drive Overwrite
At its annual dealer meeting, Sharp Imaging and Information rolled out its latest-and-greatest in MFP design, including a state-of-the-art 10.1” touch screen with icon-driven and tap-and-slide operation similar to that employed by smartphones and tablet PCs. Three new A3 color MFPs incorporate the touch screen, which can be extensively customized. The firm also introduced the next-generation of its OSA open-development platform, version 4.0, and new security provisions.
Above is the standard, icon-driven 10.1” color touch screen. Below is an example of the screen customized for a health-care facility. Below, for instance, press the “New Patient Forms” icon to scan and route hardcopy patient forms using pre-set scan settings to a pre-set destination—eliminating user mistakes when configuring scan settings and specifying the scan destination, and saving time.
With the new Sharp touch screen, users can also proof and preview scanned and stored files, and can configure their own profiles and workflows, including one-touch shortcuts. With proof mode, the entire document can be previewed onscreen, and users can rotate or delete pages pages displayed on the touch screen, insert blank sheets, remove artifacts, change the color mode, check the staple position on the document, etc. The ultimate aim is much easier touch-screen operation, enabling users to take better advantage of the MFPs capabilities, as well as elimination of mistakes when executing job flows such as printing and scan-and-route. The menu system itself can be displayed in 24 different languages, and there’s also a full-size retractable keyboard for easier entering of data.
New A3 Workgroup Color MFPs
The three new A3 MFPs that incorporate the new touch screen consist of the 26 ppm (black/color) MX-2610N, 31 ppm (black/color) MX-3110N, and 36 ppm (black/color) MX-3610N, all of which Sharp will distribute direct and via its dealers.
The systems also incorporate Sharp’s ImageSend, so that users can scan-and-send documents to seven destination types (e-mail, desktop, FTP, network folders, USB, fax, Internet fax) in a single scan process. With Send to Group, users can scan-and-send to a mixed group of e-mail, fax, and Internet-fax destinations. There’s also a Super G3 fax option with automatic routing of faxes to e-mail.
The MFPs are Energy Star-certified, and feature new energy-saving technologies, including an LED exposure lamp that consumes less power than conventional exposure lamps. Administrators can either specify when the system should turn on-and-off each day, or, with an Auto Power Management feature, the MFP can be set to automatically power-off based on usage trends. There’s also an Eco-Scan mode—the fuser automatically shuts off when users are scanning documents, previewing images, faxing and other operations not involving printing. Sharp also reports that a new belt-fusing system consumes less power, shortens warm-up time, and helps eliminate roller marks sometimes caused by conventional fusing.
OSA Version 4.0
At its dealer meeting, Sharp also introduced the latest version of its OSA open-development platform, 4.0, for linking end-users at the MFP to external software applications and workflows. The new version, which the three new color MFPs incorporate, adds integration with cloud-based services delivered over the Internet. Version 4.0, which is now currently available to Sharp OSA developers, also doubles the number of available Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to enable the development of new application types.
Ultimately, OSA 4.0 expands the capabilities of Sharp MFPs for more effective user accounting and usage tracking, touch-screen customization, and documentation distribution. There’s also improved support if the MFP loses communication with the server; now MFP data is captured locally and automatically recovered when the application returns online, as the MFP automatically detects and re-establishes the connection when the server again becomes available.
Sharp also demonstrated several new OSA 4.0 applications developed by third-party partners:
Barr Systems: Barr EOM enables authorized users to “pull” documents from mainframe, midrange, and desktop applications to a Sharp OSA-enabled MFP.
Business I.T. Systems: PrintMe Client is a cloud-based printing application for EFI PrintMe. With PrintMe, the user sends their print file to cloud-based PrintMe repository via e-mail or from their computer desktop using the PrintMe driver; they’re then e-mailed a Document ID, which they enter at any PrintMe-enabled printer to print their document.
DPD International: GoldFax Connector enables users to preview received faxes on the touch screen, and adds increased security and fax job building.
Drivve EcoSystem – Drivve introduced its Drivve | Image image-capturing and routing application as a cloud-based service. Drivve | DM is also available as on-site application.
emFAST Inc.: FACSys enables users to enable MFPs, Microsoft Office applications, mobile devices and custom applications with fax, as well as route scanned MFP content into cloud-based or local repositories, network locations, or to e-mail.
FaxCore: FaxCore 2007 now features a cloud-based fax option so that no phone lines are required.
InfoDynamics: Intact Books SMART provides integration with accounting applications such as QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics, SAGE, and others. At the Sharp MFP, users can perform look ups and approval.
Pcounter: Pcounter v2.6 is an embedded solution that tracks print, copy, and scan usage.
Sepialine: Argos is an embedded print, copy, and scan tracking system with single sign-on for a client bill-back solution.
Webiplex: DocuPeak Connector (5.9.4) is a cloud-based (on-premise or SaaS) platform with reusable “apps” that enables Sharp dealers to provide full-service process automation from paper, to panel, to portal.
Sharp also demonstrated several of its own in-house OSA 4.0 applications, including:
Ad Splash/Corporate Signage – Ad Splash enables enterprises to customize the touch screen with ads, signs, etc.
Cloud Connect – With Cloud Connect, the MFP can be used to upload and print files stored with cloud-based business applications such as Salesforce.com.
New Standard Security Features
Sharp also addressed security, an area where it’s been in the vanguard, addressing the problem of hard-drive security—a topic that’s been prominently in the news. A new End of Lease option addresses the problem, as all data on the MFP’s hard drive is deleted when it’s returned by the customer after its lease has expired.
Other new security provisions include:
Standard hard-drive overwrite (up to seven times), so that all temporary data recorded on the hard drive is erased after every job.
A new standard security mode for all Sharp MFPs that provides locking of passwords, and 256-bit AES data encryption of job data, a standard adopted by the U.S. government.
Sharp’s existing security features includes: active directory-based authentication, port management, secure print, IP/MAC address filtering, SSL Encryption, and IPsec (IP Security) protection, as well as local and network user authentication.