I hope you have read Part 1 of this blog series, if not, you can read it right here. In today’s blog, as promised, let’s explore the benefits of Optical Character Recognition (OCR), its present and future use cases, as well as possible alternatives to it.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
OCR technology saves a lot of time and cost by automating tasks. It’s truly beneficial for industries that are aiming to achieve good results in less time.
Nowadays most industries are focusing on OCR solutions for their business needs and making the process faster. Covid-19 has made digital transformation increasingly important for many businesses across the world. OCR plays a crucial role in automating tasks that require less human involvement.
There are several benefits of using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology:
1. Digitization: OCR allows for the digitization of scanned text images, PDFs, and printed materials, such as books, newspapers, and documents like invoices, receipts, and passports. This makes it easier to store, search, and share the information contained in these materials.
2. Automation: OCR can automate tasks such as invoice processing, and data entry. This makes it faster and more efficient to process large amounts of information.
3. Improved Accessibility: OCR can make printed materials and scanned documents more accessible to people with visual impairments. It does this by allowing them to be read aloud by screen readers or other assistive technology.
4. Searchability: OCR makes it possible to search for specific words or phrases within a document, making it easier to find the information you need.
5. Preservation: OCR can be used to preserve historical documents, books, and newspapers. archives documents that otherwise might be lost due to decay or other issues.
6. Cost-effectiveness: OCR can help businesses and organizations save money by reducing manual data entry work and reducing the amount of physical storage space required for paper-based documents.
7. Multi-language support: OCR software can recognize and extract text from various languages, making it a versatile tool for businesses that work with diverse languages.
Overall, OCR technology is a powerful tool that can help to accelerate workflows, minimize costs, accessibility, and preservation of information.
Allow me to explain some crucial use cases of OCR in the industrial realm.
Following are a few industries that are using OCR technology:
1. Healthcare: OCR is beneficial in healthcare to extract information from medical documents. This information may include patients’ entire medical history, lab results, and insurance claims. This allows for faster and more efficient processing of patient information. It can also help to improve the accuracy of diagnoses and treatment plans.
2. Finance: OCR is used to process financial documents such as invoices, receipts, and bank statements. This allows speed up the process and more accurate data entry that can help to improve the efficiency of accounting and financial management.
3. Law: OCR is used to process legal documents such as contracts, briefs, and court transcripts. This allows for faster and more efficient document management and can help to improve the accuracy of legal research.
4. Retail: OCR is used to process documents such as purchase orders, shipping labels, and inventory lists. This allows for faster and more accurate data entry and can help to improve the efficiency of retail operations.
5. Banking: OCR is used to handle handwritten cheques by scanning and extracting data and verifying the signature which helps in clearing cheques in real time.
6. Government: OCR is used to process a wide range of government documents such as tax forms, voter registration forms, and passport applications. This can help to improve the efficiency of government operations and provide better services to citizens.
7. Supply chain/Transportation: OCR is used to process shipping and logistics documents such as bills of lading and shipping manifests. This can help to improve the efficiency of transportation operations and provide better tracking and visibility of shipments.
Now here is a glimpse into the future…
Looking at the great adaption rate of industries using OCR technology and as this technology continues to evolve, it is expected to be used in new and innovative ways in the future.
Here are a few future use cases of OCR:
1. Handwriting recognition: OCR systems are expected to improve their ability to recognize handwriting and cursive text, which will make it possible to digitize and process a wider range of documents.
2. Intelligent Document Processing: OCR technology is expected to be integrated with other technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, which will allow it to understand the meaning and context of text and automate the processing of complex documents.
3. Automated translation: OCR technology can be used to extract text from documents, which can then be translated into other languages automatically. This will help to overcome language barriers and improve communication.
4. Voice recognition: OCR technology can be integrated with speech recognition technology which will make it possible to convert spoken words into text automatically. This will help to improve accessibility and make it easier for people with disabilities to use technology.
These are just a few examples of how OCR technology may be used in the future, but as the technology continues to evolve and new applications are developed, the possibilities are endless.
As technologies are evolving so rapidly, there are several alternatives as well, including:
1. ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition): ICR is similar to OCR, but it is specifically designed to recognize handwriting. It uses advanced algorithms to analyze the shape and style of handwriting to recognize characters and convert them into machine-encoded text.
2. ICR-OCR: This technology combines the advantages of ICR and OCR, it’s designed to recognize both printed and handwritten text.
3. Barcode and QR code recognition: Barcode and QR code recognition technologies are used to extract information from barcodes and QR codes. This can be used to automate tasks such as inventory management.
4. HTR (Handwritten Text Recognition): HTR is a technology that is designed to recognize text written by hand. It is commonly used in applications such as digital pen and paper, and document scanning.
5. Speech recognition: Speech recognition technology is used to convert spoken words into machine-encoded text. This can be used to improve accessibility and make it easier for people with disabilities to use technology.
6. ABBYY FlexiCapture, ABBYY FineReader, Nuance OmniPage, and Tesseract OCR are a few examples of commercial software that can be used as an alternative to OCR.
It’s worth noting that some of these alternatives can be used in combination with OCR to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the process, depending on the specific use.
To put it in a nutshell, OCR technology is widely used across industries. As OCR technology continues to evolve, it is expected to be used in innovative ways in the future. There are several alternatives to OCR, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
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