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Comdex coverage by CNN and

Your copier: A Web portal?

Xerox plans to convert hard copy to Net-ready digital images and data.

November 19, 1998
Web posted at: 12:59 PM ET

by Marc Ferranti

(IDG) -- LAS VEGAS -- Xerox Corporation next year will roll out up to 20 new products and packages of services aimed at different industries and designed to leverage technology that bridges the print world and cyberspace, according to company executives speaking at a keynote address here on Wednesday.

The traditional copier has evolved into a gateway between the millions of documents that knowledge workers produce every year and the digital world of the Internet, said Rick Thoman, Xerox president.
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Xerox is focusing a major portion of its development efforts on hardware and software designed to transform hard-copy documents into digital images and data that users around the world can share via the Internet, Thoman said: "The copier is now embedded with intelligence and becomes a sort of smart digital portal."

For example, Xerox copiers, incorporating the company's DocuShare software, now enable users to scan in printed pages and send digital files via the Internet to either computers or other copiers, locatable via Internet addresses, noted the company's chief scientist, John Seely Brown, who joined Thoman on stage for the keynote.

The 19 or 20 packages of services to be released next year include data mining programs designed to let corporations take large repositories of data, analyze information pertaining to demographic segments, and produce and send marketing materials tailored to very specific sets of customers. Also included are hardware-software bundles that let companies store and print large works (such as books) on demand in small numbers in towns or cities. This would eliminate the need to print from central sites -- where the exact demand may not be known -- and then ship the printed materials around the world.

The executives also showed off the company's DataGlyph technology, which uses a set of nearly invisible glyph marks that make it possible for machines to read documents faster than scanning technology can. The company, which uses the technology in the distribution of high-end products, is looking at ways to incorporate it into consumer-oriented products, said Brown.

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