The list of business uses for the Internet keeps growing, with companies now able to transmit and process payrolls, dentists now able to electronically process claims and real estate agents now providing immersive photographs of homes that buyers might be interested in.
Secure Document Systems (SDS) offers Internet-based remote payroll printing, letting the user generate a payroll file, then encryptting and transmitting it via the Internet to a remote office or offices. There, laser cheque printing software searches for arriving cheque files and automatically sends them to the printer with no user intervention.
This saves courier expenses, reduces manual handling and provides instant delivery of data, SDS says.
"Any organisation now can harness the real money-saving potential of the Internet," SDS president Neal Anderson says.
Delta Dental Plan of California predicts that, by 2000, it could receive as many as half its dental claims electronically. Nearly 30% will be submitted electronically by year-end, the firm predicts, compared to 20% last year, 15% in 1995, and 8% in 1994.
It says eliminating unnecessary paperwork and manual data entry saves costs at both the dental office and the processing end on average between 32 to 45 US cents per claim.
"We've reached the point now where investing in office automation systems makes sense, not only for large institutions and businesses, but for the thousands of small and solo dental offices that primarily make up California's dental delivery system," says Steven Bull, Delta Dental Plan's senior vice-president in charge of public and professional services.
And several Canadian real estate companies, including Coldwell Banker, now use IPIX images on Web sites so prospective customers can "tour" homes, apartments, office buildings and vacation properties.