For most of our history, handwriting was the primary means of communicating and information organization. But for the sake of efficiency and time, mechanical and digital technology has slowly begun replacing traditional methods of handwriting. Though the benefits of these new technologies are apparent, the value of handwritten communication cannot be overlooked.
According to a 2014 study, conducted by Princeton and UCLA, students who take handwritten notes retain more information and perform better than students using laptops. Writing notes by hand requires people to reframe concepts in their own words. This reframing triggers parts of the brain that are not activated by typing lessons verbatim, facilitating increased comprehension. But educational institutions aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a healthy dose of handwriting.
With the current data deluge and constant sense of urgency occurring in nearly every major industry, it is not reasonable for the world to revert to pen and paper. Fortunately, handwriting recognition (HWR) technology on tablets and other devices enables you to retain the cognitive benefits offered by handwriting without returning to the days of overflowing filing cabinets.
In this slideshow, MyScript, a provider of high-performance handwriting recognition and digital ink management technology, breaks down the five industries currently benefitting most from HWR technology.
HWR Technology Benefits
Click through for five industries that benefit greatly from handwriting recognition (HWR) technology, as identified by MyScript.
Jokes about the legibility of doctors’ handwriting are common these days, however, handwriting’s role in health care is bigger than a mere punch line. In fact, a July 2006 report from the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) found doctors’ sloppy handwriting kills more than 7,000 people annually.
To combat the loss of life due to illegible script, health care facilities are currently implementing digital data strategies, such as electronic health records (EHR). A 2013 survey found that 71 percent of physicians have adopted EHR. Such policies also help facilities lessen their dependence on hard paper, mitigate regulatory violations and compliance risks, as well as forgeries that lead to fraud.
As hospitals and other health care facilities digitize, they’ll need to offer the easy to use, yet versatile, experience today’s tech-savvy patient demands. As a natural human gesture, HWR is suited to provide the health care space with an accurate data input method that will benefit both doctor and patient, and further drive the adoption of additional digital data strategies.
At first glance, the automotive industry might not seem like the most natural fit for handwriting recognition, however, carmakers – such as Audi and Mercedes – have utilized handwriting technology in dashboards since 2010. Voice recognition is currently getting a lot of attention from auto manufacturers but an August 2014 study by J.D. Power found that 63 percent of survey respondents reported that their voice-recognition system didn’t understand or misinterpreted verbal commands.
This comes at a time when vehicle infotainment systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated. One technology that helps ensure a safe, enjoyable user experience is handwriting recognition capabilities. Digital handwriting solutions allow drivers to write characters or numerals, or simply gesture with their fingertips on vehicles’ onboard computer screens instead of typing on a standard keyboard. This decreases mistakes and allows drivers to quickly accomplish important tasks, such as selecting a destination, making a telephone call or noting information. When vehicles are parked, drivers and passengers can even use handwriting for more complex tasks, such as capturing notes, surfing the Internet and searching media libraries.
The field service industry has seen drastic technologic advances over the past 10 years, largely in an effort to increase productivity and environmental awareness. Technicians from cable, plumbing and utility companies offer better customer services due to connected devices.
For example, scheduling resources ensures that technicians arrive on time for their appointments; digital inventory systems ensure trucks have the proper equipment on hand; and advanced GPS enables appointment location optimization so that appointments near in proximity are batched together. Field service technicians also use HWR technology for digital data capture, decreasing paperwork and information loss while also allowing technicians to see precise notes on customer history. Each of these technology solutions ensures that customers receive the most efficient service possible.
From including computer classes in elementary, middle and high school curricula to Google’s latest Google for Educators effort, the education space has gradually embraced technology in the classroom. With an increase in programs dedicated to providing classrooms with tablets, HWR technology is a powerful tool for educators looking to fully utilize their new batch of gadgets.
Using HWR technology, students can benefit from more than just the increased comprehension linked to taking handwritten notes. HWR technology is found in note taking, math and even music apps. For example, handwriting recognition tech can take your sloppy algebra equation, convert it into neat, digital text, and then crunch the numbers in a matter of seconds. Other uses include turning scrawled diagrams into digital documents, music composition and even streamlining the process of adding references to research papers by including highlight and search capabilities. As a result, HWR can benefit students ranging from a kindergartener learning letters and shapes to a graduate student composing a piece of music for his fine arts degree.
As with all new technologies, widespread adoption is only possible once consumer demand can’t be ignored. For handwriting recognition technology, that demand has been urged by the increase in devices that capitalize on it. For instance, HWR has been around for over a decade, but the devices that leverage it have finally reached a tipping point with more than two thirds of consumers owning a smartphone, tablet or touchscreen computer.
With the rapid success of tablets and smartphones, the market is desperately in need of an alternative to inaccurate, digital keyboards and HWR tech is the best remedy. Coupled with the emergence of the connected home and Internet of Things, the number of devices requiring versatile input methods is increasing exponentially. Whether it is within mobile applications, leveraged in your smart watch, included as an alternative to your smartphone keyboard, or integrated within the dashboard of your car, HWR technology is gaining momentum.