What is OCR and how this technology can help your business

We live in a world full of acronyms and most of them are in English. OCR (OpticalCharacterRecognition) is one of them. But what can OCR offer an entrepreneur to help your business? What are the advantages of sending all our physical documentation to a digital database? What other applications does this technology have in order to have a more efficient company?

This technology dates from the early twentieth century and began to be used to improve accessibility for people with vision problems. OCR converts handwritten  or printed text images into fully editable text from a computer. This technology opens a wide range of possibilities to help grow your business, to automate many processes or even allow a better experience for people with sensory disabilities.

OCR as a technology to digitize

Documentation for a company is essential, regardless of their area of work, even the self-employed need a good organization of their paperwork and invoices. Although we live in a practically digital world, we still work with documents in physical format that make their search and manipulation more complicated. The OCR allows to digitize these documents.

Having all the important documents of our business stored on one place has great advantages. The use of folders and categories allows to access them much faster and orderly and it is not necessary to poke around through large stacks of papers.

Maybe one day someone will ask us for an invoice from two years ago or we will need to review a contract from a year and a half ago. Thanks to this technology, with a simple search, we have immediate access to what we need. We save time, not to mention space. All our documents, once we have processed them correctly, can be stored elsewhere.

The OCR not only gives us the option to organize and streamline searches, but also to edit the archived documents. So we can add new data or update outdated information or even delete if necessary.

There are companies that handle sensitive and confidential data that need greater protection, as required by the Law. Through OCR, it is ensured that this information is properly protected and that it is only available to those who use it, such as a law firm. or a clinic.

OCR technology has also made it possible to handle documents of certain companies that would otherwise would be almost impossible. Examples are  the Gutenberg Project, which involves digitizing thousands of books and making them freely available. A way to expand access to culture thanks to this character recognition system.

The OCR definition itself speaks of character recognition, but this technology can go even further and recognize other types of documents, such as musical scores. The application, through OCR technology, is able to read and play any pentagram, ideal for those who are starting in music.

OCR: the step from digital to digital

Transforming the physical into digital is not the only application. There are times when someone sends us a digital document, but due to its format it does not allow us to search within it or edit certain fields. OCR also helps us to convert these into more manageable formats and those that we can do the actions we want.

Even in the creation of a database and its search engine, recognition technology can help us find a specific text within an image. The images usually have metadata associated to them in which very brief information is offered.

Thanks to OCR, you can find, for example, a specific license plate among hundreds of car photographs. Moreover, it is this same technology that automates and simplifies the process of putting a fine on a vehicle for exceeding the speed limit.

OCR for process automation

Automation is one of the main fundaments in the advantages offered by OCR. This leads to an incredible saving of time and incredible resources, which then we can use in other tasks that need more dedication.

Mechanical tasks such as entering customer forms can take advantage of this technology and from there create database more quickly. The subsequent treatment of this database will allow us to give a more personalized treatment if the information is analyzed and correctly worked.

As we have started saying, the first uses of OCR were to help people with disabilities and they continue to exist and have improved over time. The current tools, through OCR technology, allow transforming documents to braille or audio files. In that way, companies dealing with the public may also offer their services to people with vision problems or hearing loss.

OCR for signature solutions

OCR technology simplifies certain daily processes, such as eSigning documents on mobile devices. Viafirma Documents meets this requirement through its app that supports both digitized and biometric signatures. This information is stored and can later be used as further evidence.

The undeniable importance of mobile devices makes it highly advisable to have an ecosystem such as Viafirma in which all services related to electronic or biometric signature and authentication are linked in the same suite.

The future is OCR

The advantages of using OCR are many and with in the future it will become more important in a society where everything is going digital. The savings incurred once the system is installed and automated allows repositioning the resources and labor to more necessary tasks. The organization will be much larger and access to information will be almost immediate, also allowing savings in time.

In addition, the uses are very varied, making it possible to use them in any type of company, perhaps some will only interest on you to file your documentation (invoices, customer data, contracts …) while others will rely more on this technology and will use it to offer new and more innovative services to its customers.

Surely in the future we will see new applications that will continue to take advantage of OCR technology. In addition, it will continue to improve over time and its accuracy will be even greater, allowing the scanning of more complicated documents to read.