Monday, February 6, 2017

Seamless prepaid user registration

In a number of countries, regulators require telecom companies to register their new prepaid users. Before these regulations, the process of purchasing a prepaid SIM was effortless. People would buy them just about anywhere and used them in a few minutes. Today's demand is to make buying a SIM card safe, but remove as much friction as possible to achieve great user experience.

Security vs. UX… and cost

The story is as old as the technology itself. All onboarding processes are essentially a trade-off between smooth user journey and secure processes while keeping it all cost-effective.
Manual input of personal data into a mobile app form just doesn’t cut it for either side. For users, it means a lot of typing. For the Telecoms, on the other hand, it means unreliable data that could lead to noncompliance with regulations or an expensive backend checking process to ensure security.

Machine-based solutions can be effective when it comes to UX and time but are often expensive. However, there is a solution offering a good performance on all three aspects (time, cost and UX) that usually drive the decision.

Simple registration via mobile app

Instead of manually inputting data into the app, a mobile camera can capture all required information in real-time.
Microblink offers software development kit that uses a camera to accurately scan both, SIM card serial number and identity document.

Therefore, for telco sales or their third-party resellers, the registration process can be completed anywhere simply through a mobile app. The SDK can be integrated into any mobile app and operates 100% offline. With no server-side components, the personal and other data remain only on a device.

For countries where data privacy regulations don’t allow taking ID images, SDK can be used to only extract data without ever saving the image in the phone memory or anywhere else.

Challenge us @ #MWC17 Barcelona!

Our technology will be presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from February 27th to March 2nd. We’ll be happy to demo our solutions and discuss your use-case.
Meet us at Hall 8.0 Stand F21.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Where were we and where are we heading?

Looking back at 2016, we can say it was, without a doubt, a very successful year for us. So let's recap the most interesting events of 2016 and tell you what's in store for 2017.

2016 in a nutshell

The year kicked off with a spin-off of our Photomath app into an independent company. Something that started two years ago as a showcase of our state-of-the-art OCR technology grew into one of the most popular apps worldwide in the educational category!

In September last year Photomath became world’s first app that solves handwritten math problems in real-time using the mobile camera. During the last 2 months, Photomath spent 29 days as #1 in the educational category of the US App Store, with over 40M downloads and more than 600K daily active users. At the end of the year, it was featured as one of the best apps of the year by German Der Spiegel magazine, Spanish El Pais, Austrian The Kronen Zeitung and other international media.

As the year went by, Photopay was implemented in several new mobile banking apps in the CEE region. In the same time, we added support for documents from more than 100 countries to the BlinkID. Expansion of our customers’ network required gathering new talents so our team grew to 50.

International Exposure

We gained a trust of over 100 new companies from all over the world, from large enterprises to startups, and increased our revenue by 100%! By the end of the year, our technology was being used by millions of end users in over 60 countries.

We went to the epicenters of innovations by participating at some of the most vibrant fintech events in Europe, Middle East and USA. It was a great opportunity to catch up with partners and clients, which resulted in promising plans for expansion of our existing cooperations.

The conferences and meetings with the industry leaders helped us better understand the financial industry challenges in 2017, especially when it comes to PSD2 in Europe. This had a big effect on our product development in order to put the client’s needs in the core of our innovation.

In Q3 & Q4 we proudly introduced two new products in our OCR family and once again proved that machine vision surpasses the obstacle of manual data entry and enables the best user experience for mobile apps.

The first one is an enhancement of a well-known BlinkID product. To our simple and fast ID scanner we added a new authentication functionality. Identity check is enabled in 3 simple steps in order to easily onboard new customers - scanning and extracting data from the ID, liveness test and face matching.

The other one is BlinkReceipt, real-time receipt scanner that enables capturing a complete retail receipt and extracting data on an item level. Very useful for personal finances management, marketing analysis or loyalty programs.

So, what’s cooking in 2017?

We will continue to market new, cutting-edge technology products. In 2017 we’re investing a great deal of time and resources in developing learning systems in order to upgrade our OCR to the new machine learning technology. Machine learning represents a turning point in the way problems are solved in computer science, and it has caught a lot of attention within the academic community in last couple of years.

With the new approach our existing real-time text recognition will be even more accurate but, more importantly, we’ll be able to add new features and cover new use-cases, languages and various documents more easily.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


The US presidential elections were never more interesting and the tight race who will replace Barack Obama as the president in the White House has reached into its last week. The 2016 Presidential elections are being called the most important elections since 1932 and that is because of the major differences between candidates and their parties. One of the crucial things is that lots of voters still have not registered. A 2012 study estimates that 24% of the voting-eligible population are not registered to vote, meaning at least 51 million US citizens.

But how do the presidential elections in the US even work? 

Almost all of the states require citizens who wish to vote be registered 2-4 weeks before the election day.
As eligibility is not automatically presumed, how is a voter registered? Usually, it's required for a citizen to register in a jurisdiction of a residence, while only some states accept registration at the county level. Till the mid 90s registration was only possible at the governmental office. Afterward, in order to increase voting turnout, the process was simplified and registration was possible at the DL registration centers, schools, libraries, disability centers and by mail-in. This year online registration was approved as well.

Online voter registration

Online registration means avoiding paperwork and filling out the forms on a website instead. Validation is done by comparing the given data with the identification document. The signature previously recorded by the state becomes also the voting signature. In case the information doesn't match application is sent for further review. Online registration meant significant savings of the tax-payers’ money, from 83 cents per paper registration to only 3 cents for online registration.

Mobile App registration

In today’s modern world smartphones have become the main and ultimate means of interaction and source of information. Therefore, a mobile App voter registration solution makes the voting process accessible to the young people in a format they are already familiar with. Most apps of this kind provide not only the registration but the general information on the candidates, ballot issues and information about polling location.

Advanced technologies enable extraction of personal data using a mobile device camera. Now, there’s no longer need to manually enter data. Within an app, it’s enough only to scan a driver’s license and the information is automatically extracted. MicroBlink offers this functionality and improves the user experience of several voting mobile apps. The scanning and the data extraction take less than a second which makes the whole process really attractive for the millennial voter population.

The future of online voting

Now, there are attempts to make the voting system online so that even more people could vote. In that case, smartphone apps would resolve many of today’s voting problems. The process for the voters would be very simple, meaning registered voters could cast their vote in real-time using their mobile device, right up until the polls close. There are opposing opinions on this system. Many argue that smartphones would be too complex for the elderly. On the other hand, there are many positive aspects like decreasing the likelihood of invalid ballots (e.g. marking 2 candidates instead of 1) and informing voters better about the candidates. Anyhow, for these changes we’ll have to wait for the next elections.

There are only a few days left and it’s predicted that it will be very tight race counting on each vote. It will be interesting to see if these simplifications and introduction of mobile app registration would have an impact on the number of voters.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Improving Mobile User Experience with the Best OCR

After successful participation at the Money20/20 Europe MicroBlink has chosen Las Vegas to showcase the newest product for the financial industry. Fast and easy way to acquire new customers remotely.

Consumers want access to banking and financial services any time any place through their mobile devices. With the machine vision software MicroBlink surpasses obstacle of manual data entry and enables the best user experience in mobile apps.

MicroBlink developed new functionality for mobile verification. SDK includes complete ID scanning, liveness detection and face matching between the photo on the ID and a selfie. Due to advanced methods for face matching verify feature of blinkID provides reliable way to confirm user’s identity to remotely access financial services while minimising fraud risk. Main advantage of blinkID is that it operates offline therefore sensitive customer data remains only on a device.

Technology for enabling true digital experience should make the process of making bank transactions easy, onboarding fast, interface seamless and beautiful with user-centric approach.
Today, mobile vision technology is ready to deal with such challenges. Why not use smartphone camera to read data from checks, invoices and other payment slips for quick data input, or to scan IDs for KYC process?

MicroBlink’s advanced technology required years of AI based research and development and now it’s available as a component easily integrated into all sorts of digital services like mobile or web apps to eliminate manual data input.

