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Thursday, June 14, 2012

IFD Launches New Document Scanning Solution Called iCapture

inFORM Decisions (IFD) last week unveiled iCapture, a new version of its document scanning and indexing solution designed to work with its IBM i-based document management system called iView. iCapture is an overhauled version of the vendor's previous document scanning product, called iScan, which IFD says features major enhancements in the areas of data capture, indexing, and integration with PC-based scanners.

IFD first launched iScan in July 2010 to serve the demand from IBM i shops for scanning and indexing paper-based documents into electronic equivalents. iScan was based on an optical character recognition (OCR) scanning engine OEMed from Datacap (acquired by IBM in August 2010). The $4,800-product provided an entry-level document scanning solution that satisfied basic batch scanning and indexing needs, IFD's Dan Forster explained in a 2010 interview with IT Jungle.

Since then, IFD has changed and improved iScan to such an extent that the company felt it needed a new name. iCapture includes new OCR, optical mark recognition (OMR), and intelligent character recognition (ICR) engines that enable the product to automatically capture data and metadata from just about any scanned document, including hand-written forms.

The new recognition technology is Windows-based, and is OEMed from Irvine, California-based PSIGEN Software. PSIGEN's solutions are based in part on technology it, in turn, OEMs from other vendors, including Open Text. IFD wraps its iCapture code around the PSIGEN technology, which allows customers to bring captured forms into the IBM i environment and its IBM i-based iView software.

Another key element of the new iCapture product is a new Advanced Data Extraction (ADE) engine that IFD says will greatly reduce the need to manually enter metadata. The vendor says that scripts and pattern-matching logic in ADE (also OEMed from PSIGEN) will automatically create search metadata for a document, or enhance the metadata that has already been collected with the OCR, OMR, and ICR engines. The ADE can also extract complex data structures and information from disparate documents, which IFD says further enhances document archiving and searching capabilities.

The capability to capture documents from PC-connected scanners that exist outside of the IBM i environment, and store them in the IBM i-based iView archive, is another advantage of iCapture touted by IFD. The vendor says that this eliminates the need to have dedicated 5250 sessions for scanning documents into the iView archive. Content that has been previously scanned can also be automatically routed to iCapture through its "hot folder" function.

iCapture offers a range of PDF features, including the capability to map form fields to index fields upon import; compression of PDF files and support for passwords upon export; support for PDF versioning features; and PDF bookmarking for hierarchical structures.

IFD says the overall accuracy of OCR, OMR, and ICR scanning and index creation has also been improved with iCapture. Other product features include integration with IFD's spool file monitoring solution, called iDocs; integration with dozens of other enterprise content management (ECM) systems, such as Microsoft SharePoint and EMC Documentum; and the minimization of the need to buy third-party document processing products or to customize the product.

"By integrating a host of next-generation document and data capture features with this latest upgrade of iScan, we have taken intelligent metadata creation to an entirely new level within the industry," IFD president Dan Forster says in a press release. "It is particularly exciting to see that these powerful new search indexing features, along with the ability to connect PC-scanners to our iView archiving solutions without 5250 sessions, make it very easy and affordable for multi-department enterprises to centralize their entire scan, archival, and retrieval needs on the ever-reliable IBM."


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