Updated Canon uniFLOW Platforms Addresses Hybrid Work Environments

Canon and NTware aim to meet the growing need for solutions that work anywhere



Jamie Bsales


The hybrid workplace is here to stay. According to our study, The Future Office Survey (June 2020), almost 30% of respondents indicated a desire to split their time between the home and office once the pandemic danger has passed. An additional 30% would like to continue to work from home full time. Employers seem to be willing to accommodate, with many high-profile companies announcing plans to allow employees who would prefer to work from home (or in a hybrid schedule) to do so. The challenge facing IT departments is how to support business-critical document and information workflows when some knowledge workers are in the office, some are at home, and others float between the two.


Canon, along with its development partner (and majority-owned subsidiary) NT-ware, have updated the uniFLOW output management platforms to address some of these newfound needs. The cloud-based uniFLOW Online 2021.1 now supports touchless MFP operation, delivers extended scan capabilities, and includes enhanced data security features. The on-premises version (uniFLOW LTS 2021) offers new features designed with hybrid functionality in mind to help support users working remotely and in the office.


The updated uniFLOW Online mobile app sports a redesigned dashboard view as well as features
to improve “scanning” documents with a smartphone.


Results from our Future Office survey revealed that work-related scanning activities increased during the pandemic for 40% of knowledge workers. New features in uniFLOW Online 2021.1 speak directly to those needs. For example, with the addition of Scan-to-Email with Microsoft Exchange Online, the platform allows users to scan jobs from a Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE/imageRUNNER ADVANCE DX multifunction printer and send e-mails from the context of their e-mail account. This means users can easily access their scans after the fact and provides a record of the messages sent, as they are conveniently stored in the sender’s Sent folder in Outlook. This new functionality also provides address book integration and selection, allowing users to access their e-mail address book while scanning at the multifunction printer. For workers using a smartphone to capture documents—a workflow that increased for almost 50% of the respondents in our study—the uniFLOW mobile app offers advanced image clean-up features, such as the ability to correct the distortion that occurs if a document is not photographed from directly above.


The online platform also delivers enhanced security features designed to provide access controls. For example, audit logging is now offered through uniFLOW Online 2021.1; when enabled, uniFLOW Online 2021.1 can record administrator and user actions (such as operation history) in the tenant or device login history. To meet modern security standards, uniFLOW Online adds support for modern authentication (based on OAuth 2.0 tokens), providing a higher security level than basic authentication. As businesses look to minimize contact for shared office technology to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens, uniFLOW Online 2021.1 expands touchless device operation features with the ability to release print jobs without touching the device. The platform also offers an optional auto-release feature that can automatically release all print jobs after the user has authenticated with a card swipe, helping to limit the need to interact with the printer’s operation panel.


For customers that prefer a server-resident on-premises solutions, uniFLOW LTS 2021 extends the hybrid platform for users—allowing businesses to better leverage a mix of cloud and on-prem technology. This solution combines several new features, including the ability to download print jobs from uniFLOW Online and upload background scans. It also incorporates functions consistent with the uniFLOW platform, such as hybrid device scanning and touchless operation features on compatible Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE and imageCLASS devices.


These enhancements should put uniFLOW on the radar for even more organizations looking to support this brave new world of work we all face. Subscribers to our bliQ Solutions Center service can stay tuned for our hands-on reviews of the updated uniFLOW platforms in the coming months.


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