Filed Under:Technology, Tech Management

Data Entry Made Easy, Via Smartphone Cameras

It hasn’t been that long ago since people carried around cameras to record special moments in their lives, has it? And by cameras I mean a 35 mm SLR that used something strange and mysterious called film to capture images.

Even with the advent of digital cameras, we still used separate pieces of equipment—not our telephones—because it was difficult to get a high resolution image from that generation of cellphones. But phones aren’t just for talking anymore, are they? Look at the capabilities of your smartphone and think of the many and varied tasks you can complete that were unimaginable a short five years ago.

Last summer, while putting together the show daily at the IASA conference inNashville, I snapped a picture on my phone for something we needed. The professional photographer on hand seemed amused that I thought my Samsung Galaxy S smartphone could possibly take a picture that would be good enough for publication. And then he looked at the image and changed his mind immediately.

I was fascinated by the story of the new mobile imaging solution from Mitek that Progressive has adopted to allow potential customers to submit an application for a new automobile policy by using the camera function on their smartphone.

By taking a picture of your driver’s license and the VIN of the car you want to insure and adding in your ZIP code, you can submit the photos to Progressive and eliminate that pesky problem of data entry that comes from small keypads on your smartphone

Mitek’s mobile-imaging technology extracts relevant information from the documents and auto-populates the fields in Progressive’s mobile-quoting app. The user then confirms the information and hits submit. Moments later, they receive an auto insurance quote with the option to buy.

It shouldn’t surprise us that Progressive was first to employ the Mitek solution. As the carrier’s mobile business leader, Matt Lehman says, “We are constantly looking for new ways to save consumers time and money. With image capture, Progressive simplifies the process of getting an auto insurance quote anywhere, anytime.”

Mobile apps attached to your smartphone have become game-changers in so many industries. Shoppers can research the products they want to buy—and the companies they wish to do business with—by scanning QR codes or bar codes. Now they can even close the deal with a photo image.

Is all this necessary? Certainly most of us are going to conduct business in a traditional manner (and when I say traditional I mean the ways we’vedone business this millennium), but it won’t be long before even modern technology will be considered quaint by those coming along behind us.

Innovation, as Deb Smallwood wrote in her blog, has to be a focus for every insurer. We’re not all going to be first out of the box with a tools such as Progressive is, but carriers that fail to take advantage of opportunities in a speedy manner are always looking up to others and that’s never a healthy position to be in.


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