Killer Conference: AIIM ’98

kcaNothing--neither sporadic rain showers, messy road construction, defective conference tote bags, nor the lure of Disneyland--could keep nearly 40,000 end-users, industry analysts, vendors, PR representatives, and journalists away from the Anaheim Convention Center and Anaheim Hilton & Towers when the Association of Imaging and Information Management (AIIM) held its annual conference May 10-14, 1998. In those four days, more than 2,200 paid attendees traversed a 214,000 square foot, 300-vendor exhibit floor and visited 107 different sessions to learn about COLD, imaging, workflow, electronic commerce, converged Web applications, and other knowledge, records, and document management technologies and trends.

To the casual observer--and even to the active participant--AIIM '98 may have seemed like an endless barrage of product announcements and acronyms. In fact, just trying to find a consistent answer to the commonly asked "What's the difference between EDM (Enterprise-wide, or Electronic, Document Management), RM (Records Management), and KM (Knowledge Management)?" proved to be its own mission impossible. But the real testament to AIIM's popularity and value wasn't the sessions, but the parade of products making their debut.

Kodak Business Imaging Systems alone made at least a dozen announcements from its massive booth. Besides publicizing a new partnership with Kofax Image Products through which the companies will share technical knowledge and collaborate on the development of future document-scanning products, Kodak introduced a variety of new products and capabilities. Perhaps the biggest news is the availability of the Kodak Digital Science CD Library 144 for Macintosh users using Miles Apart CD Server Software 2.0, which allows users on an AppleTalk network to access information on CDs stored in the CDL 144 as if they were mounted locally. The company also unveiled the Kodak Digital Science Scanner 3500 and its corresponding Mid-Volume Capture Software; a Super 12 Document Printer that replaces its Imagelink DP-12 Printer; new accessories for the Kodak Digital Science Scanner 9500; and an upgrade to its Digital Document Archive System.

Information Management Research (IMR) conducted Alchemy `98--its own one-day conference--at AIIM to capitalize on a series of announcements made throughout the month of May. During the show itself, IMR announced Web access to the document and COLD databases created with Alchemy, its flagship software, as well as Scan2CD support for Fujitsu's 3097/DE and 3097/DEG scanners. Just prior to AIIM, IMR announced support for Pioneer's new DVD-R drive and media and DVD-ROM jukebox--a move that will surely expedite, or at least ease, the anticipated conversion of business users from CD to DVD-based products in the months to come.

Hyland Software Inc. unveiled version 3.5 of OnBase, its comprehensive information management system. Designed to support every aspect of the document management life cycle--from capture to distribution--OnBase 3.5 brings a host of new features to the information professional, including OnBase Workflow, which provides automatic routing and tracking of electronic documents based on customer-defined criteria; OnBase EDM Services, for the storage and management of multiple document formats; and OnBase DMA Client, which allows the user to retrieve documents from other vendors' DMA-compliant server systems.

Panasonic moved to prove that its new DVD-RAM drive and media--which began shipping in early May--are gaining the support of software developers by releasing a list of companies who either have announced software availability or confirmed their plans to support the official, DVD Forum-approved format through Panasonic products. Companies supporting the Panasonic LF-D 101 and its 2.6GB single-sided and 5.2GB double-sided media include Adaptec, Adobe Systems, Corel, OTG Software, prassi Software, Sonic Solutions, and Symantec.

dvdMeridian Data Inc. showcased Snap! Server, its new network-attached storage device for most Ethernet LAN environments. Preconfigured to support all major PC network protocols on Windows, OS/2, DOS, and UNIX platforms, Snap! Server attaches to the network, rather than the file server, to eliminate non-essential network traffic. The company also expanded its line of DVD and CD-ROM networking products with the announcement of a new CD-ROM jukebox solution that combines its CD Net Jukebox Manager for Windows NT software with NSM Jukebox's Mercury 40 jukebox, which supports 150 CD-ROMs.

Pioneer New Media Technologies Inc. announced the July availability of its 100-disc DVD-ROM jukebox, the DRM-1004V40. Featuring Pioneer's own DVD-ROM drives, which promise a sustained data transfer rate of 3.5MB/sec for 2.5X DVD-ROM and 3MB/sec for 20X CD-ROM, the jukebox can be configured to hold up to four drives and stores 470GB of text- and image-based information.

Tracer Technologies Inc. demonstrated two additions to its suite of jukebox management products, which now support optical, CD, DVD, and tape. Tracer's TapeFS software automatically and transparently migrates data from a hard drive to optical to tape using criteria outlined by the system administrator. Its Migration to CD-R toolkit provides a set of file management tools through which data files can be automatically transferred to CD-R.

Verbatim Corporation introduced a series of products and reinforced its commitment to CD-RW technologies. Among the products making an AIIM debut: the Verbatim 5200, a 5.2GB MO drive with data transfer rates of up to 10MB/sec; 5.2GB media that will hold the equivalent of 21 four-drawer filing cabinets on a single, removable 5.25-inch disk; a new line of DLT cartridges for data backup and recovery; and the SS600 Storage Scanner, a Windows 95- and NTbased document imaging system featuring a high-speed ADF flatbed scanner with integrated CD-RW drive and database software from Optidoc.

Macrosoft debuted version 6.0 of Synergy, its global information management software. Consisting of four component packages--MacroFiche/NT, MacroFiche/IQ, Macrolmage Plus!, and MacroChek--Synergy enables users to store, retrieve, and view all types of information, including document images, COLD data, and even full-motion video and sound, within a single system. The latest version adds an enhanced folder management module, user preferences interface, and Web integration services for information access and distribution across the Internet, corporate intranets, and the Web.

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