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Beyond Paper

The president of Xerox's Innovation Group tells how the company is dealing with a whole new definition of documents.

June 13, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - After having reorganized late last year, Xerox Corp. is on a roll. The company's profits are up, thanks to rising sales of color printers and copiers, as well as a new focus on services, which now account for 20% of revenue. Herve Gallaire, Xerox's chief technology officer and president of the Xerox Innovation Group, spoke with Computerworld's Robert L. Mitchell recently about research and development projects in the lab, real-world applications and whether Xerox's move to services means the company is letting up on its commitment to hardware R&D. Stamford, Conn.-based Xerox registered more than 500 patents in 2004.

What role does the Innovation Group play at Xerox? The technology that feeds into the products -- the platforms that will become products -- are being done in the Xerox Innovation Group. What we do is not just the technology, but also the intellectual property management. Our DocuShare product is also hosted here. It is a business unit, but Xerox is not a software product company, therefore I manage it.
PARC is a bit special because it used to be an integral part of our research and technology organization, but it has been spun off. We have enabled PARC to work not just for Xerox but for other partners.

How has the concept of the document changed, and how has Xerox adjusted? [Documents] have nothing to do with paper anymore. This is about finding information and structuring it inside the document, whether it's paper or electronic, and it's about connecting the document to a workflow. We're still about output, still about input, about scanning, about copying -- but those are just some of the capabilities that need to be made available. Your multifunction [copy, print, scan, fax] device becomes part of an application.

What innovations are you working on that are likely to appear in products in the next 12 months? One is to use a digital camera as a scanner so that when you are mobile, you can take images of documents. The secret here is to develop software that will enable me to clean up all the errors, all the noise that is being introduced. The idea is that mobile workers can use cameras as scanners that can be introduced into normal workflows. This software could be loaded on the digital camera itself or as a service on the Internet.

Hervé Gallaire, CTO of Xerox Corp. and president of the Xerox Innovation Group
Hervé Gallaire, CTO of Xerox Corp. and president of the Xerox Innovation Group
Another example is something we call CopyFinder, which uses your multifunction device as a tool to search your repository of documents. The

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