OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is one of the techniques most widely used in business nowadays. OCR software converts scanned or photographed documents into text searchable and editable files.
Document scanning is increasingly performed in business offices with the drive for digitization and a paperless office, and OCR technology is used to convert scanned documents to word processing software such as MS Word. The software reads the black and white pixels on an image to recognize the correct alpha or numeric number. OCR software finds great use in many industries including legal, banking, and healthcare.
Applications of OCR in Industry
OCR in the industrial sector has revolutionized the document management process. Its application varies across different fields.
- Legal Sector: Legal professionals often need to access and retrieve information easily, by simply typing a few keywords. To attain this goal, most of the legal firms are working towards digitization of their voluminous paper documents. Scanning and converting paper documents into digital format alone cannot serve the purpose. It is necessary to make the scanned documents text-searchable, so that they are easier to locate and work with.
- Banking: In the banking sector, OCR is greatly used to process checks without manual intervention. When the check is inserted into a machine, the writings on it are scanned instantly and the correct amount of money is transferred. The technology is widely applied for printed checks as well as handwritten checks.
- Healthcare: Healthcare professionals have to deal with a large volume of paper forms, including patient records, insurance forms, and general health forms. For improved management of all this data, it is important to store relevant data in an electronic database that allows easy access. Forms processing tools, powered by OCR, are included with functionalities of data extraction from forms, so that patient data can be promptly recorded.
The use of OCR is not restricted to these industries, but used by others including education, finance, and government agencies. In education, document scanning and OCR has helped to make countless texts available online, saving money and allowing knowledge to be shared. Invoice processing is a major application area of this technology in finance, as digitized and editable invoices help businesses to keep track of financial records and prevent backlog of payments. The software is used by government agencies and independent organizations for simplified data collection and analysis. As the technology continues to develop, more and more applications are found for this technology including handwriting recognition and barcode recognition.