Sharp Open Systems Architecture takes functionality and flexibility of MX range to a new level

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Sharp Open Systems Architecture (OSA) is a development platform that opens the door to a broad array of value-added functionality and flexibility, allowing the customer the ability to customise a particular product to their specific needs.

Sharps OSA streamlines document workflow and enhances productivity by making Sharp MX multi-function printers (MFPs) a gateway for document-based business communications, thereby enabling customers to automate tasks and save time.  For example, businesses can scan an invoice on the MFP and integrate that invoice into an accounting software package instantly to process payments, without user intervention at the desktop.  Additionally, OSA-enabled MX machines allow companies to control access and track usage more effectively, by offering tighter integration capabilities for areas such as network security and accounting.

In the development of this platform, Sharp partnered with independent developers to integrate a large number of applications with Sharp multi-function printers. The platform allows developers to create applications quickly and easily that can display customised interface screens dynamically on the LCD panel and control device functions.  These interface screens are defined in XHTML allowing interactive browsing and communication with application screens.

Tom Primett, senior product manager, Sharp, said, To ensure faster deployment and easier development, Sharp OSA uses industry-standard protocols such as XML and SOAP. This allows the MX machine to communicate with business-critical programmes such as document management systems and workflow software, as well as perform expanded tasks on the network.

With all applications running on the network server rather than the MFP, processing speed and storage capacity is virtually unlimited, ensuring that even the most complex applications can be handled.  Furthermore, with web services lightweight communication protocol, the effect on network bandwidth is marginal.  This, combined with centralised application administration, will enable network managers to deploy and manage Sharp OSA-enabled applications to tens, if not hundreds of MFPs, with minimal time and investment.

The MFP can be enabled with one or two Soft Key modules.  The Application Communication Module (ACM) enables integrated applications to create, configure and execute scan jobs remotely.  The External Accounting Module (EAM) enables integrated applications to restrict access and feature sets by authenticating users, as well as track usage by individual, department and more.

The Sharp OSA redefines the concept of an MFP, providing innovative technology that delivers fast, flexible access to documents no matter where you are in the office, said Tom Primett.  It offers comprehensive control for network security and cost accounting applications, while ensuring that document workflow is managed easily and efficiently, and provides our customers with a flexible resource that can evolve as individual business needs change.

Sharp OSA at a glance

  • Customise your workflow
    Automate tasks and save time with seamless integration between MFPs and your network applications.
  • Take control of your workflow
    Eliminate repetitive tasks and streamline workflow, increasing efficiency.
  • Maximise your investment
    Tighter integration between IT assets and hardware will ensure greater control over cost.
  • Added convenience
    Centralised applications minimise installation and maintenance on multiple MFPs.
  • Streamlined development
    By using the industry standard for application to application communication, this flexible development platform enables fast deployment of solutions.

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