Source: eKapija | Wednesday, 13.03.2019.| 12:16
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(AUREA 2019 AWARD NOMINATION): Swan - Compact scanner for digitalization of archival materials

The Novi Sad-based company Inform Technologies has developed a compact digital scanner called Swan, a unique device for the scanning, that is, the digitalization of archival materials and office documents.

The company has been cooperating with scanner/digitization system manufacturers for years. The systems that already exist and are used in the world are usually very robust and expensive (the cheapest one is around EUR 25,000). The Inform Technologies therefore came to the idea of creating a device that will be considerably cheaper compared to the existing systems, while being just as functional.

Swan is a whole new device, easy to handle and featuring advanced software compared to the existing systems. It is meant to scan document, books and archival materials.

The idea for launching the Swan project was born in 2017, the first molds arrived to Serbia in early 2018, and two prototypes were made soon afterwards. They then worked on improving the hardware and the software, and the goal was to present the product to potential clients and investors as soon as possible.

Last year, Swan was presented at CeBIT, but also at a few fairs in China. Inform Technologies plans to work on stabilizing the product and testing it over the next six months, after which the scanner would be put on the market.

The potential of the Swan project was also recognized by the Innovation Fund of Serbia, which provided the company with a grant that was then put into the development and the upgrade of the product.
(Photo: lOvE lOvE/shutterstock.com)

INNOVATION

The Swan project is based on the need of the market for a compact device for the digitization of archival materials, including the segment of the digitization of the accompanying office documents. It entails the manufacture of an electrical scanner as a small compact device which follows industrial trends of reducing the size of electrical parts and maintaining the high level of technical characteristics when it comes to the quality and the design.

As already noted, the existing market of the digitization of books and archival materials offers robust and very expensive systems primarily meant for archives, libraries and museums. When it comes to the very limited market, worth around EUR 42 million, the Inform Technologies team has decided to go a step further and make a device which will be more flexible and meant for a wide range of users.

The Swan project offers a compact high-resolution scanner which provides users with accessible digitization service through a high-quality product. Compared to the existing systems, the product is simple to use, features advanced hardware and is just as functional, but much less expensive.

The Swan project entails the production of scanners, the development of communication protocols for connecting the digital scanner with industrial hardware and the development of a software system. The end product is a semi-robotized unit which performs semi-automatic digitization for the needs of archiving books and is a sophisticated technological product.

The scanner is of smaller proportions, uses high-resolution cameras, and sheets of paper are turned manually during the scanning. The reason for developing one such system is the speed of scanning, but also the price. One of the ideas in launching the project was to offer a device that would be available to a wider range of clients. That’s why the team who worked on the Swan scanner made a device that is far cheaper to produce than the existing systems, which will reflect in the market price.

Thanks to the scalability of the product technology, the developed version of the Swan device is a basis for the development of a whole list of various versions of the device.

Through the Swan project, Inform Technologies has formed a young and technologically competent team made of experts in software and hardware development, product development and design, capable of handling complex and innovative projects.
(Photo: Willyam Bradberry/shutterstock.com)

SOCIAL USEFULNESS

At the time when each society strives for digitization and digital transformation, it’s not hard to see what the social usefulness of one such device is.

The digitization of national and cultural heritage and all other materials and their distribution are becoming an integral part of the modern global technological society. Information available digitally is usually regulated by national, regional rules and business processes (interests).

Global e-media trends represent the exponential growth of the use of digital media. What’s more, the trend of gathering information online for research or educational purposes contributes to the growth of the e-media market.

The wear and tear that books are susceptible to and the need for adequate care, combined with high maintenance costs, further emphasize the need for the digitization of the cultural heritage of each society.

Furthermore, environmental protection campaigns of various governments worldwide, especially tree preservation campaigns, reduce the use of paper, further increasing the demand for electronic books.
(Photo: Number1411/shutterstock.com)

FINANCIAL POTENTIAL

Swan is designed and scaled so as to become one of the first V-shaped mini archiving scanners. The diversification from large, robust and expensive digital scanners on the market and the development of a compact product considerably increase the market potential of the product.

The current market of systems for archival materials, libraries, museums and similar institutions, is worth around EUR 40 million. With the new product, which will be available to a wider range of clients, the document scanning market has a volume of EUR 2 billion. The growth is approximated at a CAGR of 16.42% by 2020.

Inform Technologies, in cooperation with their EU partner, has a wide network for the sale of the product to end users. In the segment of the market of book digitization, the company is present in more than 100 countries worldwide, which gives it a great potential for product distribution.
If the Swan compact scanner is your investment of the year favorite, you can vote for it on Aurea's official website.

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