Ability to OCR Images into the form

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    Adam Rawlinson

    Hi Ben, We could really benefit from this. Our users are always copying text from documents into forms, from documents such as waybills, weights tickets and more. There is also a greater need for ANPR for us, as our users are constantly manually copying truck plates, trailer plates, etc. I’m not sure how efficient OCR would be in reading this data? In fact, I’ve already done some research into us potentially using the 3rd party widget to integrate a 3rd party OCR app. However, I had little success. Thanks, Adam

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    Ben Ray

    Thanks for the feedback here Adam. I am sure you are not alone and there are other folks that do very similar things.

    I was also looking into the 3rd party element to see if there are any open source libraries out there. I have found one that you may want to look at using the ionic framework as this looks promising. https://market.ionicframework.com/starters/ionic-ocr-starter

    Thanks,

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    Rude, Al

    Hi Ben,  Love the idea.  We use extensively the camera to capture data from QR codes, but also have the need to capture strings of alpha numeric characters and insert them into forms.  OCR would prove a great addition to the iformbuilder tool box. 

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    Robert Frankel

    Apologies for chiming in very late (I'm Rob Frankel, a relatively new developer in this community, this is my first post), I'd echo Adam's issue and multiply exponentially.  I raised this potential feature (in casual conversation, not in any formal way) at the Power User Summit.

    Lack of integration of Scan/OCR inside iFB is a major challenge in my case.  My customers can face the prospect of 2-3 hours scanning/copying offline documents at even their smallest onsite inspections. The sheer volume of forms and exhibits within their workflows has led me to think of offline forms and exhibits as additional data points. 

    Consequently, incorporation of this feature into a standard widget/element would be a game-changer (I have about 100 examples but will spare you the details).  

    It would be fantastic if enough support materialized to support this feature.  If required I can provide extensively detailed circumstances and in multiple separate workflows.

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    Robert Frankel

    Just a long-winded clarification:

    Potential use case:

    1) Inspector/Engineer is in the field walking a property site, uses iFB inspection forms to capture site data;

    2) Walks into physical plant bldg., notes Water Heater nearing EUL is leaking;

    3) Evidences breached system/deferred maintenance via photos, goes to property manager's office, requests related docs from onsite staff, scans or copies related docs (i.e. type/sf/location of impacted retail/commercial/residential units, possibly via rent roll, sections of recent Physical Plant & Needs Assessment), leaves with physical documents in hand for further processing;

    NOW: Inspector snaps photos (using iFB annotation element as appropriate).  Enters property management office, unexpectedly requests all documents evidencing deficiency. Disrupting staff workflow is never welcome, adding manual work doesn't help.  The process of gathering physical docs is time-consuming at best, a nightmare at worst. Additional pressure is introduced when the inspector requires original, "wet copy" docs held onsite. Often, these files are old and difficult to access. 

    Adding insult to injury, the inspector reviews each document, rejecting/accepting by relevance along the way.  So an outsider is reviewing the documents staff worked hard to gather, each rejected document representing a literal waste of time. Once all applicable docs are identified, the inspector requests physical copies - Piling more manual work onto staff.  Scanning onsite is not possible unless the PDF is created on hardware owned by the inspector or their employer.   

    Gathering documents becomes progressively more stressful by the moment in these cases, sometimes provoking adversarial interaction. Property management staff are understandably nervous where "deficiencies" are involved.  The inspector just needs his/her evidence, then wishes to depart. They subsequently scan collected docs to PDF format at their own offices, address with narrative and population of related forms.  

    5) FUTURE: Inspector snaps photos in the field, uses iFB annotation element as appropriate. Discovers Water Heater issue in the field.  Enters property management office, apologizes in advance for any inconvenience, requests docs to help explain some of the photos when completing the inspection write-up. The inspector can "take pictures" of all documents rapidly (via new PDF widget) and leave almost immediately thereafter.   Given my previous remarks, I cannot overstated the value where PDF's are loaded into a form field.   

    With documents instantly PDF'd, it accelerates the inspector's work simultaneously eradicating provocation of virtually all negative interaction.  Property management staff will not become stressed or angry when the inspector review/approve/rejects documents, subsequently copies each, then leaves with a stack of paper.

    Onsite staff are employed by or contracted on behalf of the customer. In this case you have engaged with the customer in a positive, interactive manner.  This empowers my potential customers to measurably improve their own customer-facing activity. I hope this is compelling example of a case where addition of this feature would add value to iFB.

     

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