Electronic office equipment manufacturer, Ricoh, has launched a new support centre in Australia that aims to extend the functionality of its software-enabled printers and copiers.
Launched today, the Business Solutions Group is expected to work closely with customers and applications developers to develop customized software solutions that meet specific business requirements.
At the heart of Ricoh's support offerings is its embedded software architecture (ESA), on which the company's in-house developers, its clients, and third parties such as integrators can build highly customized applications to facilitate office workflow and information management processes.
As ESA is an open-source platform based on Sun Microsystems' Java language, developers are also able to retain the rights to any applications they develop.
"Being non-proprietary and written in Java, it [ESA] was especially designed to attract the world's top software developers and in this way, provide Ricoh with direct access to the largest continually expanding library of intelligent information and imaging solutions," said Les Richardson, Ricoh Australia's General Manager of Systems Support.
Commenting on what he called a Web 2.0 trend towards collaboration, Richardson said the information economy was increasingly dependent upon open architecture, scalability and integration.
"Ricoh developed ESA for the office in mind," he said. "In this way, Ricoh and its customers have the opportunity to create added value together," Richardson said.
Richardson named integrated cost recovery systems and centralized on-demand printing capabilities as two recent examples of ESA-enabled applications that have already been built and deployed in Australia by Ricoh, in collaboration with its customers.
Currently, the Business Solutions Group consists of 19 staff, including one analyst, five senior technical consultants, one developer liaison, one product manager, and 11 systems engineers.
The group is also supported by the Ricoh Developer program that was established in 2005 and is now an alliance of more than 1100 third-party developers worldwide who integrate their own information management solutions with Ricoh's hardware.