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Take a Close Look at OCR

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Chandni U
Chandni U
Assistant Editor

Driven by AI and Deep Learning, the long-invested OCR technology recognizes scanned text and extracts meaningful information.

Without Optical Character Recognition (OCR), scouring through cabinets of records at the most urgent hour and finding the one you are looking for would be nearly impossible. The automated technology of converting handwritten or printed text into machine-coded text has made it easier for businesses to function for a long time. According to Grand View Research, the OCR market is expected to grow to $26 billion by 2028. The CAGR is expected to rise to 16.7% from 2021 to 2028. Yet, this technology never got the spotlight. 

While data is everywhere, managing analog data can be a mammoth task. After OCR technology as a data capturing solution, the digitized information is ready for further, more advanced analysis to help companies optimize their business processes, reduce overheads, increase revenue rates, and minimize carbon footprints. There are multiple use cases of OCR in several sectors, from comparing documents to validating a cheque. 

OCR in banking

The BSFI sector has been one of the biggest adopters of this technology. The cheque is scanned and turned into digital points, and soon, the signature is confirmed, and the process ends with zero human involvement. A 100% accuracy in printing cheques is possible with OCR, but do they have 100% autonomy over handwritten text? Not yet. Experts believe advances in Deep Learning (DL) and artificial intelligence (AI) applications leveraged on OCR handwriting might move things ahead.

Meanwhile, banks continue to face the challenge of evolving legacy systems, streamlining their business processes and catering to the changing demands of their clientele in the current era of rapid digitization. As we witness high smartphone penetration, several banks are beginning to invest in advanced OCR technology. For instance, some banks provide the comfort of simplifying mobile banking with OCR. Others have used it for better customer verification and onboarding processes with improved OCR solutions. 

OCR in legal

Statements, affidavits, wills, judgments, filings, and records of all the past cases through decades.

When we think of legal documents, the usual first thought is an image of a roomful of cartons filled with stacks of documents. OCR is one of the biggest contributors to legal paperwork management in the industry. Offering fast access, the industry heavily relies on OCR to streamline the paperwork, from digitization and storage to creating a database and a search engine for all the printed documents. With technological advancements, managing multiple vernacular language scripts has also been made possible.

There are software programs and tools that empower legal professionals to focus on their clients and worry less about documentation. A software company, Abbyy, offers a web-based document processing service, Cloud OCR SDK, that can help legal offices improve their document filing management system. 

OCR in healthcare

Healthcare is also a benefactor. Medical history records can be accessed on a local server on every nurse or doctor’s phone and iPad. Why have a roomful of patient records anymore? 

OCR digitization also acts as an advantage to epidemiology and the logistics department that has to keep records of equipment, drugs, and the availability of other disposable products. Such records maintained across branches can make the managements’ lives easier. One enormous database is always preferred to hundreds of data record rooms.

OCR in the supply chain

It’s not just inventory records that need the support of OCR technology. While it does demand the fast location of products in warehouses with detailed information and transportation whereabouts, product tracking requires OCR and not just any barcoding application. 

The technology can help suppliers read batch codes, lot codes, serial numbers, and expiration dates. OCR can follow the product during its packaging cycle to the palletizing process.

Additionally, a company can program the technology to compare the current and expected text in the database. This will allow barcode mistakes and out-of-sequence serial numbers to be identified and corrected. Industry leaders claim that OCR and barcodes can create an accurate information collection. 

OCR in hospitality

OCR is transforming the hospitality sector with faster customer response time and increased kitchen productivity. Creating digital menus has also been handled by OCR for a long time. In recent years, Nanonets, a platform that helps create ML models, released the Nanonets OCR API that allows the creation of modern OCR models based on DL methods. This advanced technology helps hotels and restaurants to digitize their menus with ease. Traditional, open-source OCR models face complications that include character and frequency accuracy, insufficient training data, and minimal tools for custom-building models. 

Pairing OCR with AI

Taking technology into its wings, OCR has paved the way for enhanced automation and secure processes. By leveraging DL, AI, and Machine Learning (ML), OCR technology is evolving. It uses robotic process automation as well to improve efficiency in document processing. 

Rapid digitization has played a critical role in the change of business processes. Companies are more inclined to adopt better technologies for efficiency, enhanced customer experiences, and faster revenue growth. 

Smart Engines, a software development company, partnered with Promobot to create a high-end document recognition solution. This scanner uses the AI-powered GreenOCR technology to extract identification documents from next-generation biometric passports without transferring them to third-party sources and the need for human inquiries.

Experts estimate that the advanced OCR technology will eliminate the drawbacks and inaccuracies of the technology and improve the market growth for B2B users. 

For instance, IntSig Information Co. Ltd’s CamCard has been leveraged by over 80% of Chinese banks and security organizations for bank card recognition. Another company leveraging AI-powered OCR is Druid Enterprises Chatbots for better communication. 

The better and improved OCR technology has created a competitive environment. Calling it a quiet revolution, technology experts state that the modern OCR not only creates improved data-collecting software but has begun to understand the content. Human assistance is no longer essential as the technology can successfully identify errors. Although OCR underwent a massive makeover in 2012 after the dawn of DL, some form of this technology has always existed since 1914. It’s high time OCR gets the recognition it deserves.

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