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February 22, 2017

So long, cumbersome paper contracts. Hello, Adobe’s digital signatures in the cloud

The future is here and it's cloudy and paperless.

By James Nunns

Adobe has taken a big step forward with its cloud-based digital signatures technology.

The company says that it has unveiled the “world’s first” open cloud-based digital signatures technology.

Coming to Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Sign, the company says that it will enable digital signatures, “the most advanced and secure type of electronic signatures used for things like healthcare forms or mortgage applications,” in any browser or any mobile device.

Bryan Lamkin, EVP and GM of Digital Media, Adobe, said: “Open standards propel entire industries forward, allowing interoperability between otherwise fragmented solutions, and paving the way for widespread adoption.”

In addition, Adobe is also adding new functionality to the Adobe Sign technology. The company said that the product will now be able to streamline the flow of documents and tasks across entire teams, it will also integrate with systems, process, and applications that are already being used.

One of the big boosts is that users will be able to convert paper to digital with a smartphone ‘scan’. The Adobe Sign mobile app is powered by Adobe Sensei – a set of services that use machine learning, artificial intelligence and deep learning capabilities.

To streamline document processes across teams, Adobe is adding document routing, online processes and users will now be able to work directly within Microsoft SharePoint.

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Essentially this is all about tapping into a growing demand for signing documents on the go. Work forces are increasingly mobile and there’s also new electronic signature regulations, like eIDAS in the EU that needs to be complied with.

Regulations have helped to pave the way for global adoption, having reassured those worried by about the security of doing this kind of thing in the cloud and digitally.

Stefan Ropers, MD, Central Europe, Adobe.

Stefan Ropers, MD, Central Europe, Adobe.

Stefan Ropers, MD, Central Europe, Adobe, told CBR: “Cloud is a reality nowadays…across Europe we see cloud adoption and what drives this is more flexibility in the IT space.

“What wasn’t possible in the past is now possible at the speed of light, eIDAS comes into this to provide an extension of how secure transactions can happen in a sped up world.”

Adobe has been in the signature space for a while, having implemented them in terms of the portable document format (PDF).

Ropers said a potential use case would be: “Let’s assume you want to sign up for a new bank account, or a car online, or any kind of more complex transaction that requires a contract and requires showing up somewhere and providing a handwritten signature.

Read more: DocuSign CEO: New chief Daniel Springer talks innovation, success as a public company and making paper obsolete with CBR

“Basically all of this can be taken online in a way that is seamless and can be done on tablet or mobile phone. Not requiring any smart card reader, not requiring smart card itself, just a signature required remotely provided by trusted service providers.”

Although Adobe is one of the big names pushing digital signatures forward, it’s not alone in the market.

DocuSign, an eSignature and Digital Transaction Management company has been embarking on a significant expansion of its footprint.

To further its EMEA growth it has expanded its investment in InsideSales.com, a cloud-based sales acceleration platform.

The InsideSales Neuralytics platform, which uses predictive and analytical big data technologies to figure out which sales leads are most likely to buy, when and from whom, is going to be put to use to help DocuSign grow its customer base.

Add to this the recent opening of a cyber security research centre in Dublin and the appointment of a new CEO and you start to see that DocuSign certainly means to be a major name in the space.

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