Document scanning solutions - Turn smartphones into high-quality scanners

January 30, 2019

Mobile document scanning has become a heavily discussed topic throughout industries. In times where about 2.5 billion people worldwide own a smartphone, companies are eager to replace their old workflows through mobile technologies. Especially to provide services to customers outside of your company. Especially to provide services to customers outside of your company. Like all banks, insurance companies, and many hardware manufacturers already do. One workflow which occurs across all markets and industries is the mobile detection and processing of documents.

The changing market of scanners

Since the introduction of photocopy machines little has changed with scanners. They are still fragile mechanical devices that will only generate optimized pictures from documents. They are not smart and don’t understand what you scanned and how to proceed.

The new state of the art is scanning with smartphones. All consumer smartphones need good cameras to sell. It’s a key differentiator in the industry. No wonder that companies like Apple and Samsung talk about their latest camera technologies in every single product presentation. This is a big advantage for mobile document scanning because the sharpness and clarity of the cameras have increased tremendously. Moreover, scanning just takes a split-second. A smartphone is a smart device by name, and you can write software for it that does things only a laptop was capable of before. The open platforms of iOS and Android made that possible.

Replacing old hardware with mobile workflows

The downsides of former scanning solutions

Existing hardware scanner solutions often use the same settings for decades and can’t follow the fast developments of mobile scanning. The files they generate are optimized for the human eye. However, modern workflows require more resolution, better pre-processing filters, and a smart compression to make document automation a reality. Low-quality scans will negatively affect and hinder further processing steps. Moreover, you have expensive service contracts for scanners and have to deal with integrated hard- and software which is out of your control, while the devices usually have full access to your internal network.

While we praise mobile scanner apps, a “simple” smartphone photo is by far not enough. However you take the picture, there’ll always be a visible background like a table. It will be slightly rotated and skewed, and probably you’ll see shadows on it. Also, if the focus and scan position is not on point, text near the corners of a photo might be blurry. Moreover, the resolution will be reduced when the document is too small in the picture.

A loss of detail can never be salvaged in a later stage and will negatively affect all future document automation. The only solution to combine the flexibility of a smartphone with the quality of a hardware scanner is a dedicated mobile document scanning SDK.

What is a (document scanning) Software Development Kit?

What is a SDK

A document scanning SDK is a software solution that enables the integration of document scanning functionalities into existing mobile applications. It works like a module or plug-in that you can easily integrate and that provides a given set of features. The Scanbot SDK, for example, comes with a ready-to-use user interface to capture documents, a text recognition, data extraction of QR codes, barcodes, MRZ, and much more. Through the use of an SDK, you eliminate high investments in specialized hardware. Or the immense cost and time to develop everything on your own.

How does mobile document scanning work?

How mobile document scanning works

Highly sophisticated algorithms take you from start to finish of a scan in seconds. The Scanbot SDK automates as much as possible to produce excellent results in every situation:

- The document will be detected in the camera frame in real-time. A smart user interface guides you into the perfect scan position

- The photo will be taken automatically. Then the document will be cropped, and smart filters will make it look bright and sharp

- The result can be saved as an image or PDF. Our detectors can extract text and data from QR codes, barcodes, MRZ and more

Why smartphones?

The smartphone revolution started when the first mobile data flat rates made it possible to be online 24/7. Mobile devices bring the company together in real-time with task tracking, video conferencing or business chat apps. However, they’re not only great for communication. Enterprise apps are beginning to transform workflows and start to replace PCs. The sophisticated operating systems of iOS and Android smartphones allow you to run your own software, and additionally offer security features like hardware encryption, iris or fingerprint scanners. The powerful hardware is even able to perform computationally intensive tasks. For the provided benefits they are affordable and easy to replace or upgrade.

Scanning documents with mobile smartphones

The benefits of document scanning apps

Everyone, from your employees in or outside the office and your customers all around the world, can now scan documents and transfer them in real-time and on-demand. This gives you a competitive and organizational advantage. It speeds up many workflows where you would have to wait for the information to arrive. Moreover, technology even allows you to detect and process the data of those documents. So that you can automate workflows and react instantly. Since you’re in full control of the software and modern mobile document scanning SDKs work 100% offline, you never have to fear a security breach which is caused by a 3rd party.

Would you like to know more about it mobile document scanning? Our experts would love to assist you. We would love to give you a short SDK demo and discuss your specific use case in detail. Find out how our mobile document scanner SDK can help you increase efficiency and customer satisfaction while decreasing costs and effort on your end. In case you want more information about mobile document scanning, check out our blog post about text recognition!


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