With a new program from PenOp, a digital signature software developer, palm-top organizer owners can sign their names on the screens of their organizers and transmit those signatures over the Internet as legally binding approval on electronic documents.
PenOp’s PocketSign is reportedly the first electronic handwritten signature capture program for palm-top computing devices. By making the organizers a mobile signing pad for transacting legally binding electronic business, the company says, e-commerce can become more portable and expand to areas where computers are less common.
3Com’s operating system works on several palm-top organizers, including Palm Computing’s handheld devices and IBM’s WorkPad.
To promote the new software and its strategic partner 3Com, PenOp is offering licensed users of 3Com’s Palm OS 3.0 operating system free copies of the signature program for personal use. The offer is good through October 31st.
“Many organizations are still designing paper into the e-business environment,” PenOp CEO Howard Schechter said. With PocketSign, he added, “secure, end-to-end digital transactions [are] now a reality.”
How It Works
When a user is ready to sign an electronic document, PocketSign enables the palm-top device to read the pen as electronic stylus rather than just points of contact. The PenOp program provides evidence of the actual signing event, including an audit trail with the date, time, signer’s name, the document contents and the signer’s intent. If the content of the signed document is altered in any way, the signature is automatically invalidated.
Users must have a host computer or a Web site running on Microsoft Windows 95, 98 or NT 4.0 to use the PocketSign program. In addition, the palm-top device must use the Palm OS 3.0 operating system and have a Palm HotSync Cradle or HotSync cable connection.
While the program works with at least four different lines of palm-top organizers, it does not support the Pilot and PalmPilot organizers.
PenOp has provided a variety of Signature Series software applications to businesses and government agencies to reduce the paper required for transactions, to seal contracts, open new accounts and sign receipts without paper. PenOp products are in use in more than 30 countries. The company also designs software for office networks and the Internet for security transaction, document management and workflow applications.
The programs can also be integrated, using plug-ins, with common office programs such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, or users can buy programs with PenOp already integrated into the applications. Companies such as JetForm, DOCUMENTUM, FileNET, UWI.com and Staffware offer such applications.