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SOFTPRO wins Microsoft Tablet PC Challenge

[MUNICH / BOEBLINGEN] - 2004-02-25: During a press conference, Microsoft has announced the winners of their German "Tablet PC Challenge". The first price was awarded to Softpro in Boeblingen, Germany, for their two solutions for signature capturing and verification. SignDoc securely embeds a handwritten signature captured on a Tablet PC into a document according to various e-sign laws. Additionally, owners of a Tablet PC may use SignSecure for log on to PC or network with the handwritten signature. For this purpose a signature vector is securely stored. It is an encrypted data set, consisting of static and dynamic characteristics of the handwritten signature.

Softpro's SignDoc secures the authenticity and integrity of documents in the formats Microsoft Word, Microsoft InfoPath and PDF. Parameters of a signature image and biometric signals of the writing process are stored encrypted immediately after signing. At the same time, the document receives a unique integrity value (hash code). If the document is altered at a later stage the integrity value is void and signatures are no longer displayed in the document. In combination with selected Tablet PCs and a specific set of quality criteria SignDoc ensures non-repudiation for such electronically signed documents.

SignSecure offers a convenient biometric alternative to passwords and PINs for log on to PC or network. The Gartner Group reported that forgotten passwords create costs for system administration of approximately 200 US-Dollar per user every year. The signature is never forgotten and cannot be spied-out or re-used like PINs or passwords.

Signatures are outstanding Biometrics

There are good reasons why a signature is the most popular feature for authentication: It is an active biometric characteristic that is never given accidentally and that proves the intent of the signer. A signature is characterized by personal physiological and biomechanical capabilities and individual learning processes. That is what significantly differentiates a signature from passive biometrics - body characteristics such as finger, hand, face or iris. Every signature is unique. Softpro's verification processes automatically take into account the natural variations in the characteristics of a signer.

Penabled Technology offers high class capturing

The capturing technology of Tablet PCs is heavily influenced by both Wacom and Microsoft. Most devices conform to the so-called "Penabled" standard, for example the Tablet PCs of Softpro's partner Fujitsu Siemens Computers. Microsoft and Fujitsu Siemens Computers are recommending Softpro's products for the capturing and verification of handwritten signatures on Tablet PCs. Both companies see it as a very useful addition to the handwriting recognition which is an integral part of the operating system Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.

Numerous fields for Tablet PC signature applications

The fields for Tablet PC signature applications are numerous: Mobile workers of financial institutions and insurance companies may let their customers sign documents on Tablet PCs. Handwritten signatures also provide integrity and proof of authenticity for documents in the e-Health sector such as patient files. That is why Tablet PCs are used in the emergency ward and during a doctor's round in Ingolstadt Hospital in Germany. The automotive industry is using signatures on Tablet PCs for quality assurance and legal documentation of production processes, e.g. at Mercedes AMG.

Very popular competition

A top class jury of nine experts selected the best and most innovative business solutions for the Tablet PC. The winners received attractive prices worth a total of more than Euro 100,000. Persons, teams and companies that develop and commercially market software solutions had the chance to apply online for this competition until late January 2004. The participants presented their solutions to the jury in mid-February. The first three winners for the best solution as well as the winner of the special price for the most innovative solution received the option to display their software for free at their own demo point in the Microsoft Windows Experience World at the world's largest IT fair CeBIT (March 18th to 24th in Hannover, Germany, hall 1, booth 7i2) - additionally to their cash prices.

"More than 70 qualified entries for this competition prove that the Tablet PC platform is highly attractive for developers", states Bastian Braun, Product Manager Windows Operating Systems of Microsoft Germany. "We want to enhance the support for our development partners, so that they offer more Tablet PC solutions to the market." Participants could enter applications that were developed completely from scratch or adapted for the Tablet PC.

Winning Solutions live at CeBIT

Softpro demonstrates SignDoc and SignSecure at the CeBIT fair in the Microsoft "Windows Experience World" in hall 1, booth 7i2. The full solution portfolio of the signature specialist may be discovered at the booth of SOFTPRO's partner Kleindienst (hall 1, 4k4). Furthermore, SignDoc and SignSecure will be displayed at the booths of IBM (hall 1, 4g2), Windream (hall 1, 8i1) and Electrade (hall 17, E10/1) on writing tablets of either Wacom or Interlink.

Position 2 and 3 for oPen and Design Universe

The jury ranked the software oPenCAS-XPT on position two, a solution that mobile field staff can use at the customer and which forms a subsystem of a central sales and CRM software. For every industry, required data can be captured and the sales process controlled. Design Universe developed E-Pen&Form and was ranked on position 3. With their software, all handwritten notes may be systematically filed on the Tablet PC.

Special Awards for Most Innovative Solutions

After intensive consideration and a long discussion the jury decided to split the special award and nominated two winners: Innovation Christian Abeln Technik & Software and xThink Deutschland GmbH. This special award had the focus on a scientifically valuable approach which is clearly visible in both entries: Christian Abeln developed a program that helps pupils of primary schools gain a better feeling for handwriting. The handwriting is analyzed, the written text is replayed in naturally spoken language and the children receive hints for own corrections. The xThinkCalculator solves tasks of a scientific pocket calculator numerically in a new way, using two-dimensional input options and with considerably higher complexity. Formulas and relevant sketches can be put-in with the pen and may be embedded in other programs where required.

