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The actual cost of single- to multi-line OCR upgrade can only be determined by detailed engineering analysis and a competitive procurement process. It is possible that the conversion could be accomplished by an OCR manufacturer other than the original source, although this would require a high degree of technical cooperation between the two OCR vendors.

Technical Opportunities for Improved Performance

OTA identified several areas might be improved in the future.

where technical

performance of

These include

bar-coded reply

postal automation envelopes, mailer

printing of bar increased postal

codes, character recognition research and development.

upgrades,

address

format

standards,

and

Bar-coded reply envelopes.

Mailers-- and especially large business mailers --

already frequently provide reply envelopes to customers, presumably to payment of bills such as those mailed out monthly by utility, telephone,

facilitate and gas

companies.

Preprinting of the bar code

envelope

would

appear

to

be

cost-effective,

mail by the less expensive BCSs rather

than

along with the return address on the reply and could permit processing of business reply OCRs.

Some business mailers are already preprinting bar codes. But in order for this to be successful, the bar codes must be readable by the Bell and Howell barcode sorters. That is, the color spectrum of the ink and location of the bar code on the envelope must match the capability and location of the photo-detector in the BCS. Also, in order to achieve savings by bypassing some or all OCR processing, the bar-coded reply envelopes would need a unique facing indicia mark (FIM) so that these envelopes could be detected (perhaps by the facer/canceler) early in the mainstream and diverted to BCSs.

27

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