Since the “cloud” has quickly become an everyday topic at our office, we have tried out a plethora of cloud-based storage services. Sometimes we even have a hard time finding which cloud we have put our files on. The more clouds we get, the more inclement our moods are. The fix-all organizational tool that the cloud purports to be has discombobulated our lives and fragmented our minds and documents. It was easy when you knew, “Damn, that file is at home on the computer.” Now, the question is, is that document on Box.net, Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive, Evernote, iCloud, iWork––or maybe it’s on the Fuji copier? We don’t need a new cloud, we need an atmosphere to keep all of our clouds in one place. Our network administrators are turning into meteorologists, and we all know what their accuracy rates are…
Regardless, Fuji Xerox has launched a cloud-based document collaboration tool that interfaces directly with its copiers. While I think this is great selling tool, couldn’t Fuji Xerox just integrate this into one of the existing could storage solutions? The apparent answer is no, it needed its own cloud, and presumably that is what everyone else has concluded. Don’t get me wrong––I think the cloud is an amazing tool. It has made my life easier in so many ways. But it could still be simpler. The market is being diluted with too many free services that are trying to catch everything in one basket. I’d rather pay for something that handled all of my cloud-based needs.
Fuji Xerox could be onto something here. It is the first in the mainstream market to integrate cloud-based storage and collaboration with its production workflow in the copiers. The power that this will bestow onto users is great. Being able to modify documents seconds before they hit the press is a great selling point. But does this make sense in the real world? The implementation of computers, print-ready PDFs, and email has already made the standard RUSH job a nightmare to pull off. In the current workflow, the ease of submitting new files mid-production has led to jobs being “approved” 4–5 times. I can only assume that this will make that worse. However, with the correct procedures in place, there could be success with this product. We will have to wait until Fuji Xerox releases this into the US market to give it its fair trial. Sales started in Japan last Monday, so reviews of this are still very preliminary.
As Jay Alabaster in PCWorld points out, “A myriad of similar online storage services exist, and many such as Dropbox and Evernote can sync with faxes and scanners. But hardware makers are rushing to launch cloud offerings that work seamlessly with their products, as a way to lock in clients and a buffer against commoditization amid falling profit margins.” All I can say is that I couldn’t agree more! Fuji’s service will cost around $45 a month and allow 10 users access to 10 GB of shared storage. The company aims to sell 10,000 contracts for this service per year.
So what is your cloud-sharing service preference? I find myself using Dropbox the most.
Author: John Mehl