What is OCR Technology, its Applications and Benefits?

OCR is a key technology of document processing systems that use optical character recognition (OCR) to convert text into a machine-readable form to store, retrieve, and analyze data. In this article, we discuss the basics of OCR technology and how it can be used in various industries to process printed text and make it more accessible in our digital age.

What is OCR?

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. Its meaning is hidden in the term itself. It is a method of recognizing text (characters) in optical images, which may be in the form of scanned documents and images.

Simply put, it's a technology that converts text, images, and other information into machine-readable data. You can use OCR to convert scanned documents or records and make them 'digital'.
The uses of OCR technology are limitless - it's just a matter of finding the right application for your business.

Applications of OCR in Different Industries

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a modern technical solution used in a variety of industries where immediate time and labor savings are required. Otherwise, you'd have to type or retype long texts by hand to convert images to text.

With OCR, it's become easier for all of us to convert a large amount of paper-based documents into digital formats to make storage, processing, and editing easier than you think. Another great benefit of OCR is converting old papers that are no longer readable into machine-readable text with just one click.

Here are some key subject areas where the use of OCR has become the order of the day.

1. Banking

Banking is one of the largest financial industries in which OCR has taken strong roots that carry over to other financial industries such as insurance and security companies.

What tasks in banking require OCR?

Check processing is the most common and obvious task where image to text technology is used. It involves scanning the handwritten check, converting it into a digitized, editable format and finally releasing the check. All that's required is human input.

OCR delivers 100% accurate results when it comes to recognizing the text of printed checks. The only hurdle to overcome is signature verification. You may have observed a bank clerk being asked to repeat the signature because it doesn't match the existing signature in their database.

With handwritten checks, verifying signatures is still a long shot.

However, the latest tools from AI OCR have solved the puzzle, saving more energy and time, which is undoubtedly a big win for the business.

2. Legal

There's no other industry that produces more paperwork than the legal industry. That's why OCR steps in by itself.

The legal industry produces reams of affidavits, files, court filings, pleadings, and many other printed documents that need to be converted to digital formats so they're easily searchable and editable. An OCR tool can do all of this for the industry in a snap.

OCR technology isn't limited to just one or a few languages. With an OCR reader, you can convert Dutch script into Arabic, French, or any other language you want.

3. Healthcare

Healthcare is another big area where OCR performs equally well.

Hospitals and clinics use this technology to have a complete patient records in searchable and editable formats. This makes it easier to find a patient's entire medical record, including their medical history, treatments, lab tests, hospital admissions, etc. Having all this data in a unified digital record is more convenient than having tons of doctor's notes, x-rays, and other paperwork.

Benefits of Using OCR

Here are some benefits of incorporating OCR technology into your work:
  • Searchability
    OCR converts the scanned files into machine-readable formats that can then be further saved or edited in various formats such as PDF, TXT, DOCX and others. You can easily download these files and search them in your system to edit them later. If you want these files to be stored forever or available worldwide, just upload them to a suitable database like iCloud or Google Drive.

  • Editability
    You submitted a document and it comes back to you because it needs to be revised. You can use OCR and make it available on your notepad for editing. That way you don't have to retype the whole document from scratch.

  • Storability
    Storing documents digitally reduces the storage space on your devices. It also reduces paper waste in offices as desks are cleared of unnecessary paper and are available for more productive use.

    Plus, this paper waste can be recycled and used elsewhere, minimizing the need for fresh paper in offices.

  • Backups
    OCR also helps in reducing the fortune that is required for the maintenance of important duplicates in the physical form. You can now save up your important files without spending a dime.

  • Translatability
    Today's OCR tools have the unique feature of translating texts into different languages. With the intelligent OCR tool, you can now convert a scanned French script into an Arabic digital script. The smart OCR tools use the Unicode standard and machine translation software to convert the language of scanned documents in digital form into another language. This feature is a great asset for online businesses.

Converting Your Physical Paper into A Digital One Is Easier Now

Converting a physical paper into a digital one requires human effort and valuable time. It's a difficult task to retype each page without making a single mistake.

OCR technology makes this process a breeze while maintaining accuracy and taking less time.

Now you can convert, design, or search your physical paper into any digital format.

You can quickly share these files with others via email, upload them to a database, publish them to a website, or save them as a zip file.

Companies and businesses that need to evaluate large documents can now easily study these files without having to rely on human resources.

There's no denying that this reduces the amount of time spent, contributing to higher work engagement and better performance.

Conclusion: Use OCR today

With the above clear applications and benefits, OCR is one of the leading technologies that help users become more productive. You can use OCR in any field where you need to convert physical text into editable text. Using this tool isn't complicated. All you need is a good Internet connection and you will be able to convert images into text.


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