Thanks to breakthroughs in optical disk technology, IBM now has two document processing systems shipping on controlled availability in the US. The two products will be announced in Europe shortly. And according to Bob Steen, the head of IBM’s corporate project office for image, the technology to make image processing a viable commercial proposition for […]
Thanks to breakthroughs in optical disk technology, IBM now has two document processing systems shipping on controlled availability in the US. The two products will be announced in Europe shortly. And according to Bob Steen, the head of IBM’s corporate project office for image, the technology to make image processing a viable commercial proposition for all IBM customers, together with an Image Object Content Architecture, IOCA, is now in place. Mr Steen, who is also the director of IBM’s Advanced Systems division in the US, was addressing del-egates at the start of a two day document image processing conference at London’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. The key to IBM’s approach is the integration of text and image on a single screen. From a user perspective, argued Steen, this visualisation enhances productivity by making applications much easier to work with. Similarly, the use of optical media to store compressed data will produce long-term cost and space-saving benefits. To date, IBM has applied image and data integration techniques to two US customer developments, based around its File Folder application. The American Automobile Association, San Antonio, Texas, is currently installing an system using IBM’s ESA Enterprise Systems Architecture, and a new Object Access method. This is designed to place and track any object – speech, data, or image, – within the company’s 3.5Tb data mountain. With 200 of a projected 1,000 workstations now in place, the AAA says its has already reclaimed an acre of space, representing an annual cost saving of $4m. Eventually, the AAA aims to compress and store 20m documents in one small office. The second, mid-range solution has been installed at Citibank’s credit card correspondance headquarters in South Dakota. The system combines 85 PS/2 workstations, equipped with new monitors, software, and data compression facilities, with scanners, an optical juke box, and four AS/400s. Several months on, Citibank is claiming a 20% increase in productivity from users processing correspondance. IBM plans to offer the File Folder system under VM, AIX and OS/2, and says that long-term, the system will be portable across Systems Application Architecture hardware and software. It also plans applications to address cheque processing, stress analysis, land satellite drawings, and skull modelling, allowing plastic surgeons to con-struct facial images before operating. With supercomputers and increases in processor, memory and optical cap-acity on the hor-izon, Steen claims that applications that justify image processing today will be even more justifiable tomorrow. IBM believes a picture is worth many many more than 1,000 words, he concluded.