What is OCR Technology and Why is it Important?

What is OCR Technology and Why is it Important?

The computer vision and hardware market, of which OCR is a part, will reach 48.6 billion dollars by 2022. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems use optical character recognition (OCR) to help “see” the world. It’s central to the AI revolution we will experience over the next few years.

OCR technology has become widely used and important for converting all types of documents. Read on to learn what OCR technology is and why it’s important.

What is OCR Technology?

Optical character recognition technology works with a scanning device to convert images of text to digitally recognizable text. Once the conversion has taken place the text becomes useful for other computer applications to work with.

As humans, we are able to understand the meaning of the images we see. We are able to appreciate that a document has pages and that a page contains paragraphs and sentences. Each sentence has words and words are collections of letters.

OCR technology provides this capability to a computer application. Different kinds of document, PDF files or even images from a digital camera can then be searched and edited.

Scanning Paper Originals

A large amount of information exists only as physical documents. Books, forms and other paper-based material is stored and accessed manually. Scanning these paper originals or copies makes it possible to use them in the digital world.

Image Conversion

Where images contain text, applications such as OCR net can convert the image to usable data.

It’s OCR that enables number plate recognition for security and toll charging. Cars with speed sign recognition are using OCR. Self-drive cars will use more advanced versions of this to identify and comply with street signs.

Translation applications use OCR to capture text from physical documents, signs, and images. The data is then fed into translation software to provide a user with a translation to their own language. 

Digital Searches

Searching large physical documents takes a lot of time and effort. If they’re stored as physical documents or photographic images that require extracting from stores, viewing by subject matter experts and possibly specialized equipment to store and view.

For example, newspapers are a historical record which can provide detailed information about events. Scanning them with OCR technology makes a search as simple as searching a word file. Once a physical document is scanned using OCR technology the information it holds becomes easily accessible.

Editing and Repurposing Documents

Documents can provide a resource for creating future documents. If they only exist in a physical form or as images, creating a similar document means starting from scratch.

Scanning such a document using OCR technology allows a user to access the text within the document. This can be edited and repurposed with less work than creating a new original document.

Save Storage Space

Physical documents take up physical space. Files, libraries, and storerooms take up expensive space. The storage facility may need to have specialized equipment in order to preserve the documents and protect them from damage or deterioration.

Scanned and searchable documents can be stored on conventional data storage devices. Back up facilities and data security can be managed as it is for other data storage.

OCR and AI

OCR technology enables artificial intelligence technology to access the huge amount of information that exists in the form of text. This is all around us and forms part of the world we need AI to understand to serve us better. That’s why it’s so important.

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