by Amy Weiss | 2/4/16

On February 2, Canon U.S.A. announced the release of the latest version of its output management, device management and smart scanning solution, uniFLOW V5.4. The new version of Canon’s software offers one integrated platform for print, scan and device management, improved scanning and mobile printing, and enhanced office printing.

The new V5.4 uniFLOW also extends secure printing to several Océ large-format and production printers and introduces secure workflow-enabled scanning to Canon’s imageFORMULA ScanFront Network Scanners. These scanners offer the same user experience as the imageRUNNER ADVANCE, and uniFLOW V5.4 also integrates with the imageRUNNER ADVANCE 8500/6500 series, new high-volume MFPs it announced Feb 2.

“The demands of the office environment are continually evolving, and Canon is committed to refining our solutions to provide the best possible resources as businesses grow and adapt to new trends,” said Junichi Yoshitake, senior vice president and general manager, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A., Inc. in a prepared statement. “With uniFLOW Version 5.4, we’ve expanded upon the success of Canon’s award-winning technology and continue to simplify and improve the user experience by providing users with greater flexibility, control and convenience required to manage their workflow processes.”

In addition to the integration with ScanFront Network Scanners and production printers noted above, Canon says some of the other improvements in uniFLOW V5.4 include greater control and flexibility for administrators in supporting mobile print requirements; an enhanced card identity and self-management interface, allowing users to conveniently register multiple identity cards or temporary cards directly from the Canon device touch screen; and a new energy-saving, sleep mode feature that allows uniFLOW controlled imageRUNNER ADVANCE systems to utilize as little as 1 watt or less of energy.

Our Take

Initially, uniFLOW was labeled as print management software. Although uniFLOW V5.4 certainly still functions in that capacity it has grown with the changing needs of the enterprise to add a number of solutions that allow it to manage documents, security, scanning — in essence, evolving in the same way that print management itself has evolved.

The mobile printing options, for instance, include enhanced guest printing options, recognizing the increased prevalence of mobile devices and allowing administrators to determine which functions will be offered to guests. This recognizes not only the need for mobile print from multiple devices but also the inherent need for security that comes along with that. The new card registration options include a clean-up task to remove temporary cards, and the central device management also allows users to self-manage cards from the touch screen, which cuts down on administrator time while still allowing for tracking and monitoring.

uniFLOW’s scanning solution allows integration between MFPs and networked scanners, allowing for a single platform to control both printing and scanning — another growing need in an increasingly digital workforce. New destinations include OneDrive for Business, SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online, as well as Canon’s Therefore information management software. The scanning itself is said to be greatly improved, with an updated processing engine that is faster and offers despeckling and deskewing capabilities for cleaner output. It also has new “Convert to Word/Excel” options.

Canon’s latest uniFLOW software is evidence of an ever-more-mobile workforce and an increasingly digital one as well. However, features such as the simplified pricing profile including calculators for ink and toner, and the automated default price profile that ensures statistics collection show that while business may strive to be more digital, they still recognize their reliance on print.  

 

Amy Weiss is editor-in-chief of BPO Media’s publications Workflow and The Imaging Channel and analyst for BPO Research. She has more than 20 years’ professional writing and editing experience and has specialized in the office technology industry for the last 14 years, focusing on areas including print and imaging hardware and supplies, workflow automation, managed print, document management solutions and software, business solutions and more. Contact her at amy@bpomedia.com.