The other award winners

Ranks four to nine were awarded to ATS Computersysteme, baarsch & jaeschke, Brudi & Partner-TreeConsult, cibait, Mindjet and Ziemann.IT Loesungen. According to the jury's opinion they managed to provide the user with a productive and easy-to-use working environment through creative usage of Tablet PC features such as handwriting recognition, navigation with gestures or rotating display support.

Conditions of Entry

The Tablet PC Challenge was open to participants which develop and market their solutions on a commercial basis. The participants had to declare to be in possession of all intellectual property rights of their solutions, enabling them not only to participate in the competition but also to market the solution afterwards. Private persons and persons with a close relationship to the Microsoft Corporation were excluded from the competition. The deadline for providing a working German beta version of the software was January 31st, 2004. Afterwards, a jury consisting of nine people was judging the entries.

Criteria and Jury

The most important criterion for the entries was the support of Tablet PC specific features. Applications had to be pen-enabled and ideally use handwriting recognition, gestures and display rotation. Tablet PC specialists from research and technology as well as from Microsoft decided which solution deserved to be announced as best new application for the Tablet PC platform.

Members of the Jury

- Dr. Dr. Norbert Streitz, Head of the research division "AMBI-ENTE - Workspaces of the Future" of the Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute (IPSI) of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft - Franz Neumeier, Chief Editor, PC Professionell - André Tegtmeier, Product Manager Mobile Computing, Acer - Christian Dettmers, Head Business Development Business Clients, Fujitsu Siemens - Peter Kamiya, Business Manager, Hewlett Packard - Ulrich Jäger, Manager Product Marketing, Toshiba - Bastian Braun, Product Manager Windows Operating Systems, Microsoft Germany - Matthias Göttle, Senior Subsidiary Program Manager Windows, Microsoft Corp.

Initially the jury judged the benefit of the solution for a company and/or a user as well as the implementation of specific Tablet PC features. Important aspects also were product features such as installation, documentation, robustness and the quality in which business processes were implemented. Ergonomics, software architecture and integration of the software in a Tablet PC system were further criteria for judgment. The special award for the "Most Innovative Solution" was based on the originality of the application as well as the technical or ergonomic implementation and a scientifically valuable approach. It was endowed with 20.000 Euro.



SOFTPRO is based in Boeblingen, Germany and has local subsidiaries for the North American and Asian-Pacific market in Newark (Delaware) and Singapore. The group currently employs an international staff of over 60. SOFTPRO is the leading vendor of systems for the verification of handwritten signatures, worldwide. The company's portfolio contains solutions for authentication processes and documents. Therefore static and dynamic (biometric) characteristics of signatures are extracted and evaluated. More than 200 international companies are using modules of the SOFTPRO SignPlus® system successfully such as American Express, ABN Amro, Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Bank, Discover Financial, HypoVereinsbank, Lloyds TSB, Mercedes-AMG and SEB. Since 2002, the offer to secure electronic documents with handwritten signatures extended the customer portfolio of SOFTPRO to other industries such as automotive, insurance, chemical, pharmaceutical, construction, health, life sciences and logistics. The two major investors in SOFTPRO are GECapital (since 1998) and AdCapital (since 2001). SOFTPRO partners include: A2iA, BancTec, Carreker, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, IBM, Interlink, Kleindienst, Microsoft, NCR, UNISYS and Wacom as well as APP Informatik Davos.



Additional information about company, market and products is available from .

For individual information please contact:

SOFTPRO - Software Professional GmbH & Co. KG Joerg-M. Lenz Public Relations Manager mailto:[email protected]  Wilhelmstrasse 34 71034 Boeblingen Germany Phone: + 49 (0) 7031 66 06 - 55 Fax: + 49 (0) 7031 66 06 - 66

SOFTPRO NORTH AMERICA Inc. Jeff Bottari President of SOFTPRO NA mailto:[email protected]  111 Continental Drive, Suite # 204 Newark, DE 19173 USA Phone: + 1 302 738 7587 Fax: + 1 302 738 7657

SOFTPRO ASIA PACIFIC Kwang Teng Tan Managing Director mailto:[email protected]  25 International Business Park #02-12 A Singapore 609916 Singapore Phone: + 65 6 562 9054 Fax: + 65 6 562 9055




Information about Tablet PCs in General  Press Release about Tablet PC Challenge (in German)  Recommendation of Softpro product SignDoc as Tablet PC software (yet on German Microsoft page, inclusion in international pages is to follow soon) 


Product description SignDoc  Product description SignSecure Product description SignWare

Fujitsu Siemens Computers

Product description of Fujitsu Siemens Computers Tablet PCs (Stylistic and Lifebook T)  Software Solutions Catalogue: Find Softpro's SignDoc®: key in "SignDoc" in the name field 


Description of various capturing devices  Recommendation of SignDoc for Wacom tablets 

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