Over the past few years, we have seen an increased switch towards digitization, widely known as the digital transformation. With this in mind, let’s take a look at a couple of technologies that can be used to digitize documents both retroactively and proactively.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
Put simply, OCR has the ability to ‘read’ visual elements and translate them into a digital form. Though the two are easily confused, the process is distinct from scanning – whilst scanning takes an image of a physical element, OCR digitizes the things on the page. Due to this, OCR has long since been used in a wide variety of applications across all industries, from business, to logistics, and entertainment.
In fact, OCR is a critical aspect of live online casino games. Take casino roulette, for instance – a real wheel is spun by a real croupier in real time, and the video feed is live streamed to players for an authentic casino experience. To integrate the physical aspects into the digital gameplay, OCR technology is used to read the roulette wheel, and record which number the ball lands on. The result can then be stored by the platform for data analysis and quality control checks, as well as streamed to players in real time in case they have missed any previous results.
In order to make the process as instantaneous as possible, AI-assisted OCR technologies are often used for time sensitive applications such as this, or to streamline business processes. This technology uses machine learning algorithms to automatically spot and extract text from documents and images, converting them into a digital format that is both editable and readable using a digital system.
Using AI-assisted OCR in this way can help businesses to both easily digitize historical documents and automatically digitize incoming documents as soon as they are recieved. By eradicating the need for data entry to be completed manually, not only can this assist businesses in retroactive digitization, but it can ultimately streamline processes and workflows going forward.
Handwritten Text Recognition
Although OCR is essential for reading printed documents, like many technologies, it does admittedly have its limitations. And, one of these areas is handwriting. Of course, when looking to digitize all your documents, there will likely be cases when businesses will come across things that have been partially or fully handwritten. Due to this, for a comprehensive digitization process, it is key to also consider handwritten text recognition software.
Although handwriting recognition software has been around since the 1980s – mainly for use in academic and applications – it is modern technology that has allowed such software to provide more accurate digitized transcriptions.
The handwriting recognition software you need likely depends on your business needs. There are indeed some free options out there like Microsoft OneNote, but these applications typically have limited functionality and require handwriting to be extremely legible – not to mention, problems can arise if you deal with multiple languages. With this in mind, it can be a good idea to invest in a software that employs high-quality machine learning, and supports multiple languages, to futureproof the process.
In order to encourage digitization in your business, it is important to lead by example – you’ll likely get less physical letters, invoices, bills, and so on, if you switch to using paperless alternatives. Further to this, the switch to paperless processes can help your business to become greener. And, as 89% of consumers report at least making a minor change towards buying more sustainable products over the past five years, this can be leveraged as a unique selling point through your marketing efforts.
By making changes to ensure digitization continues into the future, and using things like OCR, AI, and handwriting recognition software, this can help your business to make the first steps towards digitization and enhanced productivity.