OCR, or optical character recognition, refers to software that’s able to convert written text or printed letters into a digital format. It’s one of the most important technologies behind lots of products. However, not many people know what is it, how it works and why it is used in so many cases. That’s why it’s time to zoom in on this incredible form of digital automation.
Teaching computers how to read
We come across text-based documents in almost every part of our lives – from sending work emails to singing an employee contract. A lot of them are stored on our laptops, phones or in the cloud, but others are printed, hand-written or in a physical space. This comes with a unique challenge as information in analog text can’t be easily read and used by a computer. To make it more clear, taking a photo of a document with a camera or a scanner only creates a digital image that’s made up of pixels with different properties. A computer can display, reproduce or edit the image, but not understand it. In order to do this, the device needs the ability to look at an image and recognize the abstract shapes we call letters and numbers. In short, a computer would need the ability to read.
What is OCR used for?
It quickly became clear that OCR technology could be used for a variety of purposes. Here’s a lists of some popular examples:
- Converting handwriting into digital text
- Scanning documents to help an organization to go paperless
- Reading passport information at airports or border control
- Automatic number plate recognition by traffic police
- Scanning all types of contracts
One of the most popular cases, however, is data entry. Ever since people invented computer, they’ve been looking for ways to have them do their work – and this is one of the best examples. Having to manually enter information into a computer can take a lot of time especially when you have to do it on a regular basis. Almost everyone who uses a computer for work has to do it sometimes and this is where OCR comes into play.
Eliminate manual work
Regardless of how well you are trained or how skilled you are, manual data entry is always prone to errors. In many cases a typo or minor mistake won’t be a big deal, but add all mistakes together and you’ll end up being frustrated or even worse: it costs you serious money. Using OCR technology excludes the human errors and lets you spend more time on things that require deeper thinking.
We therefore use OCR technology for our own software solutions such as Expense Management and Invoice Processing. All of our users deliver their documents by either taking a photo or a scan and we’ll do the rest. Besides using OCR technology for our own solutions, we offer it is a service that can be used for almost everything – all in order to help organizations to go paperless.
If you’d wish to receive more info or would like to test our OCR technology, feel free to shoot us a message at [email protected].