The smartphone camera provides many useful functions besides taking photos and recording video clips, as it can be used by various applications to identify plants, simplify business trip bills, or translate food menus between different languages.
Nils Pritz, head of the digital operations sector at the German Association for Information and Communications Technology “Bitkom”, said that the smartphone camera can be used by applications that recognize the codes that have been created for computers and convert them into data such as rapid response codes known as “QR”. “(QR) or barcodes (barcodes) on products or labels.
When the user scans these codes, they are directed to websites, which contain more information. “In the past, the user had to install the application in question, if he wanted to use this function,” Pritz added. “However, modern smartphones now come with this function in camera applications.”
Pritz pointed out that the second group of applications includes programs that can “see” through the camera and recognize objects in the image. Some applications are able to “read” texts in menus and translate them into other languages, while other applications determine the type of plants By taking a photo of the plant flower.
For her part, Miriam Rohenstrot, from the German consumer protection portal, indicated that the facial recognition function has made a big change in this area, and image analysis algorithms are now working well, as they can recognize faces, and then recognize them in other images.
Digitize office and administrative processes
Pritz explained that image recognition applications are currently contributing to the digitization of office and administrative processes, as companies specializing in business software have developed applications that link to a smartphone camera, and fully digitize and archive documents.
The German expert emphasized that these applications take into account legal regulations, and within the scope of using these technologies is the calculation of travel costs, as the concerned application digitizes travel documents while on the move, and then transfers them to the systems of the concerned company.
There are many applications that can capture information from documents via the automatic text recognition function known as “OCR” and transfer it to other applications. The business card scanner application transfers the data on business cards to the address book. Directly, however, this app has not enjoyed widespread popularity among ordinary users.
Ease of use
Usually the applications share the advantage of ease of use, where the user opens the application and directs the camera towards the subject to be scanned, whether it is a barcode, plants, texts or documents, and then the result appears on the smartphone screen, and there are a lot of free applications and paid programs , Which scans texts, and these applications differ among themselves in terms of usage and size of functions.
Such applications require the availability of an Internet connection, since the images are transferred to the servers of the company providing the service, where the images and texts are recognized there, however, the volume of data, which is dealt with, is often limited.
Rohenstrot indicated that many users do not realize that their images, which were captured by the scanning and image recognition application, will be processed on the servers of the company providing the service, and the applications that reliably recognize the images depend on the efficiency of the server hardware. For business cards, the companies providing the service may collect information and analyze it.
Hence, problems related to privacy and data protection may appear. Before using such applications, the user must ask himself some questions, such as is this my picture, and is it permissible for a third party to process this image?
It should also be noted that applications that are funded through ads often send a lot of user data to other companies, so it is better to rely on paid and ad-free alternatives, even with the use of simple applications such as a scanner.