Interesting Fact

Photomath - the world’s first app that solves handwritten math problems in real-time by using smartphone camera - is built on MicroBlink's technology. It’s among top 5 educational apps and has more than 36 million downloads.

More information on MicroBlink:

Contact for meeting and scheduling a demo:
MicroBlink is exhibiting at the booth 939

Monday, July 11, 2016

Digital banking experience for Millennials

According to the survey by Viacom media networks on over 10,000 Millennials, 71% of them would rather visit the dentist than listen to the new banking offerings. That kind of perception makes banks quite exposed to new, disruptive business models of the emerging fintech start-ups.

Mind the gap

Millennials or the GenY’s are people born in late 80’s and 90’s and who are now becoming the majority of the global workforce. They are well educated, well informed, and well paid which makes them great potential clients. However, they are hard to acquire and even harder to keep due to the specific nature of their wants and expectation, often misunderstood or not met by traditional banking services. Also, they don’t mind switching brands often if there is a better product out there.

Technology-driven approach

Millennials are mobile natives, meaning that they consume most of the content via mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. They expect services available promptly, on-the-go, and the best possible experience they are familiar with in social media, instant messaging and other services that they enjoy using on a daily if not hourly basis.
If you don’t meet the expectations of Millennials in their native environment - mobile, they will probably search elsewhere for the service that does.
When mobile banking first appeared on the market, it wasn't very successful. It tried to mimic the process of the real-life branch offices or the existing desktop solutions and the number of mobile transactions was negligible, compared to other channels. It simply wasn’t 100% true digital experience for the mobile natives because it was basically the same service, offered on a different platform, not suited for such an approach.

Genuinely digital experience

Technology for enabling true digital experience should make the process of making bank transactions easy, onboarding fast and the user interface seamless and beautiful with platform-specific approaches.
But you simply can’t make the bank transaction easy if your users have to type in payment information via a tiny smartphone keyboard. Also, you can’t offer innovative services like remote account opening without the customers confirming their identity personally, in the branch office... Or can you?
Why not using the smartphone camera to read data from checks, invoices, and other payment slips for quick data input, or use it to read ID cards to satisfy KYC regulations?
Today, mobile vision technology is ready to deal with such challenges. The video below is a real-life demo of mobile vision technology in action.

It is an advanced technology that requires years of research and development, but it’s available as a component that can be easily integrated into all sorts of digital services like mobile or web apps to eliminate manual data input.

Win-win technology

In one of our earlier blog posts, we already wrote about the Erste bank use-case in which Microblink technology was used to enable using a mobile phone camera for reading payment slips. The use-case revealed 160% increase in the number of mobile banking users and 100 times increase in the number of mobile banking transactions which is a quite significant result.
We are just about to launch KYC solutions for several major banks in Europe to enable remote account opening by scanning personal ID documents.
Millennials appreciate when you go an extra mile to make their life easier and that is basically what you, as their chosen service provider should do to keep them satisfied. It will result in lot’s of positive reviews and happy customers and the thing about Millennials is - they read reviews. They listen to what their network is talking about and they are happy to share a good experience.

About Microblink

At Microblink, we are focused on research and development of mobile vision technology. We are on the frontier of computer science and we use the most advanced neural networks and deep learning techniques to provide the fastest and the most accurate text recognition by using the phone camera.
However, we are fully aware that cutting-edge technology is not enough for Millennials. It is about creating the user experience and we use technology simply as a tool for achieving the goal of seamless UX for all services that require manual data input.
The Manual data input is one of the biggest obstacles for mobile banking, but it is also slowing down processes in other industries. Manual typing is outdated! Contact us to eliminate it from your solution.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Remote customer identification via your website

