A high-performance office computer that came with voice recognition, voice input and output, and image processing.
Ricoh began selling the RICOM I in May 1985 as a special model celebrating the company's 50th anniversary. This “human business computer” was developed out of an all-new concept and an all-new design. Unlike conventional office computers that could only process numerical data, the RICOM I was given “ears, eyes, and a voice” by adding peripheral devices. This single computer was capable of processing voice and image data as well as numerical data.
The RICOM I came with three peripheral devices: a voice-recognition unit that recognized 120 words for keyboard-less inputs of command or data; a voice output unit that consisted of an auxiliary storage unit that held recorded voice files, which could be used for operating instructions or for voice mail; and an image scanner that could scan graphics, photos, and text and export them to the computer as images.
The RICOM I was distinguished by its easy system expansion, thanks to Ricoh’s original “stacking concept.” As business tasks grew, companies could upgrade their system without making software modifications by adding a fixed disk unit (up to a maximum of 134 megabytes), a high-speed Japanese-language line printer, and other components.
Sophisticated systems could be constructed by connecting up to seven workstations, which could be used as independent computers as well. The RICOM I had enhanced communication functions and supported multichannel communications (up to four simultaneous channels) and DDX (packet communications) for efficient data collection and distribution. It could also function as an online terminal with an IBM 3270 emulator and it could process data transferred from the Ricoh SP35 and Ricoh SP45 handheld computers. Loaded with both COMPOS (Ricoh's own office computer operating system) and MS-DOS, the RICOM I could flexibly handle both routine tasks and non-standard tasks. Users could also run Ricoh's Mytool, a well-recognized business integration software package.
Available for the RICOM I were five task-specific packages (sales management, financial management, HR and payroll, customer information management, and production management) and ten business-specific packages (construction businesses, automotive repair businesses, dental clinics, alcohol distributors, transport businesses, etc.) that were created based on previous packages that had a long track record of use with the RICOM series.