Where is OCR Used? The Most Common Scenarios Explained
Optical character recognition has been around for a long time. In a nutshell, it’s the process of converting written or printed text into digital forms. For years, this was only possible if you built a dedicated scanning tool. These were expensive and required specialist knowledge to operate. However, with the rise of smartphones, anyone can use OCR in their processes. This begs the question, “Where is OCR used?”.
Even if you can perform scans in any location, there are still going to be some places where mobile OCR is more common than others.
Here are the most popular examples of how mobile OCR is being used in new locations. In each case, mobile OCR provides technical and business benefits that far surpass traditional methods of data collection and verification. In fact, Anyline has been shown to make certain processes up to 20 times faster than manual data collection and verification.
Anyline turns any mobile device into a portable scanner. You can use it to scan license plates, passports, utility meters and more. Scanning increases the accuracy of your readings and reduces your processes. This gives you more time to concentrate on your primary goals. Get in touch to find out how Anyline can optimize your business.
Mobile OCR is Used at Home
Mobile OCR has evolved to include a number of home use cases. While you may find some to be quite novel, such as scanning voucher codes, other uses are practical and economic. For example, you can now use Mobile OCR to track utility usage in the home.
Whether it’s electricity or natural gas, you can use mobile OCR to read your meters. You need to take readings when you change ownership of a meter. In addition, taking regular readings helps you to monitor and reduce unnecessary usage.
Anyline is well-suited to reading utility meters as it works offline and can also access your torch for reading in low-light situations. We also recently learned that one of our clients has urged their customers to buy selfie-sticks to enable the scanning of meters in hard-to-reach locations.
Voucher Scanning and Promotional Code Scanning
While not exclusive to the home, you’ll probably admit to doing your voucher and coupon collecting at the dinner table. One of the more surprising adaptations of OCR to the mobile world is the practice of scanning vouchers and promotional codes on the packets of groceries and other produce.
A number of companies have had success with this. They let customers use an Anyline-based app to scan promotional codes for prizes and giveaways. Red Bull took this approach and recorded hundreds of thousands of scans with a 98.5% recognition rate. If manual data entry had been employed, this figure would be much lower.
Mobile OCR is Used on Streets, Roads and Motorways
One of the breakout use cases for mobile OCR has been on motorways and city streets. The adaptation of mobile OCR to license plate scanning has made vehicle identification as simple as scanning a barcode.
While you may or may not be a fan of parking inspectors, they perform an important role in many cities and towns. They ensure that streets and entryways remain uncongested, allowing traffic to flow freely. What you may not know is many parking inspectors are also required to carry out lengthy data-entry tasks at the end of the day. This reduces the amount of time they can spend on their primary role and introduces the possibility of error during data entry.
We’re starting to see cities and towns use mobile OCR to solve these issues. Some parking inspectors now use mobile OCR to scan the license plates of offending vehicles. These scans can then be uploaded to their online records at the end of the day. With this system in place, you can reduce time spent on manual data entry and ensure that the details of all license plates are recorded correctly.
Companies with a large number of vehicles need a way to track their cars and trucks at any given time. This allows them to provide an agile service and maintain the quality of their fleet.
Mobile OCR lets car rental agents create instant records of which cars have been rented, which cars need repairs and which need to be replaced. A simple point-and-read scan of a vehicle’s license plate can be uploaded to a back-end where all additional vehicle info can be stored.
You can also benefit from mobile OCR when it comes to renting a car. You can rent a car from any location by scanning the vehicle license plate and your required documents. Once you’ve collected all your data, you can upload it to the car rental company’s backend for verification and vehicle access.
Mobile OCR is Used at Events, Concerts and Conferences
Ticket and ID Validation
You’ve seen event staff and security using dedicated ticket scanners at concerts or festivals. These devices perform well but have their limitations and issues.
The first issue is the cost of production and the necessary training that staff require to use them accordingly. The second issue is that these devices are designed for one specific use case such as ID scanning or ticket verification.
Modern smartphones are capable of performing multiple scanning tasks and have less training requirements as staff can use their own devices. We’re starting to see event companies switch to a mobile OCR alternative so their event security can check tickets and IDs with ease.
Nowadays, security is a high priority for event organizers. And at most events and conferences, attendees, speakers and performers will have varying levels of access control to the different areas of a venue.
You’ll find the typical approach to access control at large events is to provide VIPs with a physical credential. The issue here is that these credentials can be forged, stolen or take a long time to accurately read.
You can use Mobile OCR to scan official ID cards or passports. Once a profile is created for an attendee in your backend, you can assign their level of access control for all event security to see. The attendee’s ID then acts as a credential for access control, removing the threat of impersonation or misreadings by event staff and security. You can scan IDs at any time to see the level of access control the attendee has.
Mobile OCR is Used at the Airport
Airports also use mobile OCR for security purposes but they have another major use inside most terminals. Tax-free shopping is being revolutionized by mobile OCR in a rather unexpected way.
One of the most common security processes that we all experience is passport control at the airport. And while there may be dedicated passport scanners at security points, mobile OCR allows all airport staff to carry a mobile passport scanner with them.
Mobile passport scanners remove a lot of the stress of carrying out passport checks for staff. In a time where security checks on all international flights are expected to be perfect, mobile OCR such as Anyline can offer scans with a much higher accuracy rate than human reading. You can also use mobile OCR to reduce waiting times at boarding gates and other airport bottlenecks.
Tax-Free shopping is an essential part of any trip for some travellers. Of course, the issue with buying luxury items at the airport has always been filling out the necessary paperwork to complete purchases. Mobile OCR removes this paperwork and expedites the process for shoppers and staff alike.
The benefit for shoppers is huge as they no longer need to do any manual work to claim their tax-free shopping. They can have their passport scanned and all the required paperwork automatically filled.
Mobile OCR is Used Everywhere with Anyline
Right now, these are some of the most common places that mobile OCR is improving processes. At Anyline, we feel that mobile OCR will become commonplace in many other locations. Our SDK lets users perform scans in all locations, no matter if there is an internet connection or not. With this in mind, it seems that mobile OCR can make improvements in many other processes in due time.
If you’d like to get information on how Anyline can improve your business or home, just get in touch. We’re always happy to speak with new people interested in mobile OCR. Contact us at [email protected]
QUESTIONS? LET US KNOW!
Sign up for our Newsletter!
Be the first to receive the latest news, release notes and updates!
Content Manager at Anyline I like to write blog posts, make product videos and share news about mobile OCR online. I spend most of my time outside the office playing sports and exploring Vienna.