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what is ocr

What is OCR?

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. It is software that identifies characters by comparing their shapes to those stored in the software library.

The software tries to identify words using character proximity and reconstructs the original page layout. It is a technology that recognizes text within a digital image. OCR is commonly used to recognize text in the scanned images and documents. 

Today OCR is helping organizations by converting documents from paper to paperless form. This digital transformation has made the retrieval of the required information much ease, as one does not need to invest their time going through piles of documents and files to search for the required information. These documents may include the following: 

  • Invoices
  • Tax Documents
  • Payroll Information
  • Financial Investments

OCR synchronizes them to every system and ensures automated displays.

How does an OCR work?

On every page sits a string of words, numbers, and images. The human brain can perceive this data with ease. However, machines lack this ability. Their view of the content is without any context or meaning.

OCR counters this problem by converting all on-page data to a series of universal binary lines. These lines are sent to the computer for scanning, reading, and re-assembling. OCR replicates all characters, starting from the desk to the desktop, streamlines transcriptions, and allows for effective and efficient mining. 

Pattern Recognition

This algorithm allows technological devices to recognize a wide range of printed text by comparing scanned objects with a library of characters stored in the software. When the OCR finds shapes that match its references, it will start recognizing the information perfectly and, you will get an editable file with hardly any mistakes. 

Intelligent Character Recognition

It is the most advanced and sophisticated algorithm for OCR technology. The best feature is that it is not constrained to few fonts. It also can be programmed to detect handwritten text.

It works using character recognition but through a set of rules for each character that makes it possible to see individual component features such as angled or crossed lines in which some characters are made. It is more accurate because it decomposes each character into a feature.

Who can leverage OCR?

OCR is being used by several industries facing problems such as 

  • Data loss & Inaccuracy
  • Time & Storage issues
  • Customer support & Security concerns. This technology helps enterprises such as 
  • Banking
  • Healthcare
  • Retail by revolutionizing the data and storage processes.

Applications of OCR 

 Banking

Banking and related industries such as securities and insurance are considered as one of the major consumers of OCR. Most of their relevant documents, such as customer records, checks, and monthly statements, are verified in real-time just by scanning them through an app that uses OCR technology. This fantastic software technology is enhancing security, managing data with ease, and improving the customer experience.

Healthcare

The OCR software technology enables enormous records of several hospitals to be stored digitally. It also provides medical providers with medical histories at just a single click. The documents are stored in the software and with permission, anyone can access the data such as past illness, treatments, and hospital records. 

We could say that its main aim is to make healthcare worker’s lives easier and streamline processes. The entire medical history can be scanned and stored on a computer: reports, X-rays, previous diseases, treatments or diagnostics, tests, hospital records, insurance payments, etc. All of those are made accessible in a single place and searchable.

Retail

In the retail industries, quality control through every stage of the process is critical in complying with the laws of safety and anti-counterfeiting. The items must be located within the supply chain with clear information documentation of their origin and location.

OCR helps you identifying lot codes, batch codes, expiry dates, and serial numbers to follow a product at all stages of the packing cycle – from package labelling to board packaging to palletizing operation.

OCR application helps us in comparing the current text with the expected string, as defined in the database, and flag missing or out-of-sequence serial numbers.

Barcodes and OCR are often used together to maximize information collection accuracy.

Can OCR be a boon for various industries? 

Storing information is crucial for almost any business.

Let us look at how OCR can help you improve your operational efficiency and customer satisfaction by making unstructured data searchable.

Disaster recovery

Disaster recovery is one of the significant benefits of using OCR. Document disaster recovery solutions provide redundant, accessible, and cost-effective safeguards your organization needs to weather any storms that may come.

When data is stored electronically in secure servers and distributed systems, it remains safe even under emergencies. When there are sudden fire breakouts or natural calamities, the digitized data can be quickly retrieved to ensure business continuation.

Data security

Data security is of utmost importance for any organization. Paper documents are easily prone to loss or destruction. However, this is not the case with data that is scanned, analyzed, and stored in digital formats. This technology also prevents unauthorized access and mishandling of digitized data.

Customer support

Improving customer experience is a place every company wants to reach. OCR can help your organization with that. Let us think about the customer support team where agents are continuously receiving calls or emails with inquiries. The OCR software technology can help them picture all the clients’ services with the company as the information is available at a single click. They would be able to process cases instantly. It allows the customer support team to deal with any problem requiring immediate resolution.

Mailroom automation

It creates a virtual hub within your organization where all the documents are analyzed automatically, sorted categorically, and forwarded to different business teams. OCR document scanning is used for extracting data and listing documents in indexes. With the help of this, the data within the documents are incorporated directly into the system from where business teams can easily use it.

Translation

The best way to translate a scanned document accurately and to retain formatting is by using optical character recognition (OCR). It uses artificial intelligence to analyze the scanned images and convert the picture of the words into the actual words themselves. It then deposits the results into a text file that can be used with a word-processing program.

Conclusion

Unstructured data is everywhere, hiding in documents like audio files, videos, emails, images, and log files. If properly managed can have a positive impact on both the top and bottom line of your business. Neurapses Technologies can help you in deriving meaningful insights from your data. To know more, connect with us for a free consultation with our experts.

Vikash Sharma

Dr Vikash Sharma is a Researcher in machine learning solutions.
Being a Technopreneur and founder of Neurapses® Technologies, he spends most of his time optimizing software solutions for businesses.
Dr Vikash is also co-founder of Mechatron® Robotics, an educational division of Neurapses Technologies Pvt Ltd. A principal technical consultant with 15+ years of professional experience in information technology.
Some of his technical Specialties are in Java, Python, Matlab, R Programming, SPSS, NodeJS. He is involved in optimizing processes and system design and has expertise in requirement analysis and architectural design.
Before moving to London, he worked as a software developer, technical architect, software engineering associate, and technical consultant. He completed his PhD. at The University of Hull and worked as a modular/Ad-HOC sessions lecturer.

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