Distributed Capture: 260,000,000 Smart Phones Are Ready to Be Enabled

By James Watson posted 03-23-2011 14:05


Who has seen the Chase Bank advertisement where a newlywed couple takes a picture of a check they received at their wedding and it’s automatically deposited? Yes, I, too, question the plausibility of that couple taking time out of their busy first night of marriage, but it’s evidence that the age of mobile capture is underway.

Smart phones, especially those with the ability to zoom and focus, are the dawn of a new age. Take a picture of a document, and transmit it to a processing center to leverage auto-recognition or manual data entry capabilities. Cycle times are reduced. Fax machines become a thing of the past (if they weren’t already).

What is it going to take to enable mobile capture? Not much. Most of the infrastructure already exists. Mobile applications will need to be developed (unfortunately, one each for Apple, Microsoft, and Google) or licensed, but the costs are not extraordinary. And if you have 2,000 service representatives, or 500 nurses, or 15,000 independent sales agents in the field, the incremental costs will be nominal.

Of course, there are a few issues. Data quality, for one (i.e. the indexing problem) and image quality, for another (i.e. poor pictures). Both are extremely dependent on the mobile device user. But I think these issues will be quickly overcome, especially when the user has incentives to do a quality job the first time – consider a sales person sending in a signed contract at quarter-end, just in time to qualify for a bonus.

And the capture software vendors are going to get a nice bump in revenue as well, in the form of new use cases and more volume (and many employ a pricing scheme that includes a volume-based “click” charge). Everybody wins – buyers and sellers. This will be exciting to watch.  

#Capture #ScanningandCapture #financialservices #mobile