The team led by Dr. Govindaraju and his colleagues at the University at Buffalo delivered to the USPS a field-deployable real-time system yielding annual savings of several hundred million dollars. This has come about in part due to the seminal and widely cited paper with ground-breaking techniques to efficiently segment and process cursively written (often with illegible parts) words with the help of lexicons in real time.
1997 Annual Report of the United States Postal Service, Page 43
"For years, we have worked with the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo to improve the technology we use to recognize handwritten addresses. While the technology we use to electronically read typed or printed addresses has been very successful, we have had only limited success in recognizing handwritten addresses because there is such variation in styles of handwriting. When we first deployed them, Remote Computer Readers could fully resolve about one-third of the printed images they received but less than two percent of the handwritten ones. For handwritten mail, the Readers could partially resolve some of the five-digit ZIP Code mail. Then we conducted a pilot test of an early version of handwritten address interpretation technology. This early version could fully barcode about one of every eight hand-addressed images it received. This year, our research has started to pay off as we began deploying the latest software and equipment designed to electronically read, decipher, and automatically barcode many of the billions of pieces of handwritten addressed mail we process each year."
Lockheed Martin provides USPS increased letter mail address recognition capability. 1999
OWEGO, NY, June 10, 1999 -- Lockheed Martin Postal Systems will be providing increased letter mail address recognition capability for 255 U.S. Postal Service (USPS) automated mail processing Remote Computer Reader (RCR) systems. The contract, called RCR2000, has a potential value of $153.8 million
Lockheed Martin will increase the RCR system's recognition capability to approximately 63 percent for handwritten letter mail by the end of 1999 and to 70 to 75 percent by the end of 2000. RCR handwritten recognition rates have improved dramatically, from two percent in 1997 to the current 53 percent, resulting in significant operational efficiencies for the USPS. The RCR2000 program also will increase the USPS' recognition capability for machine printed addresses at least five to seven percent by the end of 1999. This contract includes incentives for handwritten "read" rates above 75 percent and decreased error rates.
In praising the efforts of private industry and the academic community for helping drive breakthroughs in mail processing technology, USPS Engineering Vice President William J. Dowling said, "This has been a true partnership to take advantage of emerging computer and character recognition capabilities." Dowling singled out Lockheed Martin and its suppliers, the State University of New York at Buffalo Center of Excellence in Document Analysis and Research, and the Parascript, LLP, for their work in improving RCR performance.
The RCR2000 program will enhance the USPS' recognition capability through a series of software algorithm and hardware upgrades. Lockheed Martin will initiate deployment of the RCR2000 program in August 1999.
The USPS, the most highly automated postal system in the world, with more than 12,000 pieces of mail processing equipment and nearly 40,000 post offices, has been able to use technology initiatives such as the RCR2000 program to constantly improve service, while maintaining the lowest postage rates in the industrialized world.
Lockheed Martin Postal Systems is a leader in the design, production and systems integration of a broad product portfolio of recognition, sortation, material handling and information management systems equipment and technology for postal and commercial customers. It is part of the Lockheed Martin Electronics Platform Integration organization, which provides advanced-technology products, services and systems integration solutions. The organization is an operating unit of the Lockheed Martin Electronics Sector, which designs, develops and produces advanced components and systems for military, civil government and commercial customers around the world.
February 1, 1999: Katy Saldarini, Government Executive
"USPS issued a contract to researchers at the State College of New York at Buffalo to develop the handwriting recognition technology. It was first launched in 1997 right before the Christmas holiday season. One year later, an estimated 400 million pieces of mail were automatically routed during the Christmas season alone using the handwriting recognition technology. The new technology has saved the Postal Service at least $90 million in its first year in the field."
1999 Annual Report of the United States Postal Service, Section "Gateway to the Household: Automating"
"During the 1998 holiday mailing season, 50% of all handwritten card and letter addresses were 'read' not by human eyes but by high speed sorting machines, a process that resulted in labor savings of $31 million."