Well, there is a guy called Jim, in our class who hates paying bills online because of "trust issues" as he eloquently puts it. This, coupled with a little market research and statistics, led us to develop this service to help senior citizens, the technically illiterate and the ones who think big brother is watching us, to help manage their finances without any direct contact with technology.
What it does
Our service is two-fold: We provide an API service for entities generating the bills for eg. Georgia Power to embed billing information in a QR code which they then print on their bill for easy extraction and authentication. Our Main service called Billy (Patent not applied for yet :p): 1) Accepts a hard copy of bill(s) from the customer, through the postal service. 2) This is coupled with a one-time registration form which is used to extract the customer's account information for eg. the account number and the ABA routing number, name and email.id. 3) We pass the hard copy of the bills through an engine which extracts the embedded information from the QR code and creates a e-bill. 4) The registration form is also passed through an OCR engine which extracts the account information and stores it in the database as an e-form. 5) These both are then combined together to get the consolidated information and then passed to a service which makes a PayPal API call to pay the respective bill. 6) Once done, an email or mail is sent to the customer.
How we built it
API Service - We used C# and the .NET framework to create a form which accepts the information from the bill, which needs to be embedded and then passed to a QR engine to create the QR code, which is overlayed on top of the actual bill.
For Billy - We use Microsoft's cognitive services API to perform OCR and fetch the account information needed from the registration form and save this to the database. We then use the same services to scan and decode the information off of the embedded QR code. PayPal API is then used to then pay the bill.
Challenges we ran into
OCR... with handwriting recognition.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Completed the end to end service, crafted a business plan which aligns with the company's motives for financial management, Product Design and how to get by with less sleep.
What we learned
How hard it actually is to find the right font for the title.
What's next for Billy
A patent hopefully, and wherever PayPal decides to take it.