Canon’s UniFLOW Solution – Follow Me \ Secure Printing

March 31, 2009

Canon’s new MEAP application is the Swiss army knife of MEAP (Multi-Functional Embedded Application Platform) solutions.

But one feature in particular has caught my eye, the follow me (secure) printing functionality. With this functionality an end user who is logged in to their companies domain prints to one of two generic Canon Print queues (Either B&W or Color). Their print job is stored securely on the Canon UniFLOW server. The end user then walks to their closest Canon MEAP enabled UniFLow MFD and releases their job by Identifying themselves with a Proximity Card, or Swipe Card, or even a simple Pin Code that is associated with their Windows AD Logon.

Think of the ramifications of this. Not only does it give you secure printing but convenience AND redundancy! The secure printing benefits are obvious (compliance, and privacy with no need for personal printers). But the other benefits are more subtle but just as real. Convenience, actually security with convenience (See article on the Next Killer App). Because there is convergence of technologies between the Active Directory Logon that so many companies use, and the security swipe or proximity cards that companies often use to open their doors. Tie these together with your MEAP enabled Canon MFD and wallah! you have security with convenience.

Now add in redundancy, when the first Canon MFD is busy or down (that never happens) for a PM (of course) the end user is barely even inconvenienced. Because instead of having to go back to their desk and log back on to their PC (or set up their laptop again if they shut it down), and then open the application they had printed from and hopefully have a back up printer already set up, so they can FINALLY reprint their job in total frustration. Instead of that scenario with the Canon UniFLOW solution they simply walk to the next closest MEAP enabled Canon MFD (running the UniFLOW app) and release their job at that Canon MFD. No frustration, no waiting, no problems.

I know the techies will really like the secure part of this solution (the security people too), but the average end user will think that the redundancy feature is the coolest thing since they started slicing the bread BEFORE they wrapped it up! The help desk will also like the fact that they only need to support two print queues.

I know that Canon will be showing the UniFLOW solution (with all of its functionality) at the On Demand \ Aiim show in Philly this week. If you are going to be there you should stop by the Canon booth to see it. Those of you who sell or buy Canon’s will be in awe (since Canon owns this solution, it is a Canon only app). The other manufacturers can come by to see how its done.

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh

PS: I will be on the floor at On Demand on 4/1/09.


One comment

  1. Vince,

    Heres my question to you on this. When the customer decides to go away from Canon equipment, does it support other vendors? Or because it is a MEAP application that is not in an open platform code will the investment then be useless? I take it that you are trying to sell this package to lock your customers in so it would be more difficult for them to move to a better solution elsewhere?

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