Version 5 of Equitrac, the print accounting and security software suite is being launched this week, two years after Equitrac was aquired by Nuance. There are new versions of both the Office version (aimed at businesses) and the Express version (aimed at educational establishments). The Professional edition, aimed primarily at the original customer base, has already been upgraded to version 5, and is not being further upgraded in this phase.
The main new feature of Equitrac 5 is the feature allowing users to use either the normal server print queues, or to use the new I-Queue. Based on a client-side application, I-Queue processes print jobs on the workstation. A mixture of server and workstation print processing is possible.
Many users only need basic printing options - number of prints, color/monochrome, mono/duplex. With these users in mind, I-Queue has been designed to be simple to use and at the same time to offer a broad reach. The single "unversal" print driver holds print jobs unprocessed on the workstation until the user pulls them from any printer configured within the system (Equitrac refers to this instance of pull printing as "Follow You" printing). When the print job is released in Follow-You mode, I-Queue on the workstation checks the printing requirements, and if the appropriate driver is not installed, it downloads it, installs it and configures it automatically. This should make printing really easy for users (who will not have to think about which print server or which printers are installed on their PCs), and should also reduce the time IT departments have to spend on print driver installs and updates. Network traffic is also reduced: there is no traffic until a job is pulled down.
Another new feature in Equitrac 5 is the web-based interface for managing users, departments and re-billing codes. Since management is done through a browser, a much wider variety of devices can be used - and without needing the full Equitrac System Manager to be installed (though it is still required for device configuration).
Among the other interesting features in this new product, worth noting are the new environmental reports - now a standard requirement of this type of software - and the web-release of print jobs which has been extended to support browsers on mobile devices. A user can release print jobs by using his or her smartphone or tablet to read the QR code stuck on the side of the printer, which opens the printjob release screen of the printer. This feature does require the Web Release option, but it obviates the need for user authentication devices (badge readers) and so forth. Companies wishing to account for all such printing activity can still use the module installed on the printing device (assuming compatibility).
This new version of Equitrac does not support Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP.