Novel Technologies Will Transform Work, Xerox CEO Predicts
Friday, October 18, 2002
Celebrating heritage of innovation, Mulcahy calls Xerox technology "the foundation of our growth, our future" ROCHESTER, N.Y., Oct. 17, 2002 -- Gazing into a future where disruptive technologies reshape the way people work, Anne Mulcahy, chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX), predicted they could be as revolutionary - and beneficial - as the copier, which first opened the flow of information and simplified work four decades ago. "A revolution in technology will deliver relevant and individualized information, make access to information ubiquitous, and put computing power to work for people instead of forcing people to adapt to machines," Mulcahy said at a gathering that included leaders from Xerox's laboratories. Xerox intends to be at the forefront of that transformation, investing in the future through its global research centers. Even as Xerox was going through a period of challenge and change, Mulcahy stressed that the company was positioning itself for future success. "Some people have asked me how we managed to dramatically reduce costs in order to survive, yet protect the research and development community to insure a steady stream of new products and technology today and tomorrow," Mulcahy said. "To me, there is no real choice. What kind of a victory would it have been to save the company, but trade off our future? What kind of a victory would it be to avoid financial bankruptcy only to face a technological drought? No, the answer was to do both -- save Xerox today and position it for success tomorrow," she said. On a day in which Xerox celebrated the 60th anniversary of the granting of the first xerography patent and the recent issuance of its 15,000th U.S. utility patent - ranking its laboratories among the world's elite research institutions - Mulcahy said, "We firmly believe that our best days are ahead of us. And the foundation of our growth, our future, is Xerox technology." "We are solving the challenges of today and defining the roadmap to the future," said Hervé Gallaire, president of the Xerox Innovation Group and the company's chief technology officer. "The role and form of the document will continue to evolve, largely led by Xerox research." Xerox has maintained research and development spending in its core businesses, and together with its partner Fuji Xerox invested about $1.5 billion in R&D last year. The spending is directed toward development of technologies that will be the basis for reinventing Xerox's machines, rethinking how people work and redefining the document. At research centers in the U.S., Canada and Europe, a panoply of projects support those goals. Some focus on nearer term advances; others will be the foundation for future generations of products still being imagined. Work in nanotechnology and microsystems, for example, offers the potential for developing a rainbow of custom toner colors as well as replacing the current complex mechanics of copiers and printers with sophisticated microelectromechanical devices. Coupling networking and computing power with research insights promises a future generation of smarter machines that will be able to diagnose and fix problems without human intervention for round-the-clock productivity. Xerox researchers are also looking at how work can be accomplished more easily. One goal is intelligent document workflows that support virtual communities so that documents flow seamlessly from one device to the next. For this, Xerox is developing novel software tools and supporting open standards. In the hardcopy world, the goal is to devise technologies that will make it as easy to design and produce individualized output for hundreds of people as it is to produce it for one. It would enable, for instance, individualized travel, real estate or furniture brochures featuring products and services based on past purchases or interests expressed. In addition, the company's scientists are investigating all forms of the document - seeking ways to make paper smarter as well as to develop new forms of data displays. Nearer term projects involve novel ways that paper can carry more information - either hidden or visible - and that can, for example, enhance document security. On the horizon are technologies beyond paper that will support ubiquitous, always-connected viewing so that ultra-low-cost displays can follow you wherever you go.