Automatic Data Capture (ADC) is a broad term that simply can be defined as automatically collecting data, usually without human intervention, and forwarding that information to a computer system to perform business processes or analytical analysis of captured data. ADC has been referred to by many names over the years (Automatic Data Capture or Automatic Data Collection) and AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture and Auto ID).
Typical technologies associated with ADC include, but not limited to, the following:
• Barcodes: Barcodes are probably the most recognized and widely used method of collecting data about products and items. Barcodes can be read as they pass a fixed barcode scanner or read using a handheld barcode scanner or handheld computers.
• RFID: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses radio frequency to transfer data from RFID tags or labels residing on products or items to RFID readers. RFID tags and labels can be read as they pass a fixed RFID reader or read using a handheld RFID reader.
• Biometrics: Biometric is a method of uniquely identifying or recognizing humans based on physical or behavioral traits. Biometric technologies include fingerprints, facial recognition, iris recognition, voice recognition, palm imaging, and others. Biometrics is used by a person interfacing with a biometric recognition device to verify the person is who they claim to be.
• Magnetic Stripe Readers: Magnetic Stripe Readers (MSR) is most commonly associated with the reading and verification of credit cards. MSR technology is also related to a user sliding a card or document with a magnetic stripe through a reader to collect and verify data encoded into the magnetic media.
• Optical Character Recognition (OCR): In simple terms OCR is comprised of scanned images of handwritten, typed or printed text that are translated into encoded text that computers can interpret and make use of.
• Voice Recognition: Voice recognition is sometimes referred to as speech recognition where spoken words are converted to text and where text is converted to speech.
Primarily, ADC (or automated data collection/capture) is the capture or collection of data from automated means without the need for human intervention. However, with ADC being a broad term the collection of data when human intervention is required is also often associated with this industry. Some industry experts would say an alternate definition would be the capture or collection of electronic created data and automatically placing this data into a format that a computer system can perform either a business or analytical process on that data. Regardless, all of the above mentioned ADC technologies can be associated with capturing data with or without human intervention.
With ADC being such a diverse field, system integrators who specialize in one or two of the technologies associated with ADC could migrate, in most cases, to other ADC technologies without extensive effect. Embracing multiple ADC technologies is a good way for any system integrator to expand their technology portfolio offerings and expand their business.