Compact Scanners Help Drivers Send Paperwork Down The Information Superhighway
In spite of the claim made over the last few decades that computers would eliminate the need for paperwork, rarely has reality mirrored that prediction. In some cases, computerization has actually increased the amount of paperwork we handle. Even with the continuing threat to replace the venerable paper logbook with an electronic substitute, truck drivers are dealing with more paperwork than ever.
The problem for truckers is that while they’re still stuck with filling out paper documents, the rest of the business world wants to view everything on a computer screen; and by the way, they want to see it now. Fortunately, there is a sizable crop of very portable document scanners available on the market today, with newer and better models debuting regularly.
While those with a very steady hand may be able to successfully shoot a photo of a document using the digital camera on a smartphone or tablet device; getting a sharp enough image to satisfy electronic data requirements, such as clearly showing a signature on a bill of lading for example, will typically require a scanner that actually comes into physical contact with the document.
Some of the latest portable scanners are not only smaller and lighter than a smartphone or tablet device, but they are also able to use Bluetooth or WiFi to wirelessly connect to the phone or tablet, eliminating the need for a computer to get paperwork back to the dispatcher. Most of the scanners also provide a USB connection for connecting to older non-Bluetooth/WiFi devices.
Most of the portable scanners on the market today fall into one of two categories. The first group is sheet-fed; meaning the device itself moves the document past the scanner’s lens. The other group requires the user to manually move the scanner across the document being scanned.
While the sheet-fed devices provide a somewhat cleaner scanned image, due to the consistent rate at which the document is scanned, the benefit of the manual scanners is that they can scan irregular documents and other items that wouldn’t fit through the sheet-fed models. With the manual scanners, a logbook page could be scanned without removing it from the logbook.
One example of a sheet-fed portable device is the ‘Doxie Go’ cordless paper scanner from Apparent. The Doxie Go is tiny and cordless, with a rechargeable battery and built-in memory that lets a user scan anywhere. Just connect via USB to sync/upload scans and to recharge.
A custom-designed desktop app intuitively organizes multi-page documents, creates searchable PDFs, and sends scans to the “cloud” for easy sharing. When equipped with an add-on wireless SD card, the Doxie Go can transmit scans directly to iPhone, iPad, and Android via WiFi.
The Doxie Go is available now for a suggested retail price of $199.00. For more information, visit www.getdoxie.com on the web.
A recently introduced example of a manual scanner is the ‘ScanStik’ from PlanOn System Solutions. About as big around as a large Sharpie marker and a little more than twice as long, the ScanStik packs a lot of capability into an extremely small package.
The fast and easy to use ScanStik is said to be the most compact full-page color scanner available. Unlike other pen-sized scanners that only scan a line at a time, the light-weight ScanStik scans the whole page at once just like a flat-bed scanner, but without the bulk. ScanStik also features a MicroSD memory card slot that can hold thousands of scans, from 150 to 600 dpi resolution, in color or black and white.
The ScanStik features a fast “click and scan” function that scans a full page in just four seconds. After scanning, the user simply plugs the ScanStik into a computer’s USB port to transfer, organize, and edit scans. The ScanStik also includes a rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery, which charges via the computer’s USB slot, eliminating the need to worry about batteries or buying a charger.
The ScanStik is available directly from PlanOn, or from leading retailers, for a suggested retail price of $159.99. For more information, visit www.planon.com on the web.