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Many people inherit full-page Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology by simply purchasing a scanner or a multi-function (MFP) device. All these pieces of hardware include various software packages and OCR is one of the most common. Often the software is never used or the use isn’t always clear. Other times, the bundle is a tight integration with the hardware and the OCR is a part of configuration of the scanner and is used during scanning unknown to the user.

Bundled OCR technology is the easiest way to learn through use, and get the technology for a low price. Bundled software has contributed a great deal to market education and understand around the advance technologies. All the top OCR engines have a consumer product bundled with a document scanner or multi-function device. But because it’s already there, it leaves many wondering why you would ever purchase the software directly.

For many, the bundled OCR is sufficient for use. The quality of documents is clean, and the demand for advanced options is not required. But for others they just need more. This is why more advanced versions exist. Bundled OCR, even from the best vendors, is limited or an older version of the product. Some of the vendors make a special “bundle only version”, while others choose to incorporate non-current versions. Not only is buying the software directly getting the latest technology with the best features, the biggest drive to purchase is a greater more specific need to focus on OCR functionality. This could be because you are scanning old documents, degraded documents, or you need special settings such as compression and PDF/A functionality that is simply not found in bundled versions.

Vendors don’t make any money on bundled OCR other than to cover costs. Because vendors use for the most part bundled versions as marketing, they don’t incorporate the latest, greatest, and most advanced features. For those who the document version process is very important, there is a clear benefit in quality OCR packages.

Chris Riley – Sr. Solutions Architect

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