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Revolutionary technology makes contract handling more efficient, secure and cost-effective

Companies are hesitant to switch to digital contracts mainly for security and usability reasons, preferring traditional processes in signing contracts and other documents. An EU initiative has introduced solutions that optimise the entire contracting procedure while providing an extra layer of security.

Digital Economy
Society

Manual contracting and document management can be slow and costly, and adversely affect a company’s bottom line, regardless of size. The EU-funded Signa2.0 project has created an efficient document management platform to streamline the entire process, from creation, automation and signature to registration, analysis and execution. “By integrating machine learning, e-signature, optical character recognition and blockchain, our innovation has become much more than a signature provider,” says coordinator Conrado Lamas. “It operates as a 360º digital contract solution.” Integration of these technological advances has enabled Signa2.0 to develop new and more sophisticated products.

Greater scope and flexibility in creating and managing documents

The technological development method has enabled the Signa2.0 team to incorporate new functionalities in optimising the user experience. “Our service will be easier to use, more practical and accessible,” continues Lamas. Users will benefit from a product that increasingly reduces administrative obstacles in the signing of contracts. The main advantages for companies are cost and time savings. “In this way, work activities with little business value will be reduced so that organisations can devote more time to other profitable tasks with greater added value.” Security is the most important feature. The Signa2.0 solution uses a unique, proprietary, multi-authentication process that includes biometric data. It encrypts and sends materials by using a secure channel and logging every action. Users can sign with a finger, mouse or stylus, and send the signed material via regular email without the need to install any special hardware or software. Project partners have created a smart contract, a digital agreement that is enforced by a specific set of rules. If parties agree to the rules, the agreement is automatically enforced. It removes the need for intermediaries, greatly reducing operational costs and maximising business productivity. In addition, electronic services are auditable. An audit trail collects electronic evidence generated during the signature process or certification.

Building product trust

All information is encrypted and e-signatures are embedded into documents during every transaction. Legally binding e-signatures are provided in compliance with most e-signature laws in the EU and beyond. Signa2.0 has become a certified eIDAS Qualified Trust Service Provider and listed in the EU Trusted List. Under the eIDAS Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market, Member States are obligated to establish, maintain and publish trusted lists of qualified trust service providers and the qualified trust services provided by them. Clients are assured that the information the solution handles, such as data and documents, is handled in a secure manner. The project has also obtained the ISO 27001 certification, guaranteeing that its information security management system complies with international security standards. “Signa2.0 has met a key market need for electronic solutions by automating processes, streamlining closing contracts and maximising return on investment from the digitisation process,” concludes Lamas. Ultimately, the project wants to serve as a reference point for providing trust services across Europe by contributing to the digital transformation that companies are undergoing to remain competitive and breaking down cross-border electronic barriers.

Keywords

Signa2.0, contract, document, security, trust services, e-signatures, document management

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