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Excitement about Wacom’s new Tablet for Signature Capturing

03-13-2007 01:40 PM CET | IT, New Media & Software

Press release from: SOFTPRO

LCD Signature Tablet of Wacom captures static and dynamic (biometric) characteristics of signatures in real time

LCD Signature Tablet of Wacom captures static and dynamic (biometric) characteristics of signatures in real time

At CeBIT, the World’s largest IT show – Wacom – the global market leader for pen tablets and interactive pen displays, will be demonstrating a prototype of an LCD-tablet that has been specifically optimized for the capturing of handwritten signatures. The device has so far exceeded the expectations of potential customers. Softpro, Wacom’s partner had the exclusive opportunity to introduce the new tablet to selected customers in the banking and insurance sector prior to CeBIT. The feedback so far has been overwhelming. Customers were particularly impressed by the sharpness and accuracy of the tablet’s display which presents the signature instantly without any delay as if it had been written on a piece of paper. “It just feels like writing on paper” has been a popular comment by those that have had the opportunity to try it. The device will be on display at CeBIT’s „Signature Pavilion“ in the specialist show Bank-Finance-Systems in hall 17 (booth A01.16)

Ralph Maute, Product Manager for Softpro, sums up the impressions of customers, and prospects so far: „As an initial test we asked people that are not familiar with the idea of paperless signing to just sign on the new tablet. They could not believe that they were actually signing on an electronic pen tablet with an LC display and not on real paper. “Obviously, Wacom is on the right track with its design of its new signature tablet. Financial institutes have confirmed that “it fits perfectly into our branch environment” and “looks modern and secure”. However, financial institutes are not the only ones talking about this exciting new product. Vendors that require Point of Sales solutions, for example from the telecommunication sector as, well as retailers are also impressed by the new product’s features.

Maute adds: „Whatever feature you choose: Luminance, sharpness, or speed of the display – it seems as if Wacom has scored a real big point with this device. It will be very interesting to see how much curiosity the device will receive at Cebit.“ Softpro is exhibiting at Cebit together with its partner out of the ECM sector Beta Systems, Tablet PC manufacturer Motion Computing and last, but not least, Wacom under the umbrella of the so-called „Signature Pavilion “ – a booth specifically dedicated to the topic of processing handwritten signatures.

A new generation of a Signature Capturing Device

The device is convincing in the sum of its details and clearly demonstrates that Wacom has intensively investigated the market requirements for the environments for potential usage. Consequently, the tablet supports capturing of long names (especially the quite common combo names). The writing surface is non reflective, and resistant to scratches. Ergonomics and usability have also played an important role in the device’s design: In opposition to other tablets or pads on the market, the ball of the thumb can rest on the tablet throughout the signing process thereby providing an extraordinarily ergonomic signing experience.

Wacom’s patented cable free pen technology requires no battery in the pen and captures signature signals with an active digitizer. Thus, no interfering signals will be captured if the ball of the thumb touches the signature capturing field and lead to an extremely high quality signature. These facts are convincing: Several companies that are using products from Wacom’s competitors today, have inquired to test this tablet in order to evaluate the replacement of their current „pen pads“ for higher quality substitutes such as Wacom’s new device. Obviously, they expect Wacom to live up to their reputation for robust and durable products that the company has gained over the years among professional users with their other products.

Exceptional quality

Softpro’s specialists in research and development have tested the new tablet intensively over the last few weeks on its “inner values”, and were quite happy with what they found. Softpro is the worldwide leading manufacturer of software for capturing and verification of handwritten signatures. Its R&D department regularly tests almost every signature capturing device that is available on the market.

“Up to now the new Wacom tablet gets closet to our idea of an ideal signature capturing device“ says Ralph Maute. Underneath an appealing surface the device incorporates state-of-the-art technology: The very sharp display has resolution quality (VGA) that we believe is unmatched by competitors. Other advantages are the robustness and durability: While other manufacturers deliver tablets with background lighting Wacom’s tablet comes without it while still superseding its rivals with superb contrast quality.

Trustworthy Signature Data

Signing has already been an accepted form of authentication and authorization for hundreds of years but ha up until now required the use of paper. Signing elevtronically, requires much more than just an electronic image of a handwritten signature. The signature contains biometric information about how the signature was signed such as speed, patterns, habits, and pressure of pen strokes. These characteristics represent a biometric footprint which is unique to every individual and can not be reproduced by a forger. Unlike other biometric technologies such as fingerprints, facial scan, or iris scan, a dynamic signature is more accessible and accepted because it is non-intrusive and does not convey a sense of criminality.

Forensic experts emphasize the importance of a reliable and repeatable capture of different pressure levels that are applied throughout the writing process. They especially investigate if the manufacturing process of the capturing device is according to a high quality standard and excludes unacceptable manufacturing tolerances. This is actually a weak spot of many devices that are available on the market so far. Wacom’s new tablet fulfils this criteria with a highly reliable documentation of the different pressure levels.

