The paperless office has been on the horizon since I began my professional life. It has remained stubbornly on the edge of the business world, causing despair and mutiny among workers longing for relief from landfills of forms, as documented in tons upon tons ... of paper.
I bring this up because I spend a lot of time traveling for business. I've been a "remote worker" for more than 20 years and a "digital Bedouin" for most of that time. I've noticed that paper is one factor that makes life complicated for traveling professionals and the IT departments that support them. Lately I've been using a tool that promises to make paper rather less painful for me -- and far less frustrating for the IT, HR, and accounting colleagues who keep my company's back offices humming along while I'm wandering the earth.
Fujitsu's ScanSnap line of scanners is billed as "document scanners for your digital life." The devices range from a large scanner designed to handle open books and extra-large documents to portable scanners that easily fit into a briefcase or backpack. I've been working with the ScanSnap ix100 "Smart Scanner," and I'm finding that it's a tool that has more than earned its small spot in my backpack.
Let's get the basics out of the way.
The ScanSnap ix100 is a roughly 14-ounce device that occupies approximately 11 x 1.8 x 1.4 inches in your luggage. It has built-in WiFi and USB 2.0 for connecting to devices, and it's powered either by a USB connection or the built-in lithium ion battery. The list price of the ix100 is $229, though you can find it for a bit under $200 on Amazon.
Now, what does that buy you? In the ix100 you'll get a fast (roughly four seconds per 8.5" x 11" page), accurate, scanner that can take documents directly to either your laptop (Windows or Mac) or mobile device (iOS or Android). That much is nice, but not unique.
The ix100 really starts to earn its keep with the application integration it brings to the party.
Follow me through a few pages that show what I've experienced with the ix100. While we're going through a few scans I'll talk about how it works and where I think this little scanner could make a big difference to mobile professionals and their IT organizations.
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