Use Case: Creating electronic image files for paper documents is an important step for organizations to realize process improvement but this is often simply not good enough to achieve true efficiency. In real world business scenarios there most likely is always valuable information trapped in electronic image files stored on file sharing servers, individual persons local disk drives or even stored on “the cloud”. For this solution we’ll want to take all these isolated electronic, image-only files and upload them to a cloud-based service for processing. After processing, then we will have the image, as well as the extracted results, sent to Box where the files now contain the indexes that will allow for much improved organization, enhanced security and collaboration of this more “intelligent” electronic information versus just image-only.
- One-time processing needed: Maybe an organization has the need to covert some image-only files into a different format for a one-time project but does not need this capability moving forward. In this case using a service allows the organization just to pay for the services rendered instead of capital investment in technology, training or maintenance fees
- Desire to limit IT infrastructure: Servers, networking equipment, operation system software and other information technology (IT) required to maintain an organizations own data center is often costly and complicated. Therefore, a quickly emerging trend is to use software services instead of building your own internal systems. In this situation the organization can benefit by outsourcing their image conversion process to a services company instead of managing it on their own
- Time to utilization: Business agility is very important these days and any wasted time directly, negatively effects the bottom-line financially. Therefore, when the situation dictates that the organizations needs image conversion capability and does not have the time or resources to acquire, install, configure and then start using these services, it is much more desirable to use a service.
Solution Description: Even after we hope to achieve efficiency-euphoria by digitizing all our electronic documents, the reality is that images themselves are of little value until we apply some form of conversion or data extraction to these images so that computers can understand the content, or context, of the information contained in the image. In this particular solution we will use a cloud-processing service and then store in Box. This means that there is absolutely no infrastructure to install and also no need for training. All the user has to do is upload an image!
Note: This is a software developer solution. We are using the ABBYY OCRSDK.com service to perform the conversion functionality. We will use two methods in this solution to upload images to this conversion service. One will be a demo application and one will be a web interface to upload the images. Sample source code for many platforms and operating systems is provided so that a graphic user interface can be created with minimal effort. Additionally, to get free access to try this type of functionality for yourself right now please visit www.FineReaderOnline.com.
Configuration Steps (Complexity = Easy):
- In our desktop demo application for OCRSDK.com we have created it to be able to upload images, utilize various OCRSDK.com features then return the results back to our own computer. In real-world scenarios you might chose to integrate this capability to deliver results directly into a back-end system
- Open Box Sync and click the Change ‘My Box Files’ location. Browse to the folder for your OCRSDK.com results and press the OK button to save your settings
- Drag images from your computer into the Active tasks window within the application
- Once the images have been processed then you can view Completed tasks in the right window of the application
- Log into Box and you can view your files that have been automatically uploaded via Box Sync
- …or, using the web interface demo you can see dragging files to be uploaded, then you can see them processing and finally you can view and/or save the results
User operation (Complexity = Easy):
- Drag and drop files into a user interface as we demonstrated in our two examples. Again, these are demo applications so that user experience will vary from a visual standpoint
- Using the OCRSDK.com sample source code, software developer’s can be creative to design different types of solutions including embedding this functionality into an existing application, creating a brand new application or extending this capability to different devices such as camera-enabled mobile devices
Associated screen prints on this solution:
1. Box Sync: Change ‘My Box Files’ location
2. Change Box Sync Folder
7. Processing using web-based interface for OCRSDK.com
8. Files finished using web-based interface for OCRSDK.com
Thank you for your attention to this Innovative Solution for Box. Since this is primarily a software developer type solution I would suspect that there probably are many creative ways to implement this service. Do you have an idea or thought about image conversion as a service? Is there are interesting use case scenario that you would like to discuss? We would love to hear from you.