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Digital pen and paper technology can change occupational safety

Two partners are working together to offer solutions for Canadian occupational health and safety market

The Canadian occupational health and safety industry can now take advantage of digital pen and paper technology from a Swedish company, Anoto, thanks to a recent partnership between Rover Technology Fusions and Calgary-based eCompliance Management Solutions.

Anoto, which has been around since 1999, is “primarily a licensing organization” said its vice-president of marketing for North America, Virginia Carpenter. It owns about 300 patents and licenses its technology to between 250-200 partners around the world. These partners then use the technology and develop applications for it, which is then sold to value-added reseller (VAR) and system integrator-type partners.

One of Anoto’s Platinum partners, Rover Technology Fusions, is a performance workflow driven company that’s located in Tampa, Fla. Rover recently formed a partnership with eCompliance Management Solutions to bring Anoto’s technology into the Canadian occupational health and safety market.

Bob Letzeisen, executive vice-president of business development at Rover, said the company has been incorporating Anoto’s digital pen and paper technology into its Rover Ink-branded solutions since 2001, opening up opportunities in four primary market segments: field services, government, utility/energy and healthcare.

Rover delivers its Rover Ink solutions through channel partners like eCompliance, which Letzeisen said offers complementary products and expertise to the Canadian market.

“We have five partners right now and we’re looking for more complementary organizations that fit our model and who have complementary software or products they’re selling to the health and safety market,” Letzeisen said. “The product can be offered through the cloud as a hosted solution, or it can be installed on site for the customer.”

Letzeisen said the economic downturn has encouraged management to focus on technology solutions that will make their company more efficient, while also being able to maintain their compliance with government regulaton. With Anoto’s digital pen and paper technology inside of Rover Ink solutions, Letzeisen said Rover eliminates the cost of loss paperwork, overnight couriers and fax machines.

Anoto’s digital pen and paper technology is comprised of two components, a digital pen and Anoto’s dot pattern on paper.

“The digital pen writes like a regular ballpoint pen,” Carpenter said. “Under the tip of the pen is a tiny digital camera that takes 70 images per second as the user writes. Inside of the pen is memory, a processor, Bluetooth transmission capabilities and a rechargeable battery. The second component is our Anoto dot pattern, which to the naked eye, looks like a faded gray background, but it’s actually microdots on a grid that make up X-Y coordinates.”

Carpenter said the pen has the ability to recognize a specific combination of dots, using a unique positioning system to then translate handwritten text into digital form.

ECompliance was founded five years ago by president and CEO, Ben Snyman, to help businesses with the implementation and maintenance of their health and safety management systems.

By reducing the reliance on paper and waiting for them to get into the hands of the right people, Snyman said the solution powered by Anoto technology helps organizations meet compliance and save time since the digitized text can be sent in real time or near real-time to others.

With the ability to take handwritten text and convert it into digital format, the issue of whether or not we’re moving towards a paperless society comes up.

“It’s our opinion that the paperless office may be achievable but may not be realistic,” she Carpenter. “We’re not so much looking at the office (environment) because we’re focused more on the mobile environments. Some businesses require a hard copy backup to keep their business running. We feel our technology is the perfect data capture device for all the areas where paper’s a necessity and can’t be easily replaced such as in the healthcare market.”

Follow Maxine Cheung on Twitter: @MaxineCheungCDN.