RVI and Quadrant Debut Remote Signature Capture for iPads
November 15, 2011 Alex Woodie
Real Vision Software (RVI) and Quadrant Software this week are unveiling a new iOS and IBM i-based signature capture solution that dramatically reduces the time it takes to log a signature–such as proof of delivery–into an IBM i application. The offering, which combines RVI software that turns an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch into a signature capture device and Quadrant’s IBM i-based document management software, enables users to send bills electronically within minutes of capturing a signature.
RVI employees looked into signature capture technology at the urging of a couple of customers who use its IBM i-based document imaging software, but RVI did not like what it saw. Monty Chicola, co-founder and president of the Alexandria, Louisiana, company, related his disturbing experience in a briefing with IT Jungle.
“Number one, they weren’t really ready for market. There was always a release to go through before you could get the thing to work,” he says. “The device was expensive and it was bulky, and I felt like it was not really designed to go into a truck and get banged up on.”
But getting the $600 Topaz signature capture device to work with IBM i documents was even tougher. “That thing was so kludgey,” he says. “You had to download the data to the device through a PC, then you had to send the driver to get the device, plug it back in to a PC, then download the signatures back into the system, and then merge it. It was like a 22-step process. We couldn’t even get it right for testing here. It’s just way too complicated, in my opinion.”
That experience gave RVI an idea. What if the company’s new iOS imaging app for iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches, which it debuted earlier this year, could be modified to capture a signature and merge it back into the document? After all, the touch-screen devices are already displaying documents stored on IBM i servers. Why couldn’t they apply and merge signatures, too?
RVI called in Quadrant Software, which specializes in document and forms management for IBM i, and makes a living capturing, reformatting, and rerouting business documents that begin life as raw IBM i spool files. It also modified its RVI Apple App to capture a signature, using either a stylus or a finger.
The resulting solution, called the Mobile Signature Capture System, can be called a breakthrough of sorts, for it’s one of the first signature capture solutions to make use of Apple iOS mobile devices.
The Mobile Signature Capture System has the capability to dramatically increase the speed of the invoicing process, while eliminating complexity. A great example of how the solution can be used is in the transportation field.
Here’s how the solution would work in a trucking scenario. First, a driver is presented with a list of documents that require signatures. To capture a signature, the driver touches the field, and up pops the document to be signed, which is presented to the customer. To capture a signature, the driver taps on the signature line, and a signature capture screen pops up. The customer can then write his signature with a plastic stylus or just use his finger.
After validating his signature, the document is closed and uploaded into the system. Now, if the signature capture takes place in a location where there is WiFi or 3G wireless Internet access, the completed document is immediately sent to the driver’s billing department. If things go smoothly, the completed invoice can be emailed to the customer in just a matter of minutes.
“I can have it signed and sent to the office and have the office send it back to the customer for payment faster than the driver can get into the truck and leave the building,” Chicola says. “We’ve put the document in their basket, saying it’s here, bill it now. Done. It truly does it within minutes.”
If there is no Internet connection, the signature is stored, and when the driver gets an Internet connection–or stops at a local McDonalds or Starbucks for a break–all of the completed documents can be uploaded to the office at that time. In either case, the driver is not fussing around with PCs or trying to find a truck stop with a scanner or a fax machine. Instead the driver has a clean and intuitive interface to work in, and signed documents are instantly sent from the field to the office.
“It’s important to keep the customer happy, but it’s real important to keep the driver happy,” Chicola says. “And by showing the driver, ‘Here’s the five drops you made today,’ that driver knows he’s going to get paid for the five drops. That’s a real big deal for the driver. Transportation customers fight over drivers. You don’t want a $100,000 truck sitting there with no driver. They want that driver as happy as they want that customer.”
Long haul truckers have a lot to gain with the new system, since drivers are commonly on the road for a week or more. Two of RVI’s customers in the transportation business are in late testing stages with the Mobile Signature Capture System, and the company has also received interest from organizations in the banking, healthcare, and government fields.
RVI’s flagship document imaging suite is a prerequisite for the Mobile Signature Capture System. Existing customers that are interested in the solution will work with Quadrant to get the connection through Formtastic. Customers that are new to both Quadrant and RVI will probably be looking for other solutions, too, says Bill Dowell, who joined Quadrant as its vice president of channels and strategic relationships earlier this year.
“The Quadrant core value is more than just the signature capture,” Dowell says. “The sig cap brings a lot of nice things to their processes. But the core document creation, routing, archiving, storage–everything that RVI and Quadrant can collectively put together–is a huge value for customers, and we approach it that way for new prospects.”
Mobile Signature Capture System should also work with the new cloud version of RVI that Real Vision’s hosting partner Symmetry is providing through its “i in the Sky” cloud. The RVI Apple Client is a free download. For more information, see the vendors’ websites at www.realvisionsoftware.com and www.quadrantsoftware.com.