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BMLinkS Prospectus

Version 1.0.0
2007.05.18

Japan Business Machine and Information System Industries Association
BMLinkS Project Committee

Contents  
Copyright    
Revision history  
Charter of BMLinkS activities  
Vision  
1. Background  
2. Roles of office equipment in intellectual production activities  
3. What BMLinkS is aiming for  
 3.1. Direction of activities  
  3.1.1. BMLinkS usage scenario A: mobile workers
  3.1.2. BMLinkS usage scenario B: office workers
  3.1.3. Requirements to support usage scenarios
 3.2. Standardization on the specifications and common implementations
  3.2.1. Direction of activities in standardization of specifications
  3.2.2. Direction of activities in standardizing common implementat
 3.3. Structure of the Document Distribution Infrastructure
4. BMLinkS marketing and planning activities
5. BMLinkS certification system and logo
6. About content of this prospectus
7. About content of this prospectus
8. Committee in charge

Copyright

  • BMLinkS is the registered trademark of the Japan Business Machine and Information System Industries Association.
  • The Japan Business Machine and Information System Industries Association holds the copyright of this document. All rights reserved.
  • • No part of this document may be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission of the copyright holder.

Revision history


2007.05.18

First issued

Clearly stated intent of activities conducted up to now.

Charter of BMLinkS activities

The BMLinkS* Project Committee aims to improve the convenience and intellectual productivity of users operating office equipment, thereby contributing to the overall growth of the business machine and information system industries. For this purpose, the Committee aims to realize integrated interface that remarkably enhances convenience of office equipment in network environment and to promote its introduction into office equipment, by conducting activities such as BMLinkS specifications study and development, software development, feasibility testing, information exchange, and promotion activities.

*Business Machine Linkage Service

Vision

1. Background

With remarkable development of information industry and rapid shift toward a borderless world, people working in the office face a variety of problems. They must meet the challenge of extracting the necessary and correct knowledge (or information) from the onslaught of information, for creative utilization to solve daily problems.

Intellectual production activities mean that people (1) study, (2) think, and (3) create achievement in order to reach the goals that they desire. In an organization formed either statically or dynamically, intellectual producers collaborate with each other, combining and complementing each of their activities to create much bigger achievement. This process demands that knowledge required for creation is exchanged, shared, or re-used (i.e. knowledge circulation).

Because each person (or intellectual producer) belongs to organizations created either statically or dynamically (family, business, community, or country), more flexibility is required in terms of the time and place where the intellectual production activities are performed. Therefore, it is necessary that knowledge be circulated in a way not dependent on the time and place.

2. Roles of office equipment in intellectual production activities

For intellectual producers to create achievements, the role of office equipment and the software utilizing the equipment in intellectual production activities is to provide functions that allow circulation (i.e. exchange, share, re-use) of knowledge (or information) by way of bridging between paper documents and electronic documents in a variety of network and IT service environments, securely and efficiently at any time and any place, thereby assisting intellectual producers in solving their problems.

Therefore, office equipment must meet the following requirements.

  • Handling knowledge with universal structure not dependent on time and place of use
  • Search for office equipment that allows input or output of knowledge, as well as its location
  • Secure distribution (exchange, share, and re-use) of knowledge
  • Efficient distribution of knowledge

Vendors of office equipment have the responsibility to continuously provide office equipment meeting these requirements to the society. Then, aggregated network of this type of office equipment should be called the Document Distribution Infrastructure that supports circulation of knowledge.

3. What BMLinkS is aiming for

3.1. Direction of activities
Intellectual production operations that users perform to achieve their business purposes, using network-connected office equipment, include  

  • Generating electronic documents from paper documents,
  • Converting electronic documents into paper documents, and
  • Re-using electronic documents.

Today, users' workplace is extending beyond the limits of their own office (department), to include, for example, other departments or conference rooms located in the same building, other sites visited during business trips, or even a public area; or physically, from just outside their office room up to a place completely outside the company. On the other hand, because multiple office equipment vendors are promoting their business, the user must use and deal with different models of office equipment from different vendors. Furthermore, available office equipment tends to change over time with product upgrade, replacement, or addition.

Based on the understanding of this situation, the BMLinkS Project Committee defines usage scenarios indicated below and aims at making them happen. The environment where those usage scenarios are realized shall be the Document Distribution Infrastructure.

3.1.1. BMLinkS usage scenario A: mobile workers
This scenario corresponds to users working outside their own office. In this case, the usage flow is as follows:

  1. The print device in front of the user can be used to print.

    (a) Data on the PC of the user can be printed using the print device in front of the user.
    (b) External memory (such as USB memory) can be mounted directly on the print device in front of the user, so that data on the external memory can be printed using the print device.
    (c) Data in the document management system the user regularly uses can be specified and then printed from the print device in front of the user.
  2. A scan device in front of the user is used to scan documents for storage at a location specified by the user.

    (a) Document can be scanned by the scan device in front of the user, and the data is stored on the PC of the user.
    (b) Document can be scanned by the scan device in front of the user, and the data is stored in the document management system the user regularly uses.
    (c) Document can be scanned by the scan device in front of the user, and the data is stored on external memory.
Figure 1: The case where users are working outside their own office

Figure 1: The case where users are working outside their own office

Here are some specific examples.

