Opinion: Oprema | Reading between the lines with OCR


Jamie Evans, Product Manager at Oprema, offers his thoughts on the development of OCR – optical character recognition

Having been born in 1980, I am often classed as a Xennial – a generation that, while growing up in an analogue world, was right on the cusp of the digital era. So, from mix tapes to playlists and VHS cassettes to on-demand streaming, I have been lucky enough to live through some major technological advances.

During the early years of my career, I worked for an IT department in a large multinational manufacturing company, and a part of my remit was to research all of this new technology and explore ways we could possibly take advantage of it to make our company more efficient and ready for the new millennium.

Peering into this new world, a lot of visionaries predicted a paperless office, so naturally, we investigated the feasibility of this. Could we really use existing technology to scan, read and index existing paper documents into a central repository? The short answer is no. Besides hard drive storage costs being astronomically high, the technology to “read” a document was nowhere near mature enough.

Forward on twenty-something years and OCR or Optical Character Recognition technology is not only good enough but also a very important part of our lives. A real-world example of this? iPhone users can now search the photos on their devices for text contained within a photo – a feature that would’ve blown my young mind back in “the old days.”

Keeping this relevant to the world of Security & Surveillance, OCR technology has been used to read vehicle number plates in ANPR applications for a long time now, but as the technology has evolved, we now have access to a network of cameras that can read text and the possible applications are almost endless.

We can use these CCTV cameras to read and log shipping ISO container codes in a busy dock, record movements of multiple trucks in and out of a railway depot and even read tags on cow’s ears to generate a report of feeding/milking times. With strong integration with leading VMS providers, we now have searchable text and associated video footage of these critical events.

Contact Oprema to find out how we can help you leverage the power of OCR technology on your next project, potentially saving your customer time and money at [email protected]


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