SAN FRANCISCO, July 13, 1995—The 24 information technology companies who formed the Salutation Consortium today announced availability of a draft specification to assist in linking devices such as copiers, printers, phones, and faxes with personal computers and personal communicators.

The open industry association began organizational work under the temporary title of SmartOffice Consortium. Founding companies include manufacturers of computers, network services, information management solutions, and office equipment. They are APTi, Canon, Eastman Kodak, Fuji Xerox, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, ISI, IBM, Konica, Lexmark, Matsushita, Microware Systems, Minolta, Mita, Mitsubishi, Muratec, Novell, Oki Data, Ricoh, Sanyo, Sharp, Toshiba, and Xerox.

The Consortium is defining an open architecture interface specification that will enable conforming products to identify device capabilities across a network. The Salutation Specification describes a capability exchange protocol and an application program interface (API) independent of hardware platforms and operating system software. A draft version is being made available to Consortium members now for review and comment. In announcing the availability of the draft, the Consortium seeks to enlist membership from companies and other interested parties who wish to participate in development efforts.

Later this year, after a period for review and comment, the Salutation Specification will be made widely available to the industry. Current plans include both electronic and hard-copy distribution. Companies do not have to be members of the Consortium to get the published Specification, which will be made available royalty free, although there will be a nominal handling charge for hard-copy versions.


Salutation Vision

Unlike previous visions of networking, the Salutation architecture does not assume that all transactions are initiated from a workstation or personal computer. Today many other products-printers, copiers, telephones, and personal communicators, to name a few-have processor-based intelligence. Despite their intelligence, these devices cannot always share information, and users cannot always get the information desired from the device at hand.

Taking a new, information-centric view of interoperability represents a conceptual change from workstation-centric thinking. The Salutation architecture also enables transaction between a fax machine and a copier, for example. The Consortium will support manufacturers’ efforts to integrate different devices into a network by supplying them with a standard communications and API specification for discovering the capabilities of other entities in a network. The Salutation effort will enable people to use products in new ways to manage the information flow.

Some examples of this style of interoperability could be:

  • An online FAX machine in the mail room accesses the server-based enterprise address book for determining FAX delivery instructions.
  • A data entry specialist uses the scanning function in an online copier to create electronic documents for online filing and distribution.

Salutation Benefits

According to Robert A. Pascoe, IBM Software Solutions Division and president of the Consortium, devices that incorporate Salutation technology will create a new class of products that offer benefits not now available.

  • Reduced footprint-devices can be more modular in design
  • Shared administrative functions-devices can take advantage of network access to include online diagnostics and troubleshooting
  • Reduced cost-Modular designs make it unnecessary to duplicate a capability in several devices. Both copiers and fax machines, for example, now include a scanning capability.
  • Market differentiation-Salutation technology will allow manufacturers to create new product models with advanced features at competitive prices.
  • PC tasks transferred to new information appliances-Salutation lets a user take additional advantage of a device’s intelligence to perform functions directly from that device.

Open Industry Specification

The recognized need to link diverse types of information equipment has lead to a number of other initiatives aimed at integrating computers and other devices. The Salutation Consortium has a broad conceptual design that bridges between more narrowly focused efforts such as the Infrared Data Association (IrDA), the Multi-Function Peripheral Association (MFPA), and Desktop Management Task Force (DMTF). Implementations based on Salutation’s architecture would also bridge between Microsoft At Work’s Windows environment and a broader, heterogeneous environment.

Novell Embedded Systems Technology (NEST) allows original equipment manufacturers to embed network connections and client services into their system products. Novell and several NEST partners are Consortium members, and view the Salutation architecture as synergistic.

About the Consortium

The Salutation Consortium is a non-profit corporation with membership open to all interested companies, organizations and individuals. The Consortium has a three-tiered membership structure with annual membership fees ranging from $300 to $50,000.

Day-to-day operations of the Consortium are managed by the Consortium Secretariat, which consists of Pascoe, president and acting secretary, and Shinichi Okawa, Ricoh, treasurer and Asia Pacific Director. The Consortium is already active in both the United States and Japan, and plans to include European members.

Future work for the Consortium focuses on gaining additional members to continue development work on the Salutation technology and on promoting the use of the Specification as a common method of accessing and controlling the capabilities of interoperating devices, applications, and services. In support of this mission, the Consortium will provide training and documentation for companies implementing the Specification and is considering setting up certification processes for implementations of the Salutation technologies. The Consortium is also considering the submission of the Salutation Specification to international standards bodies.


Note to editors: Complete names of member companies forming the Consortium are:


    Advanced Peripherals Technologies,

   Canon Inc.,

   Eastman Kodak Company,

   Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.,

   Fujitsu Limited,

   Hewlett-Packard Company,

   Hitachi, Ltd.,

   Integrated Systems, Inc.,

   International Business Machines Corporation, Inc.,

   Konica Corporation,

   Lexmark International, Inc.,

   Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.,

   Microware Systems Corporation,

   Minolta Co., Ltd.,

   Mita Industrial Co., Ltd.,

   Mitsubishi Electric Corporation,

   Murata Machinery, Ltd. (Muratec),

   Novell, Inc.,

   Oki Data Corporation,

   Ricoh Company, Ltd.,

   Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.,

   Sharp Corporation,

   Toshiba Corporation,

   Xerox Corporation

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: