The manual input problem

Making things easy and fast for users has always been one of the most important ideas. Today, one of the biggest UX obstacles for a large number of apps is the need for manual data input. This is especially true for apps that require registration, identification, or input of a lot of fields like bill payment info, credit card numbers, ID numbers, and similar.

The only thing more annoying than having to enter these long values manually is the situation when you have to re-enter it repeatedly via small smartphone keyboards which are prone to error.

At Microblink, we have recognized this problem and have developed an elegant solution. The idea is simple: why not use a phone camera to scan what you would otherwise have to type in?

Imagine checking in at a hotel or airport in under 60 seconds.

Imagine entering long, 20+ character strings, like account numbers for payment info, in a blink of an eye. Imagine filling in a registration form in just a few seconds.

The mobile banking example

Let’s take a look at the example that clearly illustrates the advantage of using OCR to save time and ensure customer satisfaction: payment slips scanning.

In Europe, Middle East, North Africa, and many other countries around the world, an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is used to identify bank accounts. When paying bills in these countries, you either go to a bank, use Internet banking, or use mobile banking on your smartphone.

Going to the bank is usually not a preferred option and Internet banking requires you to have your laptop or PC with you. Mobile banking should be the most practical way to do it, but entering a 17-digit number via a small smartphone keyboard can be a bit annoying, even when you have a reasonably small number of bills.

In this situation, an accurate and fast solution for data input is a necessity. By using mobile vision, it is possible to extract the data in real time, meaning that the user just points a phone camera towards the IBAN number and it instantly appears in the form field.

The same technology can be applied to extract any alphanumeric piece of information from the physical world into memory of a smartphone or a computer.

Eliminating manual data input in your existing app

The main prerequisite for production-level mobile vision is for it to work seamlessly. The point is to make the whole process more enjoyable for the user, so no mistakes are allowed. The scanned value must be recognized correctly even when scanned at a funny angle or during a bumpy bus ride. User should just point the phone camera to the value and it should be instantly recognized. No taking pictures, no sending the data to a server farm. It also needs to work with common smartphones, not just the premium ones.

This brings us to the elephant in the room: it is very difficult and time consuming to implement such complex technology, especially considering that mobile vision probably isn’t your core business.

Microblink mobile vision solution for data input

Microblink’s mobile machine vision portfolio contains solutions for any sort of user input problem you might have. These are all shipped as self-contained SDKs (software development kits), which means that they integrate into your existing mobile app without much effort.

We specialize in making the best mobile vision SDK’s in the world. Our proprietary text recognition technology is fast, accurate, reliable, and tested on use-cases like mobile banking, personal identification, invoice payment, barcode scanning, and many others.

PhotoPay SDK, one of our best selling products, eliminates the need for manual input from payment slips. It scans not only the IBAN, but the whole payment slip, thus extracting all necessary information and providing a single-click bill payment experience. It is used in 40+ mobile banking apps around the world.

In cases where only extraction of particular data is necessary, we provide a field-by-field scanner, an even simpler solution used for extracting separate structured data from any physical source, such as IBAN, amount number, reference number, or other. This is especially useful when scanning payment slips that don't follow any standardized form.

Let's talk about your use-case

Given the potential of mobile vision technology, we are continuously discovering new and exciting use-cases. If you have an idea on how to use mobile vision to help your users, we’d be happy to talk with you!