SOURCE: ABBYY USA

September 27, 2005 08:55 ET

ABBYY Enhances Core Recognition Technology to Provide Four Cornerstone Functions in a Single Recognition SDK

FineReader Engine 8.0 Raises the Bar With Field-Level/Zone Recognition Support, New PDF Processing and Development Platform Enhancements

FREMONT, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 27, 2005 -- ABBYY USA today announced FineReader Engine 8.0, the latest platform release of its powerful recognition SDK. By integrating full-page recognition, field-level recognition, PDF conversion and data capture capabilities in one SDK, Engine 8.0 essentially provides a single source for developers to integrate ABBYY's technology into applications for document and content processing, classification, indexing, archiving, document and PDF conversion, forms processing, and data capture from semi-structured forms and documents.

For the first time, FineReader Engine 8.0 addresses key new audiences with major enhancements enabling robust field-level recognition, making it an ideal platform for supporting applications such as keyword indexing and forms processing. These features, combined with enhanced PDF conversion and new customization tools for added developer support, make FineReader 8.0 Engine the most accurate and comprehensive software development kit for document conversion and data capture. Unlike any other toolkit in its class, FineReader Engine including all the key functionalities needed to support today's DMS and ECM applications.

ABBYY FineReader Engine 8.0 supports 189 OCR, 91 ICR languages, OMR, plus 1D and 2D barcodes. The new version delivers an overall recognition accuracy boost, enhancement on field-level recognition, new document analysis tools, and new features such as full-text index preprocessing, making it applicable for different tasks. It also provides programming-specific tools to aid developers in creating accurate and efficient applications, such as external voting API support (for solutions with multiple engines) and lower level access for recognition tuning on-the-fly. Developers can also take advantage of the database of code samples, complete with sample images and benchmark data for common-use cases. ABBYY also offers professional services and works closely with its developer community to help achieve the optimal balance between speed and accuracy for each particular application.

Overall Recognition Enhancements

--  OCR accuracy enhancement.  ABBYY FineReader Engine 8.0 delivers a
    significant increase in overall recognition accuracy with up to 30 percent
    accuracy improvement for historically difficult-to-read images such as
    faxes and documents scanned at low resolution.
--  Fast Mode for ICR.  FineReader Engine also offers an option for
    increasing speed on field-level ICR, up to 2 times faster.
--  Adaptive image pre-processing for Camera Images.  The new technology
    applies different processing algorithms and corrects specific image
    distortions typically seen in digital camera images. This provides an
    improvement of up to 40 percent in digital camera OCR accuracy (compared to
    previous versions of the technology).
    
Field-level/Zonal Recognition Improvement

FineReader 8.0 contains a complete set of field-level recognition functions for performing recognition using OCR, ICR, OMR or barcode recognition and extracting the text or data from specified zones or snippets of images. Special enhancements in 8.0 ensure accuracy and speed enhancement on small fields and zones.

These improvements include:

--  Fast mode ICR.  Performing ICR up to two times faster.
--  Better text extraction from the fields.  Even when text is overlapped
    with field lines.
--  Detection of in-field spacing.  Accurately recognizing fields where
    the spaces are allowed. New version also includes dictionaries, which may
    contain word combinations with spaces.
--  Intelligent processing of blocks with intersecting parts and lines.
    The Engine recognizes the text (words and symbols) which are completely
    located within the block borders without spending the time to recognize non-
    relevant text blocks around.
--  Text block despeckle.  With the ability to specify the size of white
    or black "garbage".
--  Voting API.  Word-level and character-level hypothesis for following
    voting scenarios.
--  On-the-fly recognition tuning.  Allows integrators to influence on
    hypothesis choice by inserting additional ranking criteria during the
    recognition process.
    
Full Page Recognition/Document (PDF) Conversion Features

With significant technology enhancements, ABBYY FineReader Engine 8.0 offers higher performance and a recognition rate up to twice as fast when converting source PDF files. With extensive functions for both PDF input and output, version 8.0 also provides developers with new powerful tools to create PDF conversion applications (including PDF to a variety of formats or image to searchable PDF):

  Enhanced PDF Conversion (PDF input)
    --  More accurate and up to 2 times faster PDF processing
        When processing PDF files, ABBYY FineReader Engine determines
        whether or not text is embedded, examines the integrity of the text
        layer, and analyzes internal information within the source PDF
        files such as annotations, meta-data, text objects, font
        dictionaries and content streams. Using all this information it
        makes a decision as to whether to extract the text or apply OCR. It
        examines each block individually, and selects the most appropriate
        method to apply to each block. This process ensures more accurate
        and faster PDF conversion.
    --  Extracting of internal PDF links and hyperlinks
    --  Compliance with security settings of source PDF files

  Enhanced PDF Output
    --  PDF Security Setting and Encryption Support.  ABBYY FineReader
        Engine 8.0 supports open and permission passwords for output PDF
        files, allowing users to restrict printing, editing, or extracting
        of file content making it well-suited for professionals working in
        government ministries and other organizations demanding high
        security. It also supports RC4-based encryption from 40-bit to
        128-bit, and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)-based 128-bit
        encryption.
    --  Tagged PDF.  In addition to output to a variety of searchable PDFs
        and image-only PDFs, the new version now offers the capability to
        create Tagged PDF format that can be reflowed to fit different page
        or screen widths.  This makes it easy to generate PDF files that
        are optimized for viewing on handheld devices and accessible by
        screen readers typically used by the visually impaired community.
    --  Meta-data for PDF files. It is possible to add the following meta
        information during the PDF Export: bookmarks, hyperlinks, and
        document properties.
Document Analysis for Full Text Indexing

This feature supports automatic detection and recognition of text on an image including the text embedded in pictures, charts, and diagrams. Document Analysis for Full Text Indexing provides exhaustive information on text that is vital for further document index building. This makes FineReader Engine 8.0 truly indispensable for indexing solutions (for building an index in/for DMS, CMS, archiving systems).

