ScanBizCards Version 2.70 was approved yesterday – this time both Premium and Lite on the same day, unlike the previous two updates.

New Features

Accuracy: only one (important) feature this time: accuracy. We hope and believe that we this update provides a very significant improvement in accuracy. In previous updates we had improved accuracy in several incremental fixes addressing narrow and specific errors in OCR results, this update is very different in that it addresses a core issue even before the OCR stage, namely processing the image and “clean it up” for the purpose of eliminating as much of the irrelevant background and color gradients that would otherwise interfere with the ability of the OCR engine to identify text areas and specific characters. ScanBizCards now preprocesses images prior to scanning – a stage indicated by the progress bar during scanning. You can turn preprocessing OFF and save scanning time in settings, but this is really recommended only for high quality images, such that world-wide business card picture taking experts like myself would take or if you are importing images from a flatbed scanner (who couldn’t take a bad snapshot of a card even if it tried). Actually even that’s a questionable criteria – many cards benefit greatly from preprocessing no matter how well the picture was taken. In particular, casting shadows on the cards posed a vexing challenge to our OCR engine until now. What’s more, we found out that most users actually do cast shadows on cards (a results of needing to come close to the card with a iPhone bigger than the card and the inconvenient fact that light sources are usually above). Trying to scan this image http://www.scanbizcards.com/problem3.php resulted is almost no correct information, now we remove shadows rather well and it’s a perfect scan – in fact, this morning I had to move that card from the “Scanning Failures” section of the sample images page to the “Good Images” section.

Settings: our settings are now in-app, which makes it much more convenient, especially when tweaking a setting before handling a specific card.

Reviews

Two good and thorough reviews were recently published for ScanBizCards, both written on the basis of V2.60 (prior to the introduction of our preprocessing):

–          iPhone Alley (Jim Washok): http://www.iphonealley.com/reviews/apps/scanbiz-mobile-solutions/scanbizcards-business-card-scanner

–          148Apps (Jason Fanguy): http://www.148apps.com/reviews/scanbizcards-review/

“Update Fatigue”?

By that we mean user fatigue (we are never fatigued of updates). Jim Washok recommends spacing updates so that users of iPhone apps don’t end up spending too much time having to learn new features. We promise to take Jim’s advice to heart (but only after V2.71 … see below). Meanwhile at the risk of stating the obvious, please note that you can skip updates and wait for a next one if you’d like, the update emails can help make that decision.

Heads Up

We plan to submit a V2.71 update this week, providing further preprocessing improvements, faster scanning time, an option to automatic scanning and a cool new scanning animation you’ve just got to see.

I’ll close with a personal testimony: up to and including ScanBizCards Version 2.60, I was simply unable to properly recognize the business card of my own brother (!) – now recognized with just a one-letter mistake (working on that letter next). Don’t tell anyone and I hope you experience similar improvements with your own scanning.