Optical Character Recognition (OCR) has made its way into almost every industry. It has successfully saved time and labor by removing the need for paper-based documents to be individually reworded, retyped, and digitized.
With OCR, many paper-based documents in various languages and formats may be digitized into machine-readable text, making previously inaccessible material accessible to anybody with a single click.
The most common application of OCR is in processing cheques. A handwritten cheque is scanned, its contents transformed to digital text, the signature checked, and the cheque cleared in real-time, all without human intervention.
While near-perfect accuracy has been achieved for printed checks (except for signature verification, which requires a match against a pre-existing database), complete autonomy for handwritten cheques is still a long way off. Reduced check clearance time saves money for everyone, from the payer to the bank to the payee.
Few sectors generate as much paper as the legal industry; thus, OCR can be used in various ways.
Using the simplest of OCR readers, reams and reams of affidavits, judgments, filings, statements, wills, and other legal documents, especially the printed ones, maybe digitized, stored, database, and made searchable.
OCR technology now extends to languages that do not use the Roman character, bringing documents in Chinese, Arabic, and other scripts into the digital realm.
When there are disagreements amongst players, OCR technology comes in handy. Casinos will interface with the live casino game provider, and they will be able to review the data collected from different entry points using OCR technology. It keeps track of the dealer’s every move as well as the game’s progress.
OCR is invaluable when considering the booming demand for live casino games and online gaming in general, and as a result, the gaming industry has wholeheartedly invested in the technology.
Rather than sorting through countless files and reports, things like past illnesses and treatments, diagnostic tests, hospital records, and insurance payments can be made available and easily accessible with the help of this technology. OCR helps create a central location where one’s entire medical history is on a searchable, digital store.
Having a hospital’s whole record kept digitally also benefits epidemiology (disease prevalence) and logistics (maintaining convenient stores of drugs, equipment, and other consumables). Not to mention that combining such records from several hospitals in an area creates a massive database for data-driven healthcare policy, legislation, and supply.
Benefits of OCR
After your scanned file has been converted to machine-readable text, you can save it in various formats, including.doc,.rtf,.txt (the simplest), pdf, and so on.
Internally, people can search these files by pressing Ctrl+F on a PC or Command+F on a Mac. You can make these papers internationally accessible by uploading them to an appropriate database, such as Google Drive (for personal use) or Archive.org (for public use).
Say you wanted to update an old will or make repairs to an old term paper you prepared. Instead of having to retype the entire document after it has been digitized, you can quickly do this with a word processor, thanks to OCR technology.
Once a document has been scanned by OCR and stored in a shared database, everyone with access to that database has access to it.
OCR is especially handy for banks, which can examine a customer’s past cheques at any time and from any location to analyze their credit history. Another obvious application is having government archives accessible from anywhere, so you can look up your property ownership record or your grandfather’s birth certificate.
Digitizing documents reduces the amount of space required for the same information on a server from a few cubic inches to a few bytes, potentially freeing up room for other productive uses (such as digital space that the employee tasked with OCR might use).
In addition, the paper that has been deemed obsolete can now be recycled, reducing the demand (and consequently the cost) for new stationery.
Instead of keeping expensive duplicates and triplicates in paper form, digital back-ups may be done cheaply and potentially countless times. When combined with the aforementioned, OCR makes paperwork much more sustainable.
OCR can now read a wide range of scripts, including Arabic, Indian characters, and Japanese kanji. Using the Unicode standard and machine translation software (such as Google Translate), any document in one language can be scanned, digitized, and translated into other languages, eliminating the need for human translators to pour over printed material. Resulting in a reduction in the time it takes for a business to complete a transaction.
Whether we like it or not OCR has gradually infiltrated our lives and how we go about our everyday lives. From autocorrect to document scanning apps on your phone, you may have been using it all along without even noticing it. This technology reduces the amount of labor required to get the job done and makes critical information more accessible for all.