  • The user takes his or her notebook PC to a conference room within the same business location but away from the user's desk, and uses a print device (in front of the user) in the conference room to print data stored on the PC of the user ... 1-(a)
  • From another department within the same business location but away from the user's desk, the user uses a print device (in front of the user) in the department to print data stored in the document management system in the office of the user ... 1-(c)
  • The user takes his notebook PC to another business location within the same company, and uses a scan device (in front of the user) located nearby to scan document for storing on the PC of the user ... 2-(a)

3.1.2 BMLinkS usage scenario B: office workers
This scenario corresponds to users working in their own office. In this case, the usage flow is as follows:

  1. A print device in another location can be used to print.

    (a) Data on the PC of the user can be printed using a print device in another location.
    (b) Document can be scanned by the scan device in front of the user, and the data is printed using a print device in another location.
  2. Data can be transferred to a specified storage location.

    (a) Data can be transferred to the PC or document management system in that location.
    (b) Data can be transferred to the external memory (USB memory, etc.) of the print device in that location.

Figure 2: The case where users are working within their own office

Figure 2: The case where users are working within their own office

Here is a specific example.

  • From his or her office, the user can use a print device located on a project site (another location) outside the company to print data stored on the PC of the user. ... 1-(a)

3.1.3. Requirements to support usage scenarios
To improve intellectual productivity in using office equipment, in setting up the office equipment for such use, and in developing the equipment, the following issues exist.

  • Issues related to searching equipment
  • Issues related to format of data sent and received by equipment
  • Issues related to control of equipment
  • Issues related to procedure on operating the equipment

Also, the specifications must be well received by system administrators who are in charge of deploying and maintaining systems that address these issues.

  • Issues related to system management

Furthermore, specifications must be created with the consideration that systems developed according to the specifications can be used securely during actual operation.

  • Issues related to security

Based on understanding of these issues, the conditions to make usage scenarios A and B mentioned earlier possible are as follows:

<Conditions>

  1. Device can be specified (search).
  2. Data can be specified (data stored in document management system or on external memory such as USB).
  3. Security (in data itself as well as in path used in sending data)
  4. User can be identified and authenticated (can be managed).
    • Job/log
    • Prohibit/track
  5. Can be set up and managed
    • Device
    • User
  6. Common operation is possible.


3.2. Standardization on the specifications and common implementations
As is the case with internet technologies for example, with widespread use of the technologies defined by the standardization organization and thus increasing impact on the society, not only the core specifications of the technologies but also complementary specifications for their peripheral technologies are demanded. The technology areas handled by activities of this Project Committee include standardization of common implementation in addition to standardization of technical specifications. 

The technologies to enable office equipment and software from different vendors to work together are considered as target for standardization of technical specifications.

The technologies to bring benefits to users by enabling common operation of office equipment and software from different vendors are considered as target for standardization of common implementation.

3.2.1. Direction of activities in standardization of specifications
The Project Committee standardizes technical specification in technology areas that complement existing standardization activities, and the resulting technology specifications are documented as Standard Specifications.

Functions and mechanisms already specified as results of other standardization activities, shall not be reinvented with alternative specifications in the Committee. In other words, the Committee concentrates on specification for technologies not specified by other standards and if such stipulation is considered necessary. In particular, the Project Committee takes initiative of standardization in areas where no effective standards exist pertaining to functions or attributes of office equipment.

3.2.2. Direction of activities in standardizing common implementation
The principle of activities is the same as that of standardization activities on technical specifications, and resulting work in this area of activities is documented as Guidelines. Also, for the purpose of letting the BMLinkS technologies widely adopted, the Project Committee develops applications and software libraries as an implementation of the Standard Specifications. 

3.3. Structure of the Document Distribution Infrastructure
The BMLinkS Project Committee aims for building the Document Distribution Infrastructure through standardization on technical specifications and on common implementations. 

The Document Distribution Infrastructure advocated by the BMLinkS Project Committee is an environment that enables office equipment and office software from member companies adopting the BMLinkS platform to be inter-connected via network (Internet or online mode) or memory media (USB memory or offline mode), so that knowledge resulted from activities of intellectual producers can be distributed.

With (1) activities to promote standardization by the BMLinkS Project Committee and (2) widespread adoption of BMLinkS compliant office equipment and office software creatively developed by each member company, the Document Distribution Infrastructure can be built and enriched, which is expected to contribute significantly to supporting activities for the intellectual producers.

Figure 3 shows the structure of the Document Distribution Infrastructure as well as the relevant stakeholders.

Figure 3: Structure of Document Distribution Infrastructure and its stakeholders

Figure 3: Structure of Document Distribution Infrastructure and its stakeholders

As shown in figure 3, the positioning of the BMLinkS platform and Document Distribution Infrastructure are as follows:

The BMLinkS Project Committee [A] provides development infrastructure (*1) for technology specifications, certification system, and common software. Office equipment vendor [B] can utilize this development infrastructure (*1) to develop and provide BMLinkS compliant devices (*2). The development infrastructure (*1) and BMLinkS compliant devices (*2) are together called the BMLinkS platform (*3). Office equipment vendor/SIer/ASP/ISP [C] utilizes this BMLinkS platform (*3) to make it possible to create BMLinkS compliant application services (*4).

