Ten summers ago, Tiger Woods became the first golfer since 1953 to win three major championships in a calendar year. It was a good time for him, and it was a good time for us—the summer that ABBYY USA opened its doors. So this year, we celebrated ten successful years of developing knowledge management solutions and providing document recognition, data capture and linguistic software.
Certainly, ABBYY USA wouldn’t be where it is today without the incredible transformation of optical character recognition. And to appreciate the solution, I’d like to reflect on its humble beginnings. While I don’t remember hearing about the first commercial OCR system installed at Reader’s Digest in 1955, I can recall when OCR was limited to those tiny hand scanners in the mid-90s and when there were about three to four times as many OCR companies as there are today. Now, many of those companies have been weeded out, leaving the few with the greatest accuracy to continue to move OCR forward.
With that said, I’m proud of where we’ve come as an industry, and I’m proud of where we’re going. The 10th anniversary of ABBYY USA—in addition to the 21st anniversary of ABBYY HQ in September—reminds me of the tremendous advances OCR has made.
We’ve undoubtedly come pretty far since those days. The technology‘s typical accuracy rates exceed 99 percent and data capture has greatly advanced. The industry’s language scope has expanded—in fact, now some 186 languages are supported, including Arabic and Asian languages, instead of the original handful of languages (English, French, Italian, German and Spanish). In addition, the industry has achieved better performance, extensions of compression, and even introduced bar codes.
But what’s an anniversary without a celebration? I’ll let you in on a way to win an Apple iPad while commemorating the past 10 years. Until August 28, anyone who becomes a friend, subscriber or follower of ABBYY USA’s Twitter, Facebook or YouTube social media channels will be entered into a drawing for an iPad, our own FineReader OCR software and other prizes.
It feels good to be part of the impressive history that the OCR industry has been able to accomplish. I think I might just hit a few golf balls to celebrate.
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