Ralph Maute explains: “If we use signature data captured by this new device for an automatic comparison – e.g. using our SignWare Signature Software Development Kit– we can achieve outstanding results due to the fact that the tablet’s quality and reliability deliver very exact data.” Wacom’s inductive pen technology protocols the pen position and the intensity of the writing pressure very accurately. Thus we receive very precise profiles of time and location coordinates as well as levels of the writing pressure. This kind of technology has already been part of Wacom’s graphic tablets such as the Graphire4 or Intuos3 in the past. Most Tablet PCs use Wacom’s „Penabled“-Technology as well. They actually use this sort of capturing to achieve top quality for handwriting recognition. Maute: “We are thrilled by the fact that there is now a device available which so well caters for the specific needs of signature capturing.“

Background: Digitizing the Signature throughout the Signing Process

Signatures may be digitized during the writing process instead of scanning them from paper. A wide range of instruments is available for digitizing signatures: pen pads (with and without display), special pens, and Tablet PCs. They allow a gradual move from paper-based documentation to electronic processes as well as upgrading the quality of signature verification in general.

Softpro has defined a set of quality criteria for capturing signatures with digitizing instruments. A proper comparison of static signature characteristics and dynamic signature signals requires a digitizing instrument that takes into account a sufficient amount of time signals. It also must be able to differentiate between various pressure levels, and to provide an appropriate resolution rate. These requirements are also reflected in the upcoming standard for the interchange of biometric signature data which is currently in draft stage (ISO/IEC WD 19794-7).

Wacom provides quality tablets for signature capturing with their models Graphire, Intous, Cintiq and the PL-series that are available in various sizes. These tablets may be used for other applications too such as graphic design, medical applications or for construction purposes. All of them are equipped with Wacom´s patented, cordless, battery-free, pressure-sensitive pen technology. The special pen contains just an inductor & capacitor. The inductance and capacitance values of the tank circuit are selected to match the resonant frequency of the antenna coil. Depending on the technology in the pen Wacom tablets can provide varying levels of pressure up to 1024.

The tablet at CeBIT

The tablet will be on display at the Signature Pavilion at Cebit (hall 17, booth A01.17). Partner on this joint booth is also Motion Computing, one of the most successful manufacturers of Tablet PCs. Motion Computing uses Wacom’s pen input technology („Penabled“) in its devices. One of the demonstrations at Cebit will be how the mobile sales force goes paperless with electronic PDF-documents (e.g. account openings or contracts) are easily signed with Softpro’s SignDoc on Wacom’s tablets or Motion Computing’s Tablet PCs.

About SOFTPRO

The SOFTPRO Group is the worldwide leading vendor of systems for capture and verification of handwritten signatures. The company is based in Boeblingen, Germany with local subsidiaries in North America (Wilmington, Delaware), the United Kingdom, and Asia-Pacific (Singapore).

The group currently employs an international staff of over 60 people, enabling more than 200 companies worldwide to streamline their document and transaction workflows. With its Biometric product line, SOFTPRO provides solutions for securing the authenticity and integrity of documents within electronic processes, such as those required for legal contracts. For this purpose, a unique signature technology is used to extract and evaluate both the static and dynamic (biometric) characteristics of handwritten signatures. SOFTPRO’s "Fraud Prevention Solutions" portfolio provides a holistic approach to detecting and preventing fraud in paper-based processes (such as payment transactions), as well as increasing operational efficiency using signature management and verification solutions.

Among SOFTPRO’s customers are American Express, Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Discover Financial, HypoVereinsbank, Ingolstadt Hospital, JPMorgan Chase, Lloyds TSB, Saudi Chamber of Commerce, SEB, Standard Bank of South Africa and Wachovia.

Since 2002, the offer to secure electronic documents with handwritten signatures extended the customer portfolio of SOFTPRO to other industries such as banking and insurance, health/pharma, retail, government, automotive and logistics.

SOFTPRO's shareholders are GE Capital (since 1998), AdCapital (since 2001) founders and management.

SOFTPRO's partners include: A2iA, BancTec, Beta Systems (Kleindienst), Carreker, DISOFT Pro, Fujitsu Siemens Computers / Fujitsu, Gateway, Gijima AST, House of Development, HP, IBM, Interlink, Lenovo, Microsoft, Mitek, Motion Computing, NCR, Toshiba, UNISYS and Wacom as well as APP Informatik Davos.

Please contact for additional information:

SOFTPRO GmbH
Joerg-M. Lenz
Manager PR

Wilhelmstrasse 34
71034 Boeblingen
Germany

Phone: 49 7031 6606 0
Fax: 49 7031 6606 66

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