Using Your Camera Phone For More Than Entertainment

Check this out. It's just a press release, but it struck me as a mobile application that I would never, ever have thought of, OCR:

International Wireless, Inc. Reads Personal Checks with Cell Phones

WOBURN, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 10, 2003--International Wireless Inc. (OTCBB: IWIN) unveiled today two new additions to its MobileVision suite of wireless productivity and mobile commerce software - "CheckPoint" and "WebPoint".

"CheckPoint" for the first time, reads critical symbolic information on checks (OCR) to reduce losses that mobile merchants suffer from "bounced" checks. "CheckPoint" allows the mobile merchant to simply scan the MICR number on the bottom of a check to verify the funds using a camera enabled mobile device such as a cellphone or PDA.

"WebPoint" adds visual intelligence to wireless devices enabling the visual recognition and decoding of printed URL's that are used to locate web pages on the Internet. By scanning a URL with one, simple stroke of the keypad, "WebPoint" automatically interprets the web-address and displays that exact site on screen.

These applications together with the Company's "CodePoint" software are expected to make the new generation of digital camera-enabled cell phones and hand held computers (PDA's) more effective personal productivity and m-commerce tools for the average users. These enhanced devices are expected to also drive increased cell phone usage and improve revenues for wireless carriers (ARPU).


Okay, so the WebPoint is pretty dumb - it's like using your camera phone as mobile CueCat. But the CodePoint blows my mind: Verifying your checks via your phone's digital camera! What a great idea! Think about if you're a delivery guy and someone offers you a check. Now you don't have to refuse. The whole concept is great!

Actually, as dumb as WebPoint is, they're both very innovative in their use of the camera on your mobile phone. There's so many other things you can do with it! I've been thinking waaay inside the box on this one: MMS and video snapshots of my kid. But wow! Combining the camera with some sort of server-side recognition system and suddenly you can use the camera for a ton of things. Mainly security is what's passing through my brain now, but I'm sure there's other text-related items, I just have to think of them.

Very neat.


Two seconds later. I just pointed my 7650 at my credit card and it's not very clear, but the numbers are there... hmmmm... It just needs to be a little closer or a little clearer...

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