2D Barcode-Enabled Web Forms for Fill-and-Print Applications

Encode a QR Code with user filled-in data from web forms for data capture flexibility

A new year is practically upon us. At Dynamsoft, we are celebrating a successful 2013 and planning for an even better 2014. ^_^ Like many other software vendors already looking to the New Year, the most important planning involves new product development. For Dynamsoft, we have one new product idea to highlight today – from our “still-to-be-determined-list.” The idea is to provide a flexible and cost-effective barcoded web form solution.

Concept

The solution has 2 possible workflows, with one using a handheld scanner to read the QR Code and another one using Dynamsoft Barcode Reader SDK for the same.

QR Code Web Form Write Barcode

The concept originates from a Purchase Order (PO) automation system we are building for our customers. With this PO web portal, users can fill in the order info – such as company name, email address, credit card info, etc. – and then print the completed form. After the user signs on the printed form, the form can be scanned and uploaded to the Dynamsoft web server for processing.

From this came the basic idea of a browser-based solution to enable web form data to be captured in a barcode. This would be useful for organizations dealing with lots of fill-and-print documents, such as in healthcare, insurance, etc.

With this application an organization can use fill-and-print web forms. But, in addition, a 2D barcode would be encoded with the user-supplied information. So, the form data can be extracted by decoding the barcode. The data is near-100 percent accurate . The creation of the barcode might be accomplished at the same time a user clicks “submit” or as a separate one-click option.

The 2D barcode records info in XML, for example:

<field name="name">
<value> Desmond.Christopher </value>
</filed>
<field name="age">

These barcodes help reduce costs, errors, and time spent processing fill-and-print paper forms.

The PO automation system has passed proof of concept. During this process, it occurred to me that other companies might need such a system as well. It’s particularly useful for any organization that has a lot of fill-and-print form applications. It bridges the gap between paper forms and digitization copies.

One might wonder why asking the users to submit the form online first and then print and sign. It’s because the form processor would have to manually verify whether the online copy is the same with the paper copy.

Below is a possible usage scenario for the idea of a 2D barcode from Dynamsoft.

An immigration office could allow applicants to complete a VISA application form online. After the applicant completes it, they can print and sign it. Then they would need to submit it by mail, or hand it over another way, to the immigration office. In the case of using our idea for a barcode, this printed form would also have a barcode on it. Now, the immigration officer receiving the form can scan the applicant’s input into a database instead of manually entering it. The error-proofing, time and cost benefits become clear here. Some might wonder why optical character recognition (OCR) might not be an option. It’s because OCR is more likely to be inaccurate.

Alternative Solutions

I searched online and found that similar products already exist, such as the Adobe LiveCycle Barcoded Forms solution. But, a main difference to a Dynamsoft solution is that Adobe’s barcoded form is in PDF format. LiveCycle gives a very robust and powerful process management capability for document workflow. But, we feel a Dynamsoft solution could yield significant advantages over Adobe‘s solution in some situations:

  • Lighter-weight – the Adobe LiveCycle installer is at the Gigabytes level. It is difficult to install and operate compared to the Dynamsoft solution under consideration.
  • Pricing – Adobe’s solution is very expensive, with licensing based on either per form or per form recipient costs. The Dynamsoft solution would cost significantly less, both short-term and long-term.
  • Simpler – The Dynamsoft solution would be easier on users, with no need to install or use a 3rd party Adobe Reader application.

There might be some disadvantages to overcome too:

  • For some organizations, a browser-based web form might seem less “business-like” than a PDF form.
  • If the form has many fields, users might want or need to save the document as they work on it.  With Adobe’s solution, this is an easy task. With Dynamsoft’s solution, we might need to rely on a browser cookie.

This idea might have great market viability and provide significant advantages over existing solutions. We’d love to hear your feedback, either by email at sales (at) dynamsoft.com or in the comments section. Would you be interested in this application by Dynamsoft?

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