A look back at AIIM 2009

Anne Valaitis
Apr 22, 2009

When I first walked into the Philadelphia convention center show this year, I have to admit I was a little taken back. In years past the joint AIIM/OnDemand expo was certainly much larger and decidedly louder. Gone are the book printers and roll fed devices demonstrating their might and churning out samples. Booths themselves were scaled back, and large product left behind in their place, brochures and posters. Staff was minimized as well, obviously a sign of the economic turmoil we find ourselves living in. Some vendors opted to go off the show floor and make use of meeting room space (Fujitsu), some opted out of the show altogether (Kodak). As a past attendee and exhibitor, I do remember foot traffic being heavier, however I also recall many demonstrations to clearly uninterested people who really just wanted the very cool pen, flashing ball, t-shirt, clock, calculator, sticky pad, USB stick or squishy thing we happened to be giving away. The vast majority of attendees of the past were casual lookers, somewhat buys, technofiles, and friends there to visit whatever cool city we were in. Attendees this year may have thought long and hard whether to attend, made a comittment to travel when many are not or cannot. Attendees this year were looking for solutions to either help them drive cost out of operations or understand ways these solutions can help them develop new business and grow existing. Attendees this year were more serious…maybe even more qualified than years past, the cool pen was an after thought.

The theme on the AIIM side, especially from the hardware participants was most certainly “Solutions”. Not just providing a component to a customer but an entire answer to a specific business issue often involving software and services as well as hardware. There was lingering product speak (the speeds and specs just can’t go away completely) but the majority of the messaging has evolved to customer pain points, specific process automation, and most certainly the ROI.

If there was a secondary theme it was simplicity…vendors have been making concerted efforts to create a more acceptable user experience at the device level on through to the accompanying software solution. Device usage often involves varying levels of knowledge worker and simpler more user friendly experiences can certainly go a long way to drive usage. From a hardware perspective we viewed many vendors showcasing new interfaces for their product often driven directly by a supporting software partner. Buttons, touch screens and menu’s designed to aid the user in their pursuit for a desired result. More than one vendor expressed the need to remove the burden of being an expert on the hardware and enabling the technology in a more user friendly manner.

Interesting things we spotted:

– Canon previewed the DR-9050C which will be launched later this year. Three products will be launched off the one platform the DR6050C, the DR7550C and the DR9050C, all production class scanners. In addition the ScanFront 220eP with embedded eCopy Sharescan was introduced.

– HP demonstrated a host of partners along with their new scanning products — the new ScanJet 7000 (now shipping), ScanJet 5000. In addition a preview of the was the ScanJet 7000N, large touch panel with integrated keyboard.

– Fujitsu, off the show floor, used the fi-6010n as a vehicle to showcase a mass of solutions from a number of vendors including: ABBYY with a very cool TouchTo application, Drivve, Hyland, Imagetek, Knowledge Lake, Kofax, Notable Solutions, Marex Group and One Touch Global

– Bowe Bell and Howell, also off the floor in a meeting room had the Ngenuity production scanner running. Very impressive design and feature set from BBH that will come in 3 speeds.

– Visioneer in conjunction with Xerox presented a new card scanner, mobile scanner and flatbed scanner

Overall the show was smaller but the vibe was good, upbeat, encouraging. Solutions and services play a big role in this new business environment. A results-oriented approach to marketing and messaging is a key priority for many vendors, in tough times, stand up and get noticed for your products and services. There were many people standing.

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