What is OCR? Understand the Definition, Benefits and How it Works

3 min read

apa itu ocr

The technological developments allow people to perform various tasks easily, including converting written documents into computer text.

OCR is a solution that has been around for a long time.

So, what is OCR?

What is OCR?

As we have read before, OCR which stands for Optical Character Recognition is a technology to scan written documents that were originally in the form of hardcopy into softcopy.

Maybe we’ve seen the use of this scanning technology before, but never really realized it.

One of the example is when we register an application that requires a photo ID in a loan application (online loan).

Usually after register with photo ID, it will immediately fill our personal data without having to type again.

It is one of OCR benefits which keep growing all the time.

Understanding OCR Brief History

Before discussing what the benefits of OCR are, we may be interested in how this technology actually developed.

The earliest stage form of optical character recognition can be traced in 1914.

A device made by Emanuel Goldberg has the ability to help the visually impaired by translating written documents into Morse code.

After experiencing a short development, this program can transfer written documents into digital data using the help of light sensors.

Even more developed, currently the well known artificial intelligence or AI software can also be an OCR tool.

That’s why the photo of the ID card that you upload on the loan application can be read without the need to use other additional tools.

Get to Know OCR Benefits

After understanding what OCR is and its brief history, of course this technology was created not without reason.

In the beginning, OCR was a tool to help people whose visually impaired.

Now, we also know the practical benefit for data entry purposes.

Another benefits with a larger scope, the program can help companies to convert their written documents into softcopy.

The softcopy make it easier for companies to find and edit certain documents if needed without having to wait the physical one.

Softcopy can also save space so companies do not need to get warehouse, plus it also environmental friendly without consuming too much paper.

Not only saving space, softcopy documents will certainly be safe from various physical disturbances such as lost, burned, submerged in water, and so on.

In an airport environment, OCR can help officers to input passport data so it will minimize the chance for a long queue.

OCR also take parts to control the traffic.

Traffic surveillance cameras that feature optical character recognition can identify vehicle plate numbers instantly.

With this technology, police officers do not need to read the plates one by one when, for example, searching for stolen vehicles.

How OCR works?

To find out why this scan technology still has a number of shortcomings, you must first understand how OCR works.

OCR has two components, namely hardware and software. First of all, the user of this tool points the hardware (usually like a pen) at the written document such as using a highlighter.

The sensor on the hardware will scan pen gesture and what’s in front of it.

The information that received by the hardware will be converted into digital data by the OCR software, even adjusting the size and format of the text.

However, technological developments allow programs to read data only with photos.

So, does OCR work differently in this ? Of course.

If using a photo as a data source, this scan tool will have to make some adjustments to the image that in many stages.

The first step is make sure the image taken is even.

If you still don’t meet the criteria, the program will change the tilt of the image which process known as deskewing.

There is also rotation which process also aims to make the image straight.

However, rotation rotates the image in two dimensions, while deskewing rotates in three dimensions.

Some programs can also adjust the exposure of the photo to make scanning easier, especially if the photo received by OCR is too dark.

This program will increase the brightness automatically.

After photo adjustment, the program separates image by the words it will scan.

Finally, digital data was formed.

Despite the way it works, which has been heavily adapted, this program has limitations in terms of accuracy.

One of the problems with OCR is that it is difficult to distinguish similar characters.

For example, the letters “i”, “l”, and the number “1”.

As a result, it is not uncommon for OCR to experience typos which in the end make the user have to re-check the scanned data to minimize errors.

Often people who use technology actually feel more confused because they have to check the documents that are not small in number.

The solution to this problem is to apply additional software called IDP.

What is IDP?

After understanding what OCR is, you also have to understand how IDP works.

IDP stands for Intelligent Document Processing, which is a software that aims to improve the accuracy of OCR.

This software utilizes one form of artificial intelligence (AI), namely machine learning.

By using machine learning, IDP can learn the documents he has scanned before.

Not only studying documents, IDP can also receive databases that have been studied by other software before.

IDP then use the “knowledge” they have stored to guess what kind of document they are reading.

For example, OCR might read dominant documents with words, but also read numbers that are in the middle of a word.

After getting the scan results in the form of digital data, IDP fixes the problem with the closest wording.

The same applies to IDP with data that is dominant in numbers but has letters inserted in it.

Not only that, IDP can also fix typos.

Everything can be achieved with the principle of IDP which always adapts when new data is received.

Even so, IDP is not just a magic program that can answer all your needs.

Like an employee with their own specialization, IDP is a program with similar principles.

IDPs are often requests for ID card data reading because this scanning process is quite important for various mobile phone applications.

Interested to Try OCR?

Various stages have enjoyed the benefits of OCR, especially to simplify data administration process.

We also  should keep up with this technology in various occasions.

Hopefully, by reading this article you already know what OCR is and how this program works.

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