Remote or Distributed Scanning - Are they Different?

By Jeff Shuey posted 03-09-2011 01:28


The concept of remote scanning is not new. The implementation of the concept is morphing. In the old days --- which was not that long ago --- the “remote” scanners were connected to the centralized processing system. Effectively it was a “Master & Slave” model. The new model of remote scanning is what I call distributed scanning. In the new mode of scanning the scanner, which may be “remote” from a centralized processing system and may never connect to the centralized system.

Scanner – A Definition:
The device that does the actual work of taking a picture of a piece of paper. Additional operations may also be involved in the act of taking the picture of the piece of paper --- functions like despeckle, deskew, hole removal, thresholding, auto-rotation and more. But in it’s simplest terms the scanner is the device that takes pictures of paper.

Sure, the information captured on the remote scanner may rendezvous with a centralized processing center or it may never make it that far. Because it may not need to. It’s a business decision. This is the key difference between remote and distributed scanning.

My TV has a remote control --- Should my ECM system have a remote scanner?

The answer is MAYBE. Meaning it can and it can work well with a scanner that happens to be situated remotely, but it can also work without knowing anything about the remote scanner. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, that’s OK.

The Goal

Get the information to the place that it needs to be and when it needs to be there AND in the proper format. That’s it!

For example --- if you are expecting a Searchable PDF to be dropped off in SharePoint or in some other repository then do just that. There may not be a need to send that PDF file to a centralized site.  

Examples of business that may not need to send files to a centralized office - law firms, financial advisors, doctors offices, etc.

I’m not saying they shouldn’t send files back to a centralized location, but they may not need to. It’s a business decision.

The Future of Distributed Scanning

The future will be hosted. People are already scanning to the cloud. Whether they call it that or not … it is the cloud. Do they call it the cloud? Well, some vendors seem rather insistent on calling everything and almost anything “cloud enabled” and “cloud ready.”

A follow on blog post is in the works about what the minimum requirements are for cloud computing. Fair Warning --- Cloud computing is not new.

Back to the point --- The future of distributed scanning will bring the scanner closer to the process. This will be the key … getting the scanner or scanners closer to the point of creation. It will prove to be a business decision. One that saves times, saves money while improving productivity.

What do you think?

  • Are Remote and Distributed scanning different?
  • Does it matter?
  • Will the future of scanning be in the cloud?

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