On a daily basis our team is contacted and asked what is an “Advanced Capture System” and how can it help us extract data from documents. In this post I will try to explain on a very high level the role of Advanced Capture in our complex OCR or optical character recognition world.
Lets begin by defining what an OCR engine is. There are very few companies in the world that supply an OCR engine, the main reason being that it takes years to develop. Not just a few years, in some professional assessments they have the development time of creating an OCR system at 50 years! Three companies that come to mind which have a well known OCR engine are:
An OCR engine takes an image or picture with data on it and recognizes the characters in each word then digitizes that information so that it can be manipulated and stored for future use. Although an OCR engine can extract data, this data is not always recognized properly or in the format we need. For example, my OCR software will recognize the name address on a document but will not know how to parse the data into First Name, Last Name and Address so that it populates the proper fields in a database.
Advanced Capture software is the brains behind extracting data from a document. The purpose of advanced capture is to use the OCR engines data and extract the data in an intelligent way so that your system will be completely automated. If a certain field in a document only has numbers in it and the OCR engine mistakenly recognized the letter “O” instead of the number “0” advanced capture will automatically fix it through its pre-programmed logic. There are many systems around that have this functionality and most work pretty well, OCR technology has really come a long way. Whats important when choosing this system is that you understand how to use it and make sure it is actually easy to use. Many systems out there are great, but in order to make them read your documents you need to be a programmer! I believe it is very important that after making a sizable investment in an advanced capture system you should be able to support your own system. Not many systems have a point and click interface that allows you to program to your own workflow and needs. Please make sure you get a proper demo not just on running documents through the system but also what it would take to make the system work for you.
If you would like to see a good example of how advanced capture works, please view our InfoScan Database Tutorial on YouTube. The system scans ID cards and dynamically knows how to properly parse the data into a database.