Intermountain Power Service Customer Profile
 
Summary
A consultant used SwiftView to build a powerful, inexpensive COLD system for IPSC that uses legacy data and forms.  SwiftView manages PCL macros, enabling the system to combine forms with compressed data seamlessly.

The Company
Intermountain Power Service Corporation (IPSC) in Delta, Utah, needed to upgrade the systems it used to COLD (computer output to laser disc) archive purchase orders and other documents.  By integrating SwiftView into its document storage system, the company found it could update its old COLD system at a one-third the cost of an off-the-shelf, PDF-based COLD system.

The Challenge
IPSC had a COLD system that did not have an efficient way of making changes in forms.  Generating new forms involved manual key entry input.  IPSC began to look for a new solution.  The company recognized that although the old system was tedious to use for inputting, it was otherwise efficient: people could quickly extract data and the vector format's very small size allowed the company to store the form on the COLD system with data itself.  IPSC sought to maintain the small file size.   Small file size allows a document to be loaded faster for quicker viewing.

Many of the evaluated solutions that offered ways to add new forms were not effective at keeping the files small.   For instance, one solution that incorporated Adobe's PDF format resulted in a cycle-intensive file conversion process and files that were much, much larger (30 K) than the original data (2 K).

IPSC also looked at options that reduced the file size by keeping the form separate from the data, but found it was still hard to generate forms.  The limited options and inability of any option to meet key requirements motivated IPSC to look at how they could create a new COLD system.

The Solution
At the suggestion of Calvin Chow of JJC Consulting Group, IPSC looked at SwiftView, an easy to use yet sophisticated PCL viewer.   As they looked into it, an idea brewed.  Instead of merging the forms before storing, they could post-merge the form and the data as needed to view or print.  This technique was made possible through a powerful "macro" feature of the SwiftView PCL viewer.  Forms are generated using PCL form creators or simple modifications to the existing form files."

JJC developed the COLD system to compress (zip) and transfer legacy data to the Document Storage System.  Forms from legacy systems are usually generated in PCL and loaded into the printer memory.  The data also comes from the legacy system as a print file.  The JJC COLD system zips and transfers the data file to the Document Storage System.

When the user selects a document (data file) in the Document Storage System, the document is passed on to the SwiftView viewer.   The forms are stored as PCL macros in a directory and SwiftView is commanded with simple textual commands to obtain macros from that directory for any macros referenced by the data file.  Because SwiftView can easily read the zipped PCL without decompressing, IPSC can maintain compressed data, further reducing storage requirements and increasing speed.

Results
IPSC is very happy with the results JJC Consulting and SwiftView produced.  File sizes are small because they contain only compressed data, and the SwiftView viewer renders very quickly without decompressing.  In comparison, PDF viewers are much slower and PDF files are much larger.  And because most legacy systems and modern office printers support PCL printing, it is just a matter of storing the forms as macros in a directory and commanding SwiftView to obtain macros from that directory."

Because PCL is an unconverted data stream captured at the printer, IPSC knows that the form stored in the printer memory is always exactly the same as the form people are viewing.

IPSC also got a bargain upfront and a more cost-effective system over time.  An off-the-shelf COLD system would have cost more than $60,000, not counting the additional cost and time required for new form generation.  The JJC-developed COLD system cost $20,000 with simple, inexpensive form generation.  In addition to being under one-third the cost, the JJC solution uses one-eighth the space for data and improves productivity by making the many-times-a-day function of viewing very quick.


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