Fax/Copier/Printer/Scanner All-In-One?

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Jeff Panosian

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Sep 26, 1994, 4:04:23 PM9/26/94
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Is it possible to buy a plain paper fax machine that
can provide the following: faxing, printing (for MS-DOS
and/or UNIX), copying and scanning?

My initial research indicates that the multipurpose
fax/copiers are expensive and provided limited functionality.
Why? Doesn't a basic fax machine include all of the
necessary subsystem to accomplish of these tasks?

Your comments would be appreciated,
Jeff

Okidata

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Sep 29, 1994, 2:39:15 AM9/29/94
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Jeff:

Have you heard of Okidata's DOC-IT? I'm Sr. Software engineer at
OKIDATA's Advanced Technology Centre in San Jose, and we released the
product in Fall, 1992. It's tough for me to be unbiased here, but I'll
try to say some good and bad things I've heard about our machine. It
would be cool if someone out there who's used DOC-IT would respond, too...

DOC-IT can print using PCL 5 and PostScript. It has a CAS-compliant FAX
protocol. The copier has several nice features that most office copiers
don't have, like "2-up" and "4-up" copying, dithering, and overlay
(merge) copying. The scanner is only black&white. Functions that don't
require the same piece of equipment can operate simultaneously; for
example, you can print from one Windows app while scanning into another,
at the same time. You can call DOC-IT from a touch-tone phone and have
it transmit all your new FAXes to a different FAX machine (FAX forwarding).

BUT...

The price is too high for me. I think the street price is around $2700,
and that's after OKIDATA has reduced the price a few times. It's worth
the price for a company to buy it, I think, because it has TONS of
features and is very reliable. It's just too high priced for personal
use.

Some drawbacks of the system, as reported by our customers:

- like any PC FAX, you have to leave your PC turned on to receive FAXes

- the installation of the product can be tricky if you already have
several cards installed in your PC, because DOC-IT needs an interrupt
and a 16K block of RAM (like many network cards require)

- there are too many features, making it overwhelming for PC novices
(though engineers and other technical types love it!)

Some praises from our customers:

- the multi-tasking ability is nice (that is, you can make copies
while a FAX is being received; you can print documents while a FAX is
being transmitted, etc.)

- the Windows user interface (called DOC-IT Manager) is a solid and
easy-to-use program

- the machine prints and makes copies fast (8 pages/minute)

- OKIDATA's technical support is very good

O god, I'm starting to sound like a marketeer! Please don't flame me for
trying to advertise this thing!

For more information on DOC-IT, call 1-800-OKIDATA. They have a FAXBack
system, so you can request prices and feature brochures via FAX.

Hope this info is of interest to you.
--
Dav...@oatc.ccmail.compuserve.com || "You ain't gonna' eat that, are ya'?
OKI Advanced Technology Centre || -FishTales

Ray Lutz - Cognisys Inc.

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Oct 3, 1994, 12:42:38 PM10/3/94
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Hello:
Recently, there was inquiry regarding the All-In-One peripheral. These
have been previously referred by several names, but Multi-Function
Peripheral (MFP) seems to be the most popular.

I have been involved in the definition of an interface to such a
peripheral, which is the primary missing piece to allow this market to
bloom. Certainly, there have been numerous products (such as the Okidata
DOC-IT!) which are very high quality and extremely functional. However,
these products use a proprietary interface, and as such, will not allow
the application market to expand to support the new functions of these
products. If you are familiar with the AT-extensions for Fax (AKA Class 1
and Class 2) these standards allowed the application market to grow since
the interface to the peripheral was fixed, thereby allowing the hardware
market to expand as well. So, in the same say, we see the MFP market being
held back due to lack of a similar standard.

The "MFP Interface" (MFPI) standard is up for a vote within the TR29.2
ANSI committee (TIA's Facsimile Digital Interfaces committee). This standard
has also been supported and reviewed by the "Multi-Function Peripheral
Association" (MFPA) which is the group of companies interested in such a
standard. It appears that we may have at least an interim standard by
early or mid 1995.

A great deal of interest has developed around the MFP area recently,
especially since Microsoft announced their Microsoft At Work (tm) (MSAW)
architecture. The MSAW initiative requires hefty up-front "partnership"
fees ($1-$5 Million per company), a change to 'X86 architecture, Reliance
on MS for releases, and a per unit royalty. This is a high price tag to
pay although the vision of the MSAW initiative is certainly good. The
MFPI standard does not require such roylaties, etc.

Let me give you an overview of the MFPA and a quick technical overview of
the MFPI standard set, and the MFPI Level-1 standard which is up for a
vote now.

In brief, the MFPA was formed to support the transition from
single-function peripherals to the multi-function peripherals which will
dominate in the near future. To us, an MFP means a printer, scanner,
facsimile, voicemail, email device with stand-alone functions as well as
computer-connected functions. A conventional facsimile terminal can be
converted to such a device with the addition of an inexpensive interface
port and an adequate interface language to support it. It turns out that
the Telecommunications Industry Association's (TIA) Facsimile Standards
Committee (ANSI TR29.2) had a project already defined for such an
interface, and this is PN-1906. This project had been opened and reopened
since 1987. I became the Editor in August of 1993.

We noted that the companies involved frequently had whole divisions
dedicated to the separate subsystems (i.e. printer, scanner, copier, fax)
and were having a hard time in some cases getting these groups to agree on
anything. Many companies have since formed new groups which combine these
various technology areas to allow them to effectively attack this market.
These companies realized that without an industry standard interface
specification, we would be left with fully proprietary systems which would
not allow the market to grow to the level that it would with such a
standard. Rockwell and Cognisys have been the a primary supporters of the
initial development of the standard and the organization. (There are now
18 members.) Rockwell saw the facsimile modem market boom when the Class-1
and Class-2 interface standards were developed. This same boom is
anticipated in the MFP market in response to this non-proprietary
standard.

Mirroring the corporate organizations, many associations exist to support
the individual subsystems of the MFP: facsimile associations, printer
associations, etc. MFPA was formed to fill the gap that existed when
these various organizations continued to blindly pursue enhancement of
their individual area without cooperating to support the MFP market. This
tendency still exists today. Microsoft's AT WORK architecture added a
spark to this area as they pursue a fully proprietary standard which
requires large fees and royalties.

The MFPA is primarily working on a non-proprietary standard for
interfacing an MFP to a computer system Host. As you can imagine, this
standard could be quite large in scope and could perhaps even die from
it's own weight. Realizing this, the scope of the standard has been split
into 4 "Levels":

Level 1) Defines a simple channel-sharing method of controlling the
several subsystems in the MFP, using existing standards to control the
subfunctions. No "Stand Alone Operation" control by the host is provided,
although SAO is allowed when controlled from the operator console. The
number of Hosts is restricted to one.

Level 2) Provides the functionality of Level 1 plus a uniform command and
image-data language which is based on a simple compressed image model,
including ability to negotiate format conversion on the remote terminal
and security features. This Level is appropriate for Network attach.

Level 3) Adds the ability for the Host to control stand-alone operation
using a script concept which exists in the MFP. This allows the
destination of the recieved fax to be selected for example, and
conditioned with parameters selected by the Host.

Level 4) Adds scheduling and queuing of jobs for true network-server
compatibility.

Currently, the standard is based on IEEE-P1284 Parallel and TIA/EIA RS-232
Serial interfaces.

The next TR29 and MFPA meetings will be held on October 31 thru Nov 3.
Please send email if you wish to be placed on the list for more
information about this (and future) meetings. If you are interested in
MFPA membership, please so indicate and we will forward the appropriate
inforamation to you. Please include a physical address.

You may wish to log into the Cognisys BBS for more information. (It is
secured so it takes to trys to get in to allow us to upgrade your
security level appropriately.)

Thanks again for your interest.
Regards,
-Raymond Lutz
(Editor, TIA TR29.2 PN-1906 MFPI)
(Chair, MFPA)
(Director, Research and Development, Cognisys, Inc.)

=================================================================
# Raymond Lutz Tel: 619-447-3246 #
# Cognisys, Inc. Fax: 619-447-6872 #
# 1010 Old Chase Ave. BBS: 619-447-2223 #
# Suite B Internet: ray...@crash.cts.com #
# El Cajon, CA 92020-7739 Compuserve: [76414,733] #
=================================================================

Nadia

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Jan 25, 2005, 2:33:49 PM1/25/05
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Hi Everybody,

I am currently working with Samsung, and we are searching for people
with MFP experience.

analyze embedded system architectures and system performance as well as
suggest guidelines to improve performance in high-end printers, digital
copiers and multifunctional devices. experience with real time OS is
also required. please reply if you might interested to relocate to
beautiful california to the following email address. na...@avature.net
thanks everybody,

nadia

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