Today, in a connected and fast-moving environment, customers expect prompt reactions to their requests. Fast reaction time has become one of the most important factors for successful customer acquisition and retention, especially in highly competitive markets such as banking or telecoms
When users try to open a bank account or request a new service from their ISP, they are often frustrated by the process that is necessary to get the service that they are already willing to pay for. It is a big problem that is becoming more and more annoying with all the real-time interactive technologies surrounding us and got us used to get what we want immediately.
Table showing compared effort for various delivery methods for personal ID documents between customer and a company
Most of these slow processes are there to confirm the customer’s identity in order to prevent the possible fraud. For companies, verifying the client’s identity is sometimes imperative or they risk all sorts of frauds that could result in revenue loss or even hurt their other clients. Therefore, the companies need to get the copy of a client’s ID. There are a few different approaches that offer various reaction times, but all are either too slow for the customer or too expensive for the company.
All of this commonly used processes are slower than the user would have liked and in the case of an error, everything has to be redone, doubling the effort for both parties.
Fortunately, there is a safe and reliable solution that can easily make this process fast and reduce the effort for users and the companies. The idea behind it is simple. Most ID documents in US and Europe have a barcode or machine readable zone as do the most passports worldwide for easier scanning. Most users have a phone, tablet or a laptop with a very good camera built in it.
Why not use that to verify user's identity remotely by scanning their ID’s?
The benefits of such a process are obvious both for the user and the company. Company reduces administration, reduces cost and drastically improves the response time.
Technology that provides for such a solution is BlinkID mobile vision software component. It is a white label solution for reading ID documents that integrates into the existing apps to extend their functionality. As a web-based solution that can be integrated into any website, it can scan documents with barcodes or MRZ which includes worldwide passports, US and Canadian driver’s licenses and many EU ID card standards that have the MRZ.
BlinkID is also available as a mobile SDK that provides for reading ID documents locally, without the need for sending the data to a server for OCR.
For more details, check out the blinkID web page, or contact us directly to discuss how you can optimize your use case with mobile vision.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Real-time auto capture - user friendly approach to mobile OCR

To enable the fastest and the most reliable ID document reading, BlinkID uses some interesting technology tricks for image processing. One of them is definitely the real-time auto capture for document detection from the live video stream even when documents are scanned in imperfect conditions.

Real-life users are imperfect

Reading data from ID's can be challenging. If you have a high-quality picture taken at the right angle with good lightning and clear, plane background, it's great. You can do the OCR step easily from taken image. But, in reality, it is often not the case and you can't really expect it to be.
Image that shows the perfect scanning conditions
This is where the real challenge for the OCR begins since there are so many different aspects of imperfection to consider. What if the document is at an angle or the user is not holding the phone in parallel with the document (scanning in a perspective) so you don't get a rectangular image. What if a user has shaky hands or is scanning a document on a bus ride to work?
Image that shows imperfect conditions, phone shaking, scanning at an angle
To provide the best possible experience for the end-users it is imperative to make the technology work with imperfections of reality. It is unrealistic to expect people to adapt their behavior to technology.
Users want technology to work for them and not the other way around. Therefore, we have developed our own, proprietary Real-time auto capture technology.

A natural way

From the technical standpoint, the Real-time auto capture technology consists of several steps:
Auto capture process visualization
This is a very high-level, simplified overview. What is important to notice is the fact that the whole process is done locally on the device.
There is no need for server-side processing at all! But, more importantly, from the user's standpoint, the process consists of a half-a-second phone-pointing. Users don't even have to take a photo, they just point the camera to a document.
In fact, we don't want them to take photos because our technology processes multiple frames and picks the best one in just a fraction of the second.

Check out our demo app in action:
The demo video isn't the best case scenario show-off. It really works that fast!

Small differences that matter

The difference between a solution that would include taking photo by the users, sending it to the server and returning results and ours would be about 2-3 seconds (if the taken photo is ok).
You might think that this is not a big difference, but it's huge, considering the user experience. Technology that works smoothly and adapts to users is the ultimate goal and we think that's the main reason why our SDK's are better than most other solutions available on the market.

The other use-cases

Besides reading personal ID documents, our core technology can be used to read payment slips, barcodes, receipts, payment data like IBAN numbers and even free-form text in some cases.
Wherever you need to eliminate manual data entry and provide the best possible experience to your users, be confident that Microblink solutions will do the trick for you.