OCR- Not A Day Without It!

OCR standing for Optical character Recognition has been a technique in usage for over a decade. It has now become part and parcel of our everyday lives. OCR’s impact on our day to day lives is the most trending technology amongst all the analytics interventions.

OCR solution that can identify text (written, typed, or printed) within images from pictures, letters, scanned documents, and other such image formats. OCR can solve many business requirements and can be advantageous by reducing costs, increasing efficiency & productivity, greater accuracy, more storage space, security of data, allows editing of documents and many more. OCR has started impacting our day to day lives in a way that we are inseparable from this technological intervention.

How Does OCR Work?

OCR works on a set of 3 fundamental models or principles namely- Integrity, Purposefulness, and Adaptability (IPA). Firstly, the structure of the image or snapshot is analysed. Secondly, the OCR splits the information into elements. Next, it divides the words into characters. After processing many possibilities and hypothesis tests, a decision is made.

There are two approaches/algorithms to this decision-making model of the OCR technology. They are: Pattern recognition and Feature recognition.

Pattern Recognition is the matching of patterns or matrix. This algorithm allows devices to recognise printed text by comparing the scanned documents, images, snapshots, etc with an existing library of stored characters. When a matching is done, the information is recognised and available for editing. In case of handwritten documents, the OCR needs a more complex algorithm to detect the matches.

Feature Detection is the extraction of the feature or intelligent character recognition (ICR). This is the most complex and advanced algorithm that works for all letters, characters, numbers and even symbols. Feature detection can recognise characters through a set of rules that are entered prior to the detection. Individual component features like angles, crosslines and handwritten formats can be recognised ad decomposed to obtain the necessary results.

You might be get clear by reading on How OCR is Revolutionizing Business Processes

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OCR Makes Life Easier- Here’s How

OCR has become integrated with various apps and technologies in our regular daily lives, but we hardly notice its presence.

Copy-Paste Documents: the OCR technique`s most common and established use is to convert a scanned file and can allow users to copy-paste the content as a text on a clipboard. If it wasn’t for an OCR technique, written materials that do not have a digital backup would need to be encoded and typed from scratch. until OCR was out in the industry, a lot of time and money was spent doing all of this. Human errors were common that led to re-typing documents.

Voucher Code Scanning: with today`s mobile apps and hell lot of mobile-inbuilt programmes, merchants continue to deliver promotions which often lead to this platform. Printed formats, newspaper coupons, and loyalty stamp cards were the monotonous boring thing before. Now, codes can be automated with the OCR tool by scannable, mobile-readable codes.  Large business implications have been made using OCR technique that has also increased the promotions, advertising and sales of many products and services.

Office Filing System: We can now say bye to paper and say hello to digitalized filing systems, thanks to OCR. Convenient scanning and transformation of material can be done since machines can now read it all. Specific keywords, terms or phrases can be searched for in documents and other office materials. These digital files can be secured and protected too. This not only reduces the time involved in the process, but also reduces the human intervention thereby saving on employee salaries and space.

Automatic Text extraction:  OCR helps in removal of manual encoding along with the filing system and reduce errors in the entry of human data. Companies big or small, use OCR to automate the entry of data automated storing of the documents.

Self-Service Stores: OCR technique has helped to open self-service stores such as grocery stores, restaurants, theatres and even ticket vending machines. With the help of OCR in mobile phones, purchasing is made easy and quicker.

Extracting from Pictures: OCR can allow instant copying of text from pictures and videos. If the image has been converted through the OCR application, it can be copied and scanned in a machine-readable document.

Converting handwritten Messages, Old books, Manuscripts, Written Notes: Museums and libraries were facing tough times to retain content that people need to re-read. Old books, manuscripts, documents, and even written messages can be accessed and searchable over the internet with OCR technology. Historical data can be indexed using OCR and be made readily accessible without having to worry about losing critical information.

Assisting the Blind: The disabled individuals are granted an opportunity to work in an office with the aid of text-to-speech services. These are OCR apps that can read text aloud. This is a great aid for blind people.


OCR Technology In Business Terms

OCR is a step towards digitalization that will automatically lead the business forward. Below are the most crucial ways by which OCR technique can support business growth.

Get the Best deal for Your Business: data in the form of papers- contacts, registration documents, bills, receipts, licences, certificates, etc., are in constant existence in a business. These can be digitalised and compared with different other digital documents for comparing rates, words, tariffs, and programmes.

Audit and Manage Mismatches: signed contracts that are digitally available can be cross checked for deviations and mismatches from the original terms of agreement/contracts. This can solve the problems of inadequate supply of purchased materials or services from other businesses.

Enable analytics and other data processing: after the digitalization of bills, invoices, tax receipts, orders, etc., they are made available for historic research that can help determine the long-term trends in the market. The losses can be minimised by avoiding the bad debts and bad quality of transactions and expenditure. This can lead to lower cost of expenditure, cost saving and even increasing revenue in the longer run.

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Author: Vaibhavi Tamizhkumaran
Vaibhavi is a Digital Marketing Executive at Indium Software, India with an MBA in Marketing and Human Resources. She is passionate about writing blogs on the latest trends in software technology. Her passion further encompasses writing blogs on fashion, religious views, and food. Singing, dancing & mandala artwork are her stress busters. Sticking to the point and being realistic is her mantra!

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