I attended the 2011 international CES show in Las Vegas last week. I’m posting some of my observations on monitors and scanners which would be useful for mobile accountants below. I’m looking forward to working with the ScanSnap S1100 and putting it through its paces!
There has (finally) been some innovation in the mobile monitor space to make it much easier for mobile users (e.g. road warriors) to have two monitors without carrying a ton of gear. Two new models offer road warriors workable solutions for that second display, the Toshiba Mobile Monitor (to be released in March 2011, price TBA) and the Field Monitor Pro from Mobile Monitor Technologies ($289 from www.mmt2.com)
Figure 1: The Toshiba Mobile Monitor is a 14.1" LCD display which runs on USB power. (available March 2011)
The Toshiba device uses one USB 2.0 slot to provide a second 14.1” display (1366 x 768) for an external monitor, and we understand that there will be a USB 3.0 version coming soon. This exciting new offering comes in a leather folio which seals with Velcro, and can be used as a stand for the monitor on any flat surface. The model we saw was a prototype, and we were told that this device will be available in March, 2011. (Pricing not available at press time)
Figure 2 - The Field Monitor Pro, from www.MMT2.com is $279, and includes a numeric keypad.
Although they were not at CES 2011, the enterprising accountants at Mobile Monitor Technologies appeared at the 2010 CCH User Conference with the Field Monitor Pro. This device is similar to a very thin laptop, and its 15.4” 1280x800 display is connected to a PC using a USB port. The LCD can be positioned using three different stands, and includes a full numeric keypad. The Field Monitor Pro is priced at $279, and is available now from www.mmt2.com.
Scanners for use on the road have been a challenge for accountants on the go for some time, and although Fujitsu has offered the ScanSnap S1300 portable scanner for some time, this device is still somewhat bulky to carry every day or for road warriors. Fujitsu recently released the ScanSnap S1100 to fill this gap in their product line.
Figure 3 - Fujitsu's ScanSnap S1100 offers portable scanning in a micro-sized footprint.
Weighing in at a light 12.3 ounces, the svelte (10.74” x 1.33” x 1.87”) ScanSnap 1100 scans one side of one page at a time, and will handle hard to scan originals like embossed cards without an issue. Scanning takes 7.5 seconds per page, which puts the speed for this device at about six pages per minute.
Figure 4- The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 portable scanner
Although the scanner itself is impressive, the real advances made by Fujitsu are in the accompanying ScanSnap Manager software, which has been extended to allow users to scan documents directly to PDF files, e-mail messages, printers, or to numerous cloud applications for online collaboration. One-click online document sharing is available for Evernote, SharePoint, and Google Docs.
Figure 5 - Fujitsu's ScanSnap Manager software allows one-touch uploads to numerous document portal services.
Another alternative for mobile scanning is to use software to convert the high quality digital cameras in tablets and cellular phones into a scanning device. One application, PDF Scanner, which is available for Windows Mobile 6, Android, and the iPhone, will take pictures of documents and convert them into PDF files, which can then be either downloaded using a cable or attached to e-mail messages. PDF scanner is available from most cell phone application stores, and more information can be found at www.melonmobile.com.