INBOX – Digitize and manage paper documents


Who wouldn’t agree, that the increased use of digital media hasn’t contributed at all to a visible reduction in daily paper consumption? To the contrary, the increased use of personal computers and printers from the 1970s up to today’s heavy use of PCs, smartphones and tablets linked to printers has caused a sevenfold paper consumption. Take alone Germany, where during 2004 in the range of up to 800.000 tons of paper for administrative purposes were used. This piles up to a 16,000 km paper tower, assuming 80g/m2 paper weight. Imagine, the international space station ISS would pass by such a paper tower at a base level of 400 km during its orbital journey.

When does the paperless era start?

In order to introduce the paperless era, we need first a simple and intuitive means to translate analog papers easily into digital formats. Current available solutions for digitizing are associated with a rather complex and painful experience for the user. As a result, handling of a physical folder is still more intuitive and faster than the user experience in current digital systems. Although, filing, storage and retrieval of paper documents within folders has proven to be effective, it has to be said, that this paper-based process does require an underlying process of discipline and self-structuring.

So, the problem is not the availability of fit-for-purpose technology, but rather the fact, that the the needs of consumers are not fully understood. Traditional suppliers of products serving the transition of analog to digital document formats are looking first of all for stepwise incremental technological improvements. They neither question the general product concept nor do they focus on a basic redesign of the customer’s product handling experience.

Based on this assessment, industrial designer Christoph Ptok and Entwurfreich initiated a cooperation to explore, how an innovative process for digitizing and maintaining print media could look like.

How to simplify the process of digitizing ?
How to support optimally the transition from analog to digital media ?

Introducing : INBOX

INBOX is a concept for the 21st century impacting the transition from analog to digital universe. The combination of scanner, storage box and app-based interface enables a simple process of document management.

Documents of different formats are scanned in – within seconds, without involving a separate PC and without paying attention to all possible settings in a complex software.

An integrated and exchangeable box serves as an immediate storage for all scanned paper documents. A digital copy passes an optical character recognition delivering a searchable document that is saved on a protected server.

A tailor-made app allows for automated filtering and thereby provides easy retrieval and maintenance of all scanned documents.

INBOX gives evidence to the fact that innovation is possible in static and stagnating markets. A thorough analysis of the application scenario, questioning of existing product concepts and reduction to key customer needs allows for a new stimulus in a product category, being on the process side without major innovation for years.