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.
postal automation envelopes, mailer
printing of bar increased postal
codes, character recognition research and development.
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
Preprinting of the bar code
mail by the less expensive BCSs rather
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.