Data Capture from Semi-Structured Forms and Documents

The new ABBYY FineReader Engine offers semi-structured form and document processing through support for the latest ABBYY FlexiCapture Studio 1.5 tool. This makes form and semi-structured document processing even more accurate and minimizes the amount of adjustments required for each project. New features supported by FlexiCapture Studio 1.5 include:

--  Table Element Support
    Enables proper reading of tables in documents, providing easy
    extraction of line-item details. Ideal for processing invoices and
    other financial documents.
--  Specialized Numerical Element Support
    Support for new "Phone" and "Currency" element types streamlines the
    description of this type of data on the form and thus increases capture
    quality.
--  Texture Filtering
    Enhanced pre-processing technologies screen out irrelevant texture that
    may affect recognition quality.
--  Multiple Language Selection for Pre-recognition
    This new feature enables the pre-selection of mixed-language
    combinations, for example English-German, for easier processing of
    multiple language documents.
Development Platform Function Enhancements

External Voting Algorithm Support

When using FineReader Engine as one of the participating engines in a third-party application, FineReader supplies recognition alternatives (or hypotheses) with relevant confidence level on characters, words and inter-character separation. This information helps developers design an efficient and accurate voting algorithm. For example, when recognizing "O," FineReader Engine may return three hypotheses: as "0" (zero), with 60 percent, or capital "O," with 80 percent, and capital "C" with 10 percent confidence. Another example for inter-character separation: "m" can have hypotheses "m," or "rn," or "in."

"We recognize that ISVs developing enterprise-level applications are sometimes requested by their customers to comply with voting requirements, and as a result need to integrate multiple recognition engines using voting to validate results," explained Alex Rylov, chief product manager of ABBYY's SDK product line. "The Voting API is designed to support this type of scenario. We work closely with our developer community to ensure that their applications achieve the best results with optimal speed and accuracy."

On-the-Fly Core Recognition Tuning

The version 8.0 SDK provides developers with the access and ability to manipulate the engine during the recognition process on a core level. FineReader recognition engine generates hypotheses (or recognition alternatives) and the new version allows developers to influence or fine-tune the procedure of setting confidence levels for each hypotheses using their own specific ranking criteria.

Sample codes for Maximum Performance and Efficiency

The new SDK is supplied with the database of common Engine Usage Samples which help to tune FineReader Engine for each particular project in the most appropriate way. This is a ready-to-load profiles set with the optimal speed and accuracy balance, designed for particular tasks such as field-level recognition, archiving with imaging and indexing, full-page conversion to RTF and HTML. It also contains sample images and benchmarks.

Input/Output Formats Support for All Types of Functions

ABBYY FineReader Engine supports a variety of input image formats (including BMP, PCX, DCX, JPEG, PNG, TIF and PDF) and document saving formats (including DOC, RTF, PDF, HTML, PPT, TXT, XLS, DBF, and three types of XML). The new version also supports GIF and DjVu formats, which are very useful for web publishing, online archiving, SPAM filtering and other tasks concerning the Web.

Availability and Pricing

The ABBYY FineReader Engine consists of a set of Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) and is accessible through a standard programming interface, which conforms to the COM (Component Object Model) standard, supporting development environments such as C/C++, Visual Basic, and Visual Studio.Net. The full product is scheduled to ship starting in November 2005. Information on licensing models, pricing, and other technical information is available through your local ABBYY office. For additional product and sales information, please visit www.ABBYY.com.

About ABBYY

ABBYY USA is a member of the ABBYY Software House Group, a world leader in document recognition and linguistic technologies. ABBYY specializes in the development of software for optical character recognition (OCR), intelligent character recognition (ICR), linguistics, semantics, and electronic lexicography. Leading products from ABBYY include the FineReader line of OCR, ICR and barcode software, and FineReader development tools. Companies that license ABBYY OCR/ICR technologies include BenQ, C-Technologies, EPSON, Freedom Scientific, Kurzweil, Kofax Image Products, Legato Systems, Microtek, Mustek, NewSoft, Notable Solutions, Stellent, Panasonic, ReadSoft, SER Solutions, Samsung Electronics, Sumitomo Electric Systems, Umax, and Verity. For more information about ABBYY, visit: www.abbyyusa.com or contact ABBYY USA, 47221 Fremont Boulevard, Fremont, CA 94538. Phone: (510) 226-6717. Fax: (510) 226-6069. E-mail: info@abbyyusa.com.

For more information about ABBYY, please visit the company's website at www.ABBYY.com.

ABBYY and FineReader names and logos are registered trademarks of ABBYY Software Ltd. Other product names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies and are hereby recognized.

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