Companies worldwide have begun to discover the benefits of transitioning to a paperless office. With the recent improvements in modern technology there have been great strides made in the areas of scanning and document imaging. Given this, many offices are now looking at archiving documents in electronic format rather than filing them away in paper form. There is now a great need to convert existing “legacy” paper-based documents and files to an electronic format to make them compatible for use with modern media such as email and word processors. But what use is scanning tons of documents if they cannot be edited at will? Luckily this is possible with Intelligent Word Recognition (IWR).


What is Intelligent Word Recognition (IWR)?

Intelligent Word Recognition (IWR) is the recognition of unconstrained handwritten words. IWR uses artificial intelligence to recognize whole words in a document as opposed to individual characters. This is in contrast to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) which recognizes words character by character. For instance, when using OCR to extract the word “boy”, the system will recognize “b”, “o” and “y”. IWR will match the letters to a dictionary to extract the entire word “boy” based on pattern recognition and various algorithms.

It can therefore be seen that IWR allows for the interpretation of handwritten information that would normally take data entry personnel countless hours to decipher and input. This means that companies can become significantly more efficient and productive and minimize the probability of human error. You may be asking yourself how this kind of technology can be used in everyday life. We will now look into the various uses of IWR in the real world.


What is IWR used for?

IWR has a wide range of uses in a variety of industries, including:

Businesses – There isn’t a business or industry that doesn’t have to deal with a plethora of paperwork from time to time. These include letters, comments, suggestions and forms, etc. Because of the sheer volume of this handwritten data and the relative difficulty in interpreting them, much of this information is wasted. IWR technology can be used to quickly and efficiently decipher handwritten information. By utilizing IWR technology, businesses can utilize data, loads of quantitative data to make improvements to their products, services and even business practices.

Reading Old Texts – It is now possible to program computers and software to interpret texts that would more or less be unintelligible to even the most highly trained personnel. Some experts even believe that someday IWR could be used to interpret ancient or badly damaged texts that would have otherwise remained a mystery.

Smartphones and Tablets – If you have used a smartphone or tablet (and in this day and age, who hasn’t), you may have come across the new Google function that allows users to perform Internet searches by handwriting their search terms as opposed to typing. Google is not the only one making use of IWR on smartphones; you may also have come across children’s learning apps that use this technology to help in reading and interpreting written language.


IWR and Document Management

With IWR it has become possible to locate data fields within pages of digitized documents and distinguish handwritten information from the document’s template. IWR programs typically change documents including PDFs, JPGs, and other scanned formats from binary data that can only be read by humans into searchable text formats, thus making them more useful in a paperless environment. This provides users with the ability to quickly search and locate documents in just a matter of seconds with the click of a mouse. Not only can documents be searched by document name, but with IWR files can be searched according to keywords within the document.

Take for instance an HR agency that receives hundreds of applications a day. Many of these applications may include hand written forms. With IWR technology, forms can be scanned and made fully digitized making it easy to search for individual applications without having to spend countless man-hours searching through physical filing cabinets. This has the potential to result in significant time and cost savings.

This type of technology makes it easy and convenient for companies wishing to take the leap to a paperless office. Literally thousands of handwritten paper files can be scanned and fully digitized in a short space of time. And as technology improves the potential uses for IWR will become endless.