Neat, the maker of document and receipt scanners and associated software, has announced NeatConnect, a Wi-Fi enabled version of its hardware. It works independently of a PC, and you can therefore "locate it in a central place in an office," says Jenn Choi, vice president of marketing for the company.
A color touch-screen delivers all of the functionality required to digitize documents, upload them to the cloud—the scanner supports several popular online storage services—and email them. NeatConnect is the "world's first wireless scanner, comes with a built-in touch-screen, and it doesn't have to be tethered to a desktop," boasts Choi.
Once you load a receipt, business card or full-sized document into the top of the device, the touch-screen offers the option to scan to a selected destination. You can configure profiles associated with email addresses or cloud storage accounts. Supported cloud services include SkyDrive, Evernote, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive. Additionally, NeatConnect can send digitized documents to FTP locations or store them on SD cards.
A Small Business Document Scanner in Action
During a live remote demonstration, scans occurred nearly instantaneously after the unit detected the paper and the operator pressed the on-screen scan icon button. According to Choi, NeatConnect can digitize up to 24 pages per minute.
A scan button dominates the simplified interface and depicts the scans destinations by helpfully sprouting an arrow-like pointer to email and cloud accounts. You can swipe between accounts to change the destination. With one press, NeatConnect does the rest.
NeatConnect can also upload directly to the NeatCloud, which employs optical character recognition (OCR) and the company's parsing technology to power its Digital Filing System. It provides search, sharing, collaboration and sync services between PCs and mobile devices. A Neat app is available for iOS and Android.
NeatCloud integrates with popular business software suites like QuickBooks, Quicken or TurboTax to streamline data imports and eliminate data entry. Additionally, you can create expense, tax and spending reports within Neat. Each NeatConnect includes a three-month subscription for two users.
"The launch of NeatCloud last year offered a cloud solution that not only stored information, but also made it easy to access, organize, activate and share so that users could more efficiently run a home or small office," states Neat CEO Jim Foster in company remarks. "Combining NeatCloud with the additional flexibility offered by NeatConnect quickly puts whatever information you may need, directly in the palm of your hand," he adds.
The compact device measures 11- x 8.7- x 7.5-inches and weighs 5.3 pounds. It supports a maximum resolution of 600 DPI and can accept up to 15 pages per each of its three trays (business cards, receipts and letter-size documents). You can use a USB port to connect the NeatConnect to a PC, although it can be set up and function without one. The scanner receives firmware updates wirelessly.
NeatConnect goes on sale in October for $499.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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