ICS Bolsters FormSprint with Topaz Signature Capture
February 17, 2004 Alex Woodie
Collecting signatures has long been a thorn in the sides of IT managers struggling to reduce paper use. While forms software has digitized pre-printed forms, and electronic fax and e-mail add-ons distribute those forms over phone lines, getting that good old John Hancock has remained a barrier to eliminating paper entirely. Among several other enhancements in the new version of Integrated Custom Software‘s FormSprint OS/400 document management software is support for Topaz Systems‘ electronic signature pads.
ICS has formed a partnership with Topaz Systems to enable its FormSprint software to work with Topaz’s line of electronic signature capture pads. The Simi Valley, California, company manufactures a line of small tablet-sized signature-capturing devices that feature digitizing pens, LCD screens, and USB/Serial port PC connectivity, as well as security software.
Here’s how the integration with Topaz works. Instead of printing out a form to get a real signature, the FormSprint document is released and sent to the Topaz clipboard, where it can be presented for someone to sign it. After being signed, or “marked up,” the signature file (along with any other markings) is sent back to the OS/400 server, where it is combined with the original document. The user can then distribute the document–with signature–via paper, fax, or e-mail. ICS says this new feature will be particularly useful in warehouse and point-of-sale applications.
Besides signature capturing, there are a number of other new features in the new version of FormSprint, including intelligent document routing. This features gives users the ability to process spool files resulting in any combination of hard copy, PDF, TIF, auto e-mailed, or faxed output. FormSprint now also supports the creation of PDF or TIF documents with custom names, such as one that includes a client number or an invoice number, a feature that ICS says will be very handy in regenerating misplaced invoices.
The latest version of FormSprint also gives the user full access to all of a printer’s features, such as the capability to pull paper from specific draws, in a specific order, and then to collate the sheets into the printer’s mailboxes. Full support for Printer Job Language (PJL) will give FormSprint users the ability to use their multifunction printer’s staple and hole-punch capabilities, while support for Zebra‘s ZPLII printer driver opens up FormSprint output to Zebra’s thermal label printers.
Before this release of FormSprint, the only way to take OS/400 spool file output and “chain” file records together for total control was to reprogram them, ICS says. With the new version of FormSprint, the software does all the work of printing multiple form layouts, based on parameters in the spool file, which means the same spool file can be used for multiple purposes without making programming changes. ICS says this new feature will be useful with hospital admitting forms and insurance policies.
Last, but not least, FormSprint now supports the user of input from any PC application, such as Microsoft Word, to develop a form overlay for FormSprint.
FormSprint supports OS/400 V3R2 and later. Licenses for the software, which includes all forms design and output components, cost $8,500 per logical partition. Maintenance is $1,000 per customer, per year. Fore more information, go to www.formsprint.com.