When the European research centre was created in 1993 the world was a very different place. Email was reserved for the privileged few, mobile devices were heavy, clunky and expensive while computers were primarily used for word processing. We were about to undergo a technological revolution and, although Xerox could not predict exactly what shape it would take, those at the helm were sure of two things. First, that software would differentiate hardware and that innovation was where that difference would come from.
The European labs started to build such a future. We began by establishing a network with the scientific community throughout Europe and in the French Rhône-Alpes region, our prime choice of location because of its strengths in academia and industry. In partnership we created multilingual information management tools and distributed computing systems for the growing EU community and market. We developed applications that ran on networks, on computers and mobile and printing devices. To respond to the need and desire to share those applications with our customers we created the first Xerox Technology Showroom and demonstrated the ‘Office of the Future’ in 1995.
The first commercialization of our research was in 1996 with technology for the professional translation market. When Xerox expanded into the broader networked document services space we were ready to provide technology in ‘Content and Document Management’ bridging the paper, digital and mobile worlds. In parallel with the development of new software architectures and services we expanded our suite of imaging and text tools which became known throughout and beyond the company walls as the ‘Smarter Document Management’ technologies. Today these are used to process 30 million documents every month in our customer scanning sites and to categorize millions of documents in the preparation of litigation cases in court.
Three years ago Xerox acquired a leading business process services provider which dramatically changed our business and was well in-line with the services research agenda that we had been assiduously pursuing. Our research at the centre in data, text and computer vision was realigned to innovate not only in document devices but in a much broader set of industries where we continue to innovate today.
Contact: Irene Maxwell, Communications manager.