RICOH @Remote (At Remote) is a new kind of Internet-based support for remote management of digital multi-purpose devices and laser printers.
With the advent of this kind of service, the status of devices on the network can be monitored in real time, required services can be delivered rapidly, and breakdowns prevented and downtime shortened.
In the event of a breakdown, the awkward processes of checking the situation and notifying a center can be eliminated, together with their burden on the customer. The automatic meter reading and toner ordering functions also raise the efficiency of day-to-day device management. In addition, the detailed device information in all applicable devices enables more efficient management of the fleet.
This service, one step ahead of the competition, began in Japan at the end of last year.
A partial service began in the USA from April 2005, and will roll out to Europe, Asia and elsewhere in due course.
What is RICOH @Remote?
RICOH @Remote is a new remote service for networked output devices connected in a LAN/Broadband environment, letting customers use them with greater convenience and peace of mind.
Main Tasks of RICOH @Remote
1.Minimise manual tasks
For example, meters/counters of network-connected MFP and printers are read automatically. Previously, tasks associated with collecting and reporting meter/counter readings done via the customer checking the meter/counter, then filling out a postcard or making a call, are no longer necessary.
2.Monitor Fleet Activity
Besides the total pages printed by each printer, the service reports detail device usage information, such as usage of each page size, double-sided printing rate, colour/monochrome breakdown, and usage in each mode (copier, printer etc.).
Periodic monitoring of each device on the network keeps track of the connection status and usage of each device.
That information can be employed in the user's device management, and we can also provide the user with proposals on how to use the devices, based on the environment in which they operate.
3.Automating Service Call notification to minimise downtime
A device's self-diagnostic data is automatically forwarded to the Data Center in the event of a breakdown or other problem.
The service provider receiving the information can take immediate and appropriate action, making rapid CE or Service Technician arrangements to simplify the process of requesting a repair, and minimising device downtime.
*The timing of RICOH @Remote introduction, and the content of the service, may vary between countries, regions, installation environments and the devices used. Ask the regional headquarters for your area for details.
Overview of Operation
RICOH @Remote uses the following methods to ensure security in communications
- Remote Communication Gate (RC Gate) obtains ISO 15408 certification (Common Criteria) that is the international standard to evaluate IT security of a product or system (RC Gate for Japan is not applied).
- Communications with the Data Center pass through the security network configured by the customer.
- Communications between RC Gate and Ricoh, and between devices and RC Gate, use the SSL system (*).
*SSL (Secure Socket Layer), a protocol with added data encryption, is widely used in applications such as Internet shopping.
- The devices, RC Gate and Ricoh systems, each have their own electronic certificates.
These certificates are exchanged before every communication transaction, authenticating the counterpart for each party before using the public key encryption for communications, which protects data from improper acquisition through spoofing. The RC Gate and each device has its own, specific certificate.
- The RC Gate regularly polls the Ricoh Group side to report its operational status, and to verify the instruction sent by the Data Center. When the devices are accessed from the Data Center for purposes such as firmware updates, communication is only enabled after mutual cross-checking when the RC Gate polls the Data Center at regular intervals. Therefore, the Ricoh Group will never initiate an RC Gate action from the Internet.
Also, the RC Gate makes automatic reports at the following times.
(These are not communications at polling times)
- Meter/counter reporting (automatic meter/counter reading), automatic notification of a breakdown, alarm information, manual calls and toner calls.
- RICOH @Remote sends information on services provided, such as maintenance of managed devices, and RC Gate (the RICOH @Remote dedicated device) registration information, to the Data Center. The RC Gate never acquires any data that has been scanned or output by the devices.