As the government drives digitisation of citizen services, e-signatures can help remove the friction inherent in transactions that involve people, documents, and data. “E-signatures have an immense potential to contribute to India’s digitisation story. They can augment the government’s national digital transformation drive in a significant manner,” Abhigyan Modi, vice-president, engineering, Adobe Document Cloud, tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:
What is the contribution of Adobe’s R&D set-up in India towards the company’s global innovation charter?
India is a strategic market for Adobe – both from a business as well as innovation standpoint. With one-third of our global engineering headcount based out of India, our labs spread across Noida and Bengaluru, which comprise best industry talent drive a substantial portion of our core R&D efforts. A large part of our company’s innovation efforts for the Document Cloud business is led by our engineering team in India.
Adobe created PDF, but over the years, the digital documents market landscape has drastically evolved. How has Adobe adapted to these changes in its Document Cloud product innovations?
Some of our major product advancements that helped us deliver on our customer needs included – achieving the ISO standard for PDF, a complete document workflow and signature solution, enabling customers to reuse content in a PDF file, and the recent launch of the Adobe Scan app. One of the biggest driving factors of our innovation agenda for Adobe Document Cloud has been mobile. Years before the mobile revolution, Adobe preempted how the penetration of mobile devices and services would transform the market, and made early R&D investments in this area. While markets like North America and Europe were the first to reflect the shift to mobile, what is happening in digital transformation world over, is increasingly being defined in economies like India.
Where does India stand on the potential of digital documents and e-signatures?
The government is showing a strong focus on bringing its ‘Digital India’ vision alive, by driving widespread digitisation of citizen services. Businesses, that have been built on documents, are increasingly relying on technology to transform disjointed document processes into smart, all-digital experiences. E-signatures, specifically, remove the friction inherent in transactions that involve people, documents, and data to create faster, more convenient and secure processes, and have an immense potential to contribute to India’s digitisation story. An Adobe-commissioned survey conducted by Forrester Consulting indicates that e-signatures are set to change the way India does business, and augment the government’s national digital transformation drive. This study found that the market for e-signatures in India is growing at a CAGR of 57%, and is expected to cross 90 million transactions by 2020.
The Aadhaar-based authentication built in Adobe Sign is the industry’s first solution to make e-signatures legally binding in India. Aadhaar-based e-signature in Adobe Sign will help organisations eliminate their