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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 (Optical Character Recognition) is one of them, but what is OCR and what can it offer an entrepreneur to help his business? What are the advantages of being able to transfer all physical documentation to a digital database? What other applications does this technology have for a more efficient operation of a company?

OCR dates back to the early 20th century and began to be used to improve accessibility for the visually impaired. We could simply define OCR as a technology that converts images of handwritten or printed text on any surface into fully editable text on a computer.

This technology opens up a wide range of possibilities when it comes to helping your business grow and automating many processes or even enabling a better experience for people with sensory disabilities.

Technology to digitize

Documentation is essential for a company, regardless of its area of work, even freelancers need a good organization of all their papers and invoices. Although we live in an almost digital world, we still work with documents in physical format that make their search and manipulation somewhat more complicated. OCR makes it possible to digitize all of this.


Having all the important documents of our business in one place has great advantages. The use of folders as categories allows a much faster and orderly access and there is no need to dig through large piles of papers.

One day we may be asked for an invoice from two years ago or need to review a contract from a year and a half ago. Thanks to pre-scanning, with a simple search, we have immediate access to what we need. We save time, not to mention space. All the papers, once we have processed them correctly, can be stored elsewhere.

This technology not only gives us the option to organize and speed up searches, but also to edit archived documents. We can add new data or update outdated information or even delete if necessary.

There are companies that handle sensitive and confidential data that require greater protection, as required by law. OCR ensures that this information is duly protected and that it is only available to those who can use it, such as a law firm or a clinic.

This technology has also made it possible to carry out certain undertakings that would otherwise be almost impossible to carry out, at least without a huge amount of resources. We are talking about work such as Project Gutenberg, which consists of digitizing thousands and thousands of books and making them available to the general public free of charge. A way to expand access to culture thanks to this system of character recognition.

The very definition of OCR refers to character recognition, but this technology can go even further and recognize other types of documents, such as musical scores. The application is capable of reading and reproducing any staff, ideal for those who are just starting out in music.

The step from physical to digital

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

Even in database creation and its search engine, recognition technology can help us find specific text within an image. Images often have metadata associated with them in which very sparse information is provided.

Thanks to this technology, it is possible to find, for example, a specific license plate among hundreds of photographs of cars. Moreover, it is this same technology that automates and simplifies the process of ticketing a vehicle for speeding.

OCR for process automation

Automation is one of the main axes in the advantages offered by OCR. This leads to incredible savings in time and resources, which we can then use for other tasks that require more dedication.

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

As we have started saying, its first utilities were to help handicapped people and they still exist and have been improved with the passing of time. Today’s tools make it possible to transform documents into Braille or audio files. Thus, companies dealing with the public can also offer their services to people with vision or hearing problems.

OCR for signature solutions

OCR technology facilitates certain procedures that are becoming more and more common these days, such as the management of documents that need to be signed on mobile devices. Viafirma Documents does this through its application that supports both digitized and biometric signatures. This information is stored and can later be used as another evidence.

The undeniable importance of mobile devices makes it highly recommendable to have an ecosystem like Viafirma’s in which all the services related to electronic or biometric signature and authentication are united in the same suite.


The future is OCR

The advantages of using this technology are many and will become more important over time in a society where everything is becoming increasingly digital. Cost savings once the system is installed and automated allow resources and manpower to be redeployed to more necessary tasks. Organization will be much greater and access to information will be almost immediate, thus also allowing time savings.

In addition, the applications are very diverse, allowing its use in any type of company, perhaps some will only be interested in archiving their documentation (invoices, customer data, contracts…) while others will rely more on this technology and use it to offer new and more innovative services to their customers.

We are sure to see new applications in the future that will continue to take advantage of this technology. Moreover, it will continue to improve over time and its accuracy will be even greater, allowing the scanning of documents that are more difficult to read.


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