End user/IT administrator [D] utilizes the system made up of *3 and *4 as Document Distribution Infrastructure (*5), and can perform intellectual productivity activities efficiently even in a multi-vendor environment.

The expected roles of each of the stakeholders are as follows:

A. BMLinkS Project Committee

  • The BMLinkS Project Committee creates the standard specifications and guidelines regarding the technological issues addressed in BMLinkS, and provides development infrastructure to support BMLinkS platform development by office equipment vendors. This development infrastructure is constituted of common software to support platform building activities of the vendors and the certification system of BMLinkS compliant products.
  • The BMLinkS platform is a group of products providing office services that are compliant with the BMLinkS Standard Specifications, and that are not dependent on vendors. Office services are either provided as services embedded in office equipment supplied by office equipment vendors, or as software running on the general-purpose operating system of computers.
  • The BMLinkS Project Committee may provide common software to support development of BMLinkS compliant products. The common software includes software such as Integrated Driver and Document Viewer to enable end users to access BMLinkS in a simple way, as well as reference implementations or library modules for office services and client. Common software facilitates development and achieves high level of connectivity.
  • Products implementing office services can be assured interconnectivity, by passing the certification test provided by the BMLinkS Project Committee.

B. Office equipment vendors and office service vendors

  • Office equipment vendors and office service vendors build the BMLinkS platform, by providing to the market their products compliant with the BMLinkS specifications and guidelines.
  • As various compliant application services are developed and thus constructed as infrastructure, the BMLinkS platform explained earlier will have new commercial value for the office equipment and software. Because BMLinkS compliant products from multiple vendors can be inter-connected, this leads to revitalized use of such equipment and services.

C. BMLinkS compliant application service developers (including SIer/ASP/ISP)

  • The proliferation of office services and offering of common software such as client and library enable simplified development of new applications and services supporting office equipment and office services from multiple vendors. Utilizing the BMLinkS platform, these new applications and services can be developed by SIer/ASP/ISP as well as office equipment vendors themselves.
  • BMLinkS compliant application service providers can propose to customers a variety of solutions supporting the office equipment from multiple vendors.

D. Intellectual production activities by end users and IT administrators

  • Leveraging the Document Distribution Infrastructure aimed for by BMLinkS, end users can use office equipment beyond its simple print, scan, and copy functions. By using the easy-to-use BMLinkS compliant office equipment in combination with applications utilizing the equipment, intellectual production activities can be performed with much freedom and flexibility.
  • Furthermore, IT administrators can unify management of office equipment from multiple vendors.

4. BMLinkS marketing and planning activities

The BMLinkS Project Committee clearly defines the requirements of office services and office equipment that constitute Document Distribution Infrastructure aimed for by BMLinkS. These requirements shall be input in establishing the BMLinkS standard specifications.

These requirements guide the Committee in organizing activities to promote standardization of technical specification and common implementation that meet the needs of users, thereby improving ease of use and intellectual productivity.

5. BMLinkS certification system and logo

The BMLinkS Project Committee sets up the BMLinkS technical certification system so that products from each member company implementing the standard specifications of the Committee can contribute reliably to development of Document Distribution Infrastructure. The Committee strives to assure interconnectivity between office equipment from each company as well as with software utilizing the equipment. Furthermore, the Committee defines BMLinkS trademark (logo) and makes sure that the relevant products can be appropriately identified in the market as a proof that interconnectivity was tested.

6. Intellectual property policy

The BMLinkS Project Committee stipulates the handling of the intellectual property rights regarding the standard specifications established, and requests prior agreement from each member company participating in the Project Committee.

Also, while drafting the standard specifications, the BMLinkS Project Committee takes into consideration patents held by third parties as well.

7. About content of this prospectus

The content of this prospectus documents the intent of activities conducted up to now since the establishment of this Committee.

8. Committee in charge

This prospectus is created by the BMLinkS Project Committee of the Japan Business Machine and Information System Industries Association.

 

BMLinkS Project Committee

List of BMLinkS management committee chairpersons and vice-chairpersons

 

(in no particular order, title omitted from name)

BMLinkS Project Committee

Chairperson

Masaki Nakaoka,

Canon Inc.

 

Vice-chairperson

Shiro Kondo,

Ricoh Co., Ltd.

 

Vice-chairperson

Tamotsu Sakamoto,

Fuji Xerox Co. ,Ltd.

 

Vice-chairperson

Yoshiyuki Suzuki,

Canon Inc.

       

BMLinkS management committee

Chairperson

Yoshiyuki Suzuki,

Canon Inc.

(standing)

Vice-chairperson

Tatsuhiko Ikuno,

Sharp Corporation

 

Vice-chairperson

Kazuyasu Sasuga,

Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.

 

Vice-chairperson

Tetsuya Morita,

Ricoh Co., Ltd.

     
BMLinkS Prospectus V1.0.0


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