Author: Tom

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Are Emerging Markets defining the Future of Digital Writing?

Over the last few years I have been following the progress of the Digital writing product vertical. Despite seemingly countless chops and changes in strategic direction, for the most part there has been sustained and significant growth in the digital pen market. Contrary to the often reported categorisation of Digital Writing as a ‘niche’ consumer and enterprise product, this growth is predicted to continue through the coming years. The latest forecast indicate a 17.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2016 to 2022.

So if this is a consumer niche product, and enterprise markets are only interested in surface and glass based unstructured data capture what is driving this growth?

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It’s back to the drawing board!

As the dust settles on the recent US election results and the debate moves from personalities to technologies, social media and conspiracy theorists are alive with debates over the reliability of electronic voting systems in determining the US election outcome.

Irrespective of your opinion of who should have been elected, what is clear is yet again, there is only one absolutely essential security safeguard that protects most voters in any election: paper.

In the rush to devise more efficient and immediate methods of determining election results paper remains the most universally acceptable method and basic fall back in electoral voting processes across the globe. The current debate is also assuming you can’t have both paper based systems, and technology in a single solution. This obviously ignores the possibilities of having an electronic based system that offers the benefits of integrity, immediacy, data automation, document management and user acceptance regardless of age, or technical ability, along with all the underlining security of pen and paper based ballots.

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Mind the Gap!

There is little doubt that ‘going paperless’ delivers both positive environmental and business process / efficiency impacts. The often used ‘going paperless’ slogan, was coined some time around 1975, when a Business Week article predicted office based paper systems would be largely eliminated by the early 90’s. Despite this in the last 20 years, the usage of paper products has increased from disproportionately by 126% or 92 million tons to 208 million. One potential explanation is that even while businesses shift paper to digital, there are still significant processes that sit outside the digital process. This is called The Analogue Gap.

I was in on-boarding discussion recently with a group from the finance vertical. Everyone agreed that digital data capture of new accounts for banks, was no longer a nice to have, it was now a serious differentiator in the competition matrix. Speeding new accounts to bank end systems, while at the same time identifying and enabling data connections of complimentary financial retail products with the new customer, are big profit and efficiency drivers.

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16 years on and still the power to capture it all

In 2000, ALMAR LATOUR Staff Reporter of the Wall Street Journal ran a short Technology piece, on emerging Bluetooth enabled devices. Amongst the products featured, was the brand new Anoto digital pen:

Magic? No, it’s the Anoto, a new pen that automatically synchronizes everything it writes and can send the things it registers as an e-mail, short message or fax — if used on paper with a special pattern printed on it.

“We’re bringing pen and paper into the electronic age,” says Mr. Fahraeus, who invented the pen and is the founder of the pen’s namesake high-tech wireless company, which is a subsidiary of C-Technologies AB. “It’s a renaissance.”

While some may say the 15 years that followed delivered very tiny incremental advances to the core product offering described above, there has been a recent refocus of the Anoto Group’s direction, based around a hybrid requirement of filling the gap between analogue writing and the digital data capture process. This direction is captured by Anoto’s positioning statement as ‘The Power to Capture it all”

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