Open Telekom Cloud for Business Customers

Easily digitalize paper processes with OCR from the cloud

by Editorial team
OCR aus der Open Telekom Cloud ermöglicht digitalisierte Papierprozesse
OCR from the Open Telekom Cloud enables digitalized paper processes

In this article you will read

  • how you can use artificial intelligence to digitally extract information from paper documents,  
  • how you can simplify and accelerate processes through digitalization and
  • what the Open Telekom Cloud OCR service can be used for.

Artificial intelligence can bridge the gap between the real world and the virtual world. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) based on deep learning enables the digitalization of paper-based processes. The Open Telekom Cloud offers access to OCR via API.

Paper – still omnipresent

Paper is still a widely used material. With an annual paper production of more than 20 million tons, Germany is one of the most paper-hungry nations in the world (after China, the USA and Japan). The lion's share of paper (over 50 percent) is used for packaging, but a good quarter (27.5 percent) is used for so-called “graphic papers”. This includes newspapers, books, but also many documents used in the business environment, such as delivery slips, invoices, or contracts. It is said that despite various digitalization initiatives, there are still over 30 billion paper invoices circulating in Germany every year.  

The (decades-old) debate about paper consumption (“paperless office”) has been given new impetus in the wake of the European climate targets. The central question is: Which processes within companies can be made paperless? How can paper be replaced by electronic and digital processes?

Digital processes with clear advantages

There is a consensus that completely digital processes are optimal. They impress with their significantly higher speed and make real contributions to sustainability goals. But above all, they make data available in IT systems and thus enable data-based processes and business models. More and more regulatory requirements, such as mandatory electronic invoicing (“e-invoicing”), are aimed at establishing digital processes.

But it is also a fact that much of the data in the real world still exists as a record on paper or other physical media – anyone who wants to return their microwave to the retailer or add “the receipts” to their tax return can tell you a thing or two about. PDF documents, which are generally considered a digital format but do not offer digital data at all, also fall into this category.

Hybrid reality: paper and IT – artificial intelligence as a bridge

In this hybrid data situation, bridging technologies offer real added value. And these have received a considerable boost from current developments in artificial intelligence (AI). “Human interfaces” are still commonplace: in the popular internship, people manually transfer data from paper forms to IT systems. Today, AIs can easily take over this task.

Cameras or scanners are used to capture the data, e.g., the license plates of cars in a parking garage or at a toll station. The images are passed to an AI, which extracts the necessary text from the image – in this case the license plate number – and stores it in a database with a time stamp. It is obvious how such an OCR AI (Optical Character Recognition) becomes an efficiency booster: The data capture process as a prelude to a billing process can be effortlessly automated, a completely digital process becomes possible. But such an OCR service can also be used for paper documents that arise in the office environment.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

OCR recognizes printed or handwritten texts and converts them into machine-readable text. Optical methods recognize letters, numbers and symbols on images or scanned documents and extract them. With advances in artificial intelligence, the accuracy and speed of OCR systems have improved in recent years – especially when recognizing handwritten text and in complex environments.


OCR service on the Open Telekom Cloud

Service providers who want to enrich their services with such an OCR service can now find a suitable module with deep learning algorithms on the Open Telekom Cloud. Programming knowledge is required for access. Programming languages such as Python and Java access the Open Telekom Cloud's open OCR API and allow the service to be integrated into existing applications. The OCR deep learning model recognizes letters and numbers in the supplied images and extracts them from them. They are provided in an editable JSON format that can be converted into TXT or Excel spreadsheets.

By providing the OCR service from the Open Telekom Cloud, it can also be utilized for sensitive data. In addition to the digitalization of invoices, identity checks or the digitization of medical documents are typical application examples.

  • Fast document verification: With the OCR service, documents such as company ID cards or delivery bills can be scanned in real time. The information obtained can be forwarded to other applications for verification or digital entries if necessary.
  • Digital transformation in the healthcare sector: Hospitals and clinics can digitalize patient records and medical reports quickly and easily. This speeds up internal processes.

Service specifications

  • Use of any device with scanner or camera function
  • Supported formats: PNG, JPG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF
  • Image size: At least 15 pixels, maximum 8,192 pixels per page
  • The area to be recognized must cover more than 80 percent of the image
  • Multitude of supported languages

Digitalization without compromise

The Open Telekom Cloud OCR service offers a solution that goes beyond the simple digitalization of documents. With its flexible APIs, the service enables efficient and precise conversion of printed materials into digital, editable formats. Companies can speed up work processes, improve the accuracy of data, and save time and resources.

The conversion of data into JSON format facilitates the integration into existing systems as well as the further analysis and processing of information. The performance of the service makes it an indispensable tool for companies and organizations that want to optimize business processes and drive digital transformation.

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