ICR Technology: The Future of Character Recognition and Data Extraction

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In early times when businesses were using file systems for recording databases. First humans and then typewriters were used for documentation purposes. Then the computer made the data documentation process much easier by saving the data in soft form. Now businesses can save millions of paper data in a single hard drive. This revolution smooths the business process by eliminating manual processes and shifting the data management time span.

In papers, data searching and editing was a tough task because it needs to be done by humans. But in computerized documents, any search or edit is just one click away. But there was still a problem with how previous paper records will be digitized. Do humans have to enter the data in the computer, obviously not. There was a need for a robust technology that can digitize handwritten and typewritten documents, which was fulfilled by Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) technology.

ICR Technology

It is an updated form of Optical Character Recognition technology, with artificial intelligence and natural language processing abilities. ICR is also known as smart OCR or AI-enabled OCR. ICR is handwriting recognition software that can read and understand various styles, scripts of texts, and fonts of writing. 

In a bank, while opening an account the employee has to manually enter all the information of the customer. But if the bank is using ICR, the data can automatically be extracted by a picture of the ID card. The automatic form population is the biggest benefit of ICR. Now the tedious princess of manual data entry can be reduced to seconds.

How ICR Works?

ICR uses a picture of the paper for data capture. A user just has to upload the image to the ICR software and the results will be provided in real-time. There are also ICR apps in the market that are used by common users for data extraction. ICR technology works by identifying each letter in the document and then digitizing the data on the computer database.

ICR v/s OCR

The primary difference between ICR and OCR is the recognition of handwritten documents. ICR was designed to address different writing styles, complex patterns, and various fonts. ICR concentrates more on the details of the paper documents. Contrary to that, OCR has the confined ability to read handwritten papers, also it can’t read complex patterns and fonts. OCR is a vast technology as compared to ICR while having a minimum understanding of document details. Not all the data is in a structured form and OCR can be used for capturing data only from this data type. When it comes to unstructured or semi-structured data ICR can give reliable results without any difficulty.

The most important difference between both is self-learning. As OCR has AI, it can be trained on new document types and writing fonts. For instance, if a brand-new writing style is given to the ICR for data extraction. It first trains itself on this type of writing style and then extracts information from it. If a second time, the same type of data is given to ICR, it will not train itself but delivers the results in seconds. But in the case of OCR, as there is no AI, it can’t train itself on new data sets. Humans have to enhance the data extraction ability by testing and training OCR on new data collections.

Benefits of ICR Technology

The identity verification industry welcomes the ICR technology for retrieving information from ID documents. Also, verifying customer’s handwritten consents was achievable through intelligent character recognition technology. Customers can just upload the image of a handwritten consent and ICR will extract data from it. This will help the verification software to match the consent with the default format and information.

Banks can save their time and resources spending on manual data input from cheques and bank statements. Self-learning makes it very useful if new fonts or scripts enter the market. Data manipulation i.e. searching, editing, and deleting is much easier on digitized data as compared to hard data.

Summing It Up

For businesses that are looking into the future and making their policies according to future technologies, ICR is for them. ICR technology is the future of the character recognition industry. This will assist businesses in having accurate results of data extraction while saving resources.

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