I was doing an interview recently with a scanner vendor which was planning on introducing a new SOHO model, for which they expected Amazon to serve as the primary marketplace. Amazon sells a lot of document scanners. This got me thinking, why not bundle some AWS Textract services with scanners being sold through Amazon?
Introduced in 2018 and released for general availability last year, Amazon describes Textract as a “service that automatically extracts text and data from scanned documents.” What more could you ask for with a document scanner? There are different flavors of Textract, from full-page OCR and layout recognition, to forms extraction, to table extraction. Here is a link to an article I did on Textract in 2019, and here’s a link to Amazon’s Textract site. Did I mention Textract is cheap?
One drawback to Textract, which we have discussed, is that unless a user specifically requests that their images are deleted, Amazon basically reserves the right to utilize them going forward to improve Textract, as well as “other Amazon machine-learning/artificial-intelligence technologies.” That can be a non-starter for some, but adoption of the bundled service would be optional or a vendor could limit the bundling of AWS OCR services to single SKU.
So, if I am a scanner vendor, why wouldn’t I look at including a year’s worth of Textract services with the purchase of the scanner from the Amazon marketplace? Maybe the issue is that Textract is more of an AWS/B2B play than a B2C play like you get more commonly with the Amazon marketplace. But, for a vendor selling their scanners to the SOHO market, maybe there’s a fit. And I’m not sure if Amazon works like this, but could you think of a better way to get good positioning with the world’s largest e-tailer than supporting one of their up and coming AWS services initiatives, which are a major growth area for Amazon?
So, my proposition is for a scanner vendor to create a SKU, probably for some type of scanner with a network connection, that offers a free year of Textract Services. Amazon already offers a three-month free tier of Textract, so introducing some sort of trial with a scanner would not be that much of a stretch for them. If anyone does take advantage of this idea, if you’d just give me credit, I’d appreciate it.