What is Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?
OCR, short for optical character recognition, may not be a very descriptive name. It refers to the technology used to convert printed, written, or typed characters into machine-encoded and recognizable text. In other words, the process allows scanned and electronic documents or photos of a document to be transformed into text readable by a computer, making it possible for the characters to be edited and searched later.
How does OCR work?
Well, now that you know the definition, I will explain how OCR actually works.
As you read this article, realize that your eyes are recognizing the characters like letters, numbers, and punctuation, and your brain is using them to understand what I mean. This is a similar process to what OCR software does; it scans the information and then recognizes and understands it.
OCR in the industries
You might be thinking about how to apply OCR. It is used in our daily activities, for example, digitalize books allowing us to read digital books, recognize license plates on a highway, passport recognition at the airport, etc.
OCR is beneficial for businesses that would like to automate their processes and streamline their document management using digital and scanned documents. For example, banks use OCR to scan cheques and extract the amount, the payor and the payee or verify a signature; hospitals use OCR to store the entire medical history in a searchable and safe place; accounting firms use OCR to extract data from invoices, receipts and bank statement avoiding hence the need for manual data entry and manual verifications.
OCR x Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Many people have doubts about the difference between OCR and AI, making them wonder which one they should invest in. The answer is simple: OCR and AI work together.
Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science that has the ability for machines to mimic intelligent human behaviour. That being said, while OCR digitalizes all documents, AI extracts the data from them like a human would do.
Our solutions, for example, were developed to use both functions and help any company within the whole digitalization and automation process.
OCR in the business environment
OCR technology has been a significant part of the business sectors. By incorporating an OCR into your business process management, you can digitize and incorporate documents in your workflows. Some practical applications of OCR include:
Business workflows: OCRs can be used to enhance business processes management leveraging the data captured via OCR and flowing it to the appropriate parties without any manual intervention.
Easy access to data: Because of the abilities of the OCR technology to capture documents and to convert them into recognizable text, businesses enjoy quick and easy accessibility to their data. Searching, locating information, and altering documents become easier, more agile, and error-free.
Store data securely: Using an OCR, companies can store a large number of documents digitally on drives or clouds and access the files anywhere and anytime with a click of a button. This reduces manual labor and is much more cost-effective than manual processes.
Customer satisfaction: Customer experience plays an essential role in commercial enterprises. OCR technology helps deal with customer requests faster and process their cases instantly as all the information can be retrieved with one click.
Improves employee productivity: OCR technology not only helps employees spend time on less repetitive and tedious tasks, but they also become more focused and more productive, value-adding and rewarding tasks.
The applications of OCR go far beyond the scanning of documents. Combined with the power of artificial intelligence, OCR brings the digital revolution to many who have not so far enjoyed its fruits. Click here to learn more about our solutions.
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