TECHNOLOGY

iOS, Objective-C, C, C++, Android SDK, Java, Tesseract OCR, OpenCV, ASP.NET, MVC, Entity Framework, MS SQL Server, Bootstrap, jQuery, WordPress, Google Maps API

CATEGORY

Mobile development / Business applications

Product Goal

Facilitate the process of applying for visas

With a team of individuals with more than 25 years’ experience serving the diplomatic corps, the client was aware that consulates face increasing pressure to screen travellers before entry and are constrained by dwindling resources.

The scope of the application that the client had envisioned was to help both applicants and consulates, by enabling a remote and much faster application process and making applicant engagement more secure.

The idea was to combine multi-channel, applicant engagement features and “score” an application before “judgement” by the consular corps.

The client had heard of Romania’s reputation as a convenient outsourcing destination, with several providers that develop high quality software for affordable rates, and decided to narrow down his search to our country. After screening multiple software development companies, he chose to work with us thanks to our mobile development experience and machine learning capabilities.

Initial Request

iPad prototype application that would use Optical Character Recognition to scan the machine readable zone within a photo of the applicant’s passport.

The application would collect the passport information, such as first and last name, birth date, country, passport number, and fill them out into the appropriate spaces of the visa application forms.

The client needed the proof of concept (PoC) of the mobile app to present the idea to potential customer consulates. As the client was satisfied with the PoC, he decided to continue collaborating with Roweb on implementing the end product as well as several related products and services.

Solution
Two interfaces:

APPLICANT INTERFACE
Android, iOS and Web




CONSULATE INTERFACE
Web

The most challenging aspect that we managed to overcome during implementation was performing OCR in various light conditions, from under-exposed to over-exposed passport details.

Problems stemmed from the fact that some of the mobile devices used for photographing the users’ passports were not equipped with flash options and the photos were low – resolution.

The image processing algorithms that we wrote in C++ successfully eliminated the noise in the images.

The main technologies involved in implementing the mobile application for scanning passports were:

  • iOS with C and Objective-C - for the iPad application

  • Android SDK with C and Java – for the Android application

  • C++ - to write an image processing algorithm for the application

  • Tesseract OCR - one of the most popular open source optical character recognition (OCR) libraries, to read the information in the photos

  • The machine learning algorithm interprets the information in the photos and fills out the application form with the data corresponding to each field

  • OpenCV - one of the most popular libraries for computer vision tasks, was used for both mobile apps

  • The gov.uk API – to validate the companies that the applicants claimed to work for

  • For developing the Applicant & Manager websites: ASP.NET with MVC, Entity Framework, MS SQL Server, Bootstrap and jQuery. The presentation website was built on WordPress. Additionally, integration with Google Maps facilitate the validation of some of the information that the users entered in their visa application, such as their current and future address and the address of their employer

Client’s benefits from working with us:

  • Access to machine learning expertise, which is generally very hard to find, especially in Romania

  • Access to a dedicated team of senior mobile developers, with 5+ years’ experience in iOS and Android

  • Timely deliveries: the first release was ready a month earlier than the client expected

  • Excellent communication skills and flexibility

quote

There is no better partner than Roweb. Their large arsenal of competencies exceeded our requirements. The implementation team is confident, consistent and reliable, delivering perfectly to specification every time and far ahead of schedule. The developers are incredibly positive, adept, creative and artful, pouring heart and soul into a project.

Paul Horner

Paul Horner

Director at DigiConsul GmbH

quote

DiGiConsul is one of my favourite projects and I'm honoured and happy that I have the possibility to build such a great product.

The latest 3 years were full of challenges and awesome expericences. It is impressive how much the project grew in these years from 14 pages of specs and a POC to 2 platforms for applications and consulates, a presentation website and 2 mobile apps.

DiGiConsul has also been an opportunity for me to grow and learn amazing things. I brought together an awesome project team and had the possibility to work with an incredible client, Paul, who has been treating us like we're his colleagues and friends.

Magda Miu

Magda Miu

Project Manager

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