Form Filler App Goes Mobile

In an attempt to help pen-enabled mobile device users spend less time fussing with forms, software vendor Pen&Internet Tuesday debuted an advanced recognition solution for processing handwriting.

Dubbed “riteForm,” the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company is offering one month free evaluations of the platform as well as commercial licensing options.

The release comes at a time when pen-enabled devices seem to be gaining in popularity across the board. A recent study by Gartner Dataquest predicts that adoption of pen-enabled devices such as a Pocket PC handheld, electronic pen and paper, or a Tablet PC will ramp up to the point where 35 percent of all notebooks sold will have screen digitizers or a pen-enabled keyboard by 2007.

Targeted to the mobile enterprise and small business markets, the riteForm application is designed to function with mobile devices that lack the storage and processing power to handle handwriting recognition applications on their own. Once uploaded to a particular mobile device, the software sends handwriting data to a server, which performs the recognition, sends back the necessary information and fills in the form.

According to Pen&Internet spokesperson Courtney Brigham, the application also can operate locally on a users desktop or laptop computer with and electronic tablet or handwriting recognition software. “The possibilities with this product are limitless,” she said. “We are excited about what this means for the industry.”

The company is offering the riteForm Local software development kit (SDK) for developing client side forms processing applications for Windows 98/2000/XP/XP Tablet PC Edition. The riteForm Remote SDK for connecting forms processing applications with the riteForm Remote Web service is available for Windows and Windows CE 3.0/4.0, including Pocket PC 2002/2003. Additionally, a riteForm Enterprise solution for large corporate deployments and vertical forms processing portals is available on customer demand. The platform ships with more than 25 vocabularies and data templates for most common data types, including first and last name, US city, state and zip code, company name and phone number.

As Brigham explained, the riteForm system is tailored specifically to work with forms, and is programmed explicitly to recognize certain words in particular fields. A combination of next-generation artificial intelligence, customized vocabularies and data templates give the program an ability to learn as it goes, being smart enough to know, for example, that the name “Michael” belongs in the name field and not where one would input a zip code.

Experts said that riteForm, in conjunction with products such as the I/O pen from Logitech , is smart enough to be used eventually by lawyers and doctors to digitize information they fill out on standard forms. Chris Shipley, an analyst with the Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Group, noted that as more users adopt these kinds of mobile devices, software such as riteForm will become increasingly important.

“Recognition and processing of handwritten forms is a crucial application for the mobile workforce,” Shipley stated. “With riteForms accuracy and comprehensive vocabularies…it is positioned to satisfy the demanding forms processing needs of the mobile enterprise and small business markets.”

Initial system integrator evaluations of riteForm began earlier this summer. To date, Pen&Internet has logged more than 50,000 transactions, Brigham said.

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