Ever wonder how much the office printer  is costing your bottom line? Ricoh Americas, a West Caldwell, N.J.-based office-automation firm, has launched a low-cost application that tracks document output from copiers, printers, fax machines, and scanners, the company announced Tuesday.

Smart Accounting, which is a PC-based application requiring no central server, creates detailed reports to better manage the usage of up to 50 devices, helping small-business owners reduce administrative costs, boost productivity, and gain a competitive advantage, says Hede Nonaka, the company's vice president of document solutions and services.

The suggested retail price is $999. For more information, visit www.ricoh-usa.com.     

Cheap Buzz

With more than 25 million small businesses across the nation, standing out from the crowd can be a challenge. Getting your name out there, particularly in the media, is often the first step to landing new clients, customers, and investors. That's where Cherry Communications comes in.

This week, the Albany, N.Y.-based communications firm released a low-cost e-book full of tips and tricks for turning your entrepreneurial ideas into newsworthy  press releases.

"Be Heard with News Releases" offers examples of three types of releases and how best to use them, along with strategies for generating buzz in print and online for smaller businesses on a tight budget.

"Most new businesses fail within three years -- and it's often due to the fact that many business owners think that simply hanging up an open sign and placing an ad in the yellow pages will attract customers," says Shannon Cherry, the firm's president and a former TV journalist.

"What it takes is a marketing strategy that's effective -- and in the case of many small business owners -- on a limited budget," Cherry says.

The e-book is available at www.beheardsolutions.com/products.html for $9.95.

The Ultimate Conference Call

Need to loop 300 reps into a single conference call? Meeting Exchange Express, an audio conferencing application for small and midsized businesses released Tuesday by Avaya, a Basking Ridge, N.J.-based communications-software firm, could be the answer.

The new application, which can be integrated with both Microsoft Outlook and IBM Lotus Sametime Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing, delivers SIP-based audio conferencing for up to 300 participants on a single-serve architecture, the company said.

Based on four years of customer data, Avaya estimates that businesses spending $2,500 on outsourced conferencing fees stand to save more than $1,000 by using an in-house application.

"The ability to collaborate with co-workers and customers in different locations is at the heart of intelligent communications," Avaya vice president Eileen Rudden said in a statement.

Avaya Meeting Exchange Express is available with language support in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian. For more information, visit www.avaya.com.