Ricoh Introducing Alexa Voice Control for Ricoh Intelligent MFPs

Ricoh has joined the ranks of Epson, HP Inc., Canon, Sharp Electronics, and Xerox – all of which offer some form of voice-activated control for their printers and copier/MFPs – with Ricoh USA today announcing its RICOH Intelligent Voice Control.

Ricoh developed its RICOH Intelligent Voice Control working with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The services provide voice-activated controls for Ricoh MFPs, starting with Ricoh’s  IM Series of intelligent MFPs.

A pilot program for these MFPs is currently underway at an Ivy League university in the United States, leveraging Amazon’s AWS Alexa for Business service, combined with Ricoh’s Smart Integration Platform technology. Voice-activated control will be available this summer at the university.

According to Ricoh, decision makers at the university sought to create a more welcoming, accessible environment for the entire college community, with Ricoh noting that, according to the American Community Survey, just 30.5 percent of Americans with a visual disability had full-time, full-year employment in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available. At a time when Americans with disabilities are nearly three times as likely as those without a disability to never go online, making connectivity and collaboration accessible and intuitive is vital to bringing people of all abilities into the digital workplace.

Through this pilot program at the university, Ricoh says it’s committed to delivering an accessible, easy-to-use solution that could benefit all members of the campus community, ultimately enabling them to work smarter.

Ricoh is leveraging AWS’ signature low-touch ease-of-use capabilities to develop the right solution to address these challenges. AWS’s voice service, Amazon Alexa Voice Service, is available today on more than 100 million devices from Amazon and third-party device manufacturers. Amazon Alexa is said to provide  a trusted, proven, hands-free interface between users and Ricoh MFPs’ various capabilities, without the need for navigating visual menu options.

Steven Burger, head of engineering and vice president, Portfolio Management, at Ricoh USA, commented: “Ricoh firmly believes in making education accessible for all, regardless of disability. When this university approached us with the idea of voice controls for visually impaired users, we were excited to play a role in the important work of helping open the door for anyone with more diverse abilities. This technology has the potential to change the way millions of people collaborate and learn – and it has a myriad of office applications, as well. With the introduction of voice enablement, we’re expanding the ways our customers interact with their work. That means streamlining and ease of use, so people with different workstyles operating in the same environment can all get the most out of their Ricoh technology. In a results-driven world full of fast-turn demands, voice controls’ flexibility and efficiency are immense value-adds.”

Ricoh’s says its work with AWS is another example of the Digital Workplace Intelligence approach Ricoh introduced earlier this year, which is focused on delivering continual improvements and helping to ensure capabilities evolve in parallel with customer requirements.

Currently, the new voice-controlled technology is being developed as part of the Ricoh Smart Integration Platform. The RICOH IM Series of intelligent devices can take full advantage of the new platform and its features. Future innovation is anticipated for other workplace services offerings, including Ricoh’s interactive flat panel displays (IFPDs) and projectors.

To learn more about Ricoh’s Dynamic Workplace Intelligence, visit the company  here.

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