OCR in chatbots

OCR: Give Eyes to Your Chatbot

We live in a world where robots are increasingly common. There are chatbots on the company websites and machines that build cars and other equipment by themselves. More and more are the tasks that these agents can perform, and OCR is one of them.

This article tells you what OCR is, its applications, and how your company’s chatbots can use it.

What is OCR?

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition.

It’s a technology widely used in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, and pattern recognition.

As the name implies, this technology allows a machine to read the text in images and convert this information into code that the system understands.

The text can be printed, handwritten, or typed, and the conversion can be done from scanning or photography.

It can also, for example, read captions superimposed on an image, as is the case with movie subtitles.

The Origins of OCR

According to Schantz (1982), the first forms of OCR were related to telegraphs and reading devices for blind people.

To make such recognition possible, the first versions of this technology had to be trained with images of every character and every existing font.

In 1914, Emanuel Goldberg developed a machine that read characters and converted them into standard telegraphy code.

A few years later, entering the 1930s, Goldberg invented and patented the “Statistical Machine.” This used OCR code to search microfilm files. A while later, IBM bought that same patent.

The Applications of OCR by Sector

Today, OCR systems are already quite effective and capable of easily recognizing any text. That said, their use covers various sectors and purposes.

Banking sector

Reading and Extracting Information of checks – recognizes account number, written amount, and signature. Moreover, it’s used on procedures containing large volumes of documentation.

Insurance Sector

Like in banking, OCR can do information extraction on documents such as accident reports, collecting the cars involved in the claim, the signatures of the responsible parties, etc.

Retail Sector

You no longer have to carry around all the promotional stubs every time you go to the supermarket. Today, most supermarkets already have virtual receipts that can be scanned using OCR to extract the serial number.

Tourism Sector

These days, you hardly need to learn other languages anymore, because technologies take care of that for you. This is the case with automatic translations.

There are more and more applications where you point the camera of your smartphone at a label, for example, and you have all the information translated into your language.

These tools are also useful when traveling, and you want to read the indications on signs, such as geographical names.

Besides, you already see many automated systems at airports, where machines do the ticket verification without the need for human intervention.

OCR Technology in Chatbots

What are chatbots?

Chatbots (conversational robots) are virtual agents with Artificial Intelligence that automate communication processes. Companies widely use these types of bots in their services, such as Customer Support.

These agents need certain technologies, such as Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing, to understand and respond to us.

It may be interesting to consult the articles below to learn more about these technologies:

Furthermore, if you want your chatbot to perform other tasks, such as reading documents, you need to include OCR technology.

The Visor.ai OCR Use Cases

Visor.ai integrates, according to the customers’ needs and requirements, the OCR technology in its solutions.

Heineken Use Case

OCR can be an exciting capability for a chatbot to have, namely in marketing campaigns. Take the example of Heineken.

Heineken launched a campaign where consumers had to send a photo, via chatbot, as proof of purchase of their beers. After the receipt validation, the chatbot would award prizes to users.

You can read more about this case study here.

Email bots Use Case

Another automation solution that Visor.ai offers is email bots.

Email bots are solutions that automate processes that take place, in this case, in the emails that companies receive.

It’s an ideal solution for companies with high volumes of email contacts.

Besides reading the emails, categorizing, and forwarding them to the specialized service departments, these bots also read and check the documentation attached to the email.

That is, imagine you have an insurance company and a customer wants to report a car accident.

To do this, he/she needs to send, for example, the claim registration document and the identification document. However, the customer has only sent the claim document.

In this case, the bot reads the attachment and checks to see if the user properly filled out the documents. And, if the ID document is still missing, asks the user for it.

Only when it has all documents present and well filled out, the email bot passes the case to a human assistant.


OCR technology allows your chatbot or email bot to read and extract information from images/documents that have text.

With this capability, their complexity increases, and they become more efficient as they automate processes that take a lot of time away from their teams.

Whichever Visor.ai solution you’re interested in, talk to us, and we’ll be glad to look at the options that fit you best!

Let’s talk!