Nemo Memo
10 Questions for I.R.I.S. USA

TEN QUESTIONS for I.R.I.S. USA from for our interview featuring Readiris PRO 11 CorporateEdition
$400 US (international versions are available)

Jean-Marc Fontaine, Director of Sales and Operations in the U.S., I.R.I.S. Inc, in conversation with John “Nemo” of What is OCR software, and why should people or businesses start using it now?

IRIS: OCR software is designed to convert the image of a document (typically generated by a scanner or a digital camera) into editable, searchable, archival information. When a document is only available in paper form, the information it contains can not be shared easily and certainly can not be edited or reworked. The idea of an OCR software is to convert the document into “live” information you can use, share, store, retrieve, edit, and search. For example, a ten page document can be converted to Word in less than two minutes! Scan the pages, select how you want the pages to be retyped (text only, full page, etc.) and have the software recognize the pages at incredible speed. The end result is a ten page Word document. You can imagine that the alternative would take quite a long time.

Other reasons to use OCR software is to simply have the ability to search documents so specific information can be retrieved (full text index). If I was to scan the United States Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and would OCR the 118 million items stored, I could retrieve the smallest piece of information from any document from the entire library. This is incredibly powerful and only possible if you use OCR technology. Imagine lawyers submerged with paper based hundreds of pages long cases. Converting “dead” information on paper into “live” data is very important to people and businesses, which explains why all scanners in the world come with some type of OCR solution. HP, the largest consumer scanner manufacturer in the world, bundles Readiris (previous versions) with every scanner. How many versions of Readiris Pro 11 are there, what are their prices, and where can they be purchased? Are they Universal applications?

IRIS: The complete list of Readiris can be found at this link. Readiris Pro 11 for Mac is Universal compatible. You can purchase Readiris Pro 11 at CompUSA, Apple Stores and many leading Mac products outlets and catalogs. Why should our readers and listeners, business or individual, consider this Corporate Edition as opposed to any other(s) you publish? It’s very expensive, don’t you think?

IRIS: Readiris Pro 11 Corporate Edition is the only OCR software developed for Mac that has a “batch mode” capacity, hot folders (watch mode) options, and business card recognition built-in. The batch and watch mode enable the users to process larger amount of documents in a more automated fashion. For instance, determine on your computer which folder you want to scan to, activate the hot folder function and let Readiris convert all the pages you scan into the file format you choose, with no additional interaction from the user. It is giving you a much more automated OCR process and is well needed for people doing larger or more repetitive OCR tasks. The fact that you can scan and sync with your Address Book or Entourage up to ten business cards per scan out of your flatbed scanner is a well needed feature for business users. During installation, why do users need to pay for a call to your customer service phone number for an activation code? Why doesn’t the toll-free number work? Why can’t this activation be done over the web? The activation process is too cumbersome and awkward! How are International users supposed to manage this maze?

IRIS: You only need to activate downloaded copies of the software. The activation can be done over the web completely automatically by simply registering your copy. We have hundreds of registrations a day and have not seen a problematic level of dissatisfaction from users. Registering is done very naturally and the software can work for 30 days before the key is required to continue using the application. This is ample time to register and receive the key for downloaded copies. How accurately and quickly does Pro11CE recognize different components of a scanned OCR document? Printed text? Handwriting? Graphics? Whatever else?

IRIS: The accuracy level is directly linked to the original quality of the document. In today’s technology, the accuracy is vastly superior to any and all previous versions of any OCR software. It really is mind boggling to see where the accuracy is on typical documents. It is becoming a very reliable technology, to the point where, many solutions are developed in a “production” environment. The speed is also quite striking — we reach speeds of 1600 to 2000 characters (key strokes) per second. That is extremely fast and accurate. Does it only work in English, or can people do it in other languages and alphabets? Greek? Hebrew? Arabic? Asian languages? Did we forget any?

IRIS: Readiris can recognize 110 languages and all the alphabets you mention, especially the new Arabic and Hebrew version released in our Middle East edition. IRIS has over the years developed a specific dictionary per language recognized. Readiris Pro has 110 dictionaries built-in which makes it the most precise multi-lingual OCR. Hey! We need scanners to import files into OCR, correct? Are the scanner(s) we already own compatible with all your Readiris v.11 applications?

IRIS: Readiris is compatible with an impressive list of scanners and have generic drivers making it virtually compatible with any scanners. Since it is a current technology (unique for a Mac OCR software), it is compatible with all the scanners currently sold. Who are your competitors in the Corporate Edition marketplace? Why is Readiris superior?

IRIS: On the Mac platform, we do not have any competitors who can claim to still be developing consumer products for the Macintosh. Is your OCR software designed specifically for the Macintosh, or ported from Windows? Please tell us a bit about I.R.I.S and its relationship with the Mac community. Any other items you produce we should know about?

IRIS: IRIS has a long history of developing technology for the Mac platform. We are totally committed to Mac users and do not port from Windows. We also produce the one and only business card solutions for Mac; the IRISCard Pro ($199) and IRISCard Mini ($129), and the only Pen scanners in the world compatible with Mac, the IRISPen Express ($129) and Executive ($199). When we spend a small fortune on this Pro11CE, will you be releasing v.12 at Macworld 2007 SF, making our software instantly obsolete? What’s coming up in 2007?

IRIS: A much larger fortune will need to be spent on hiring a typist if you have anything to retype from paper to a digital format. 🙂 You can use Readiris for a long time to scan and convert an incredible amount of documents. The cost per page is very small and gets smaller every time you use Readiris. We are working on Readiris Pro 12 which will have a lot of exciting new features. It is scheduled for 2007 but not for Macworld or early in the year.

Thanks. We’ll keep in touch with Jean-Marc and IRIS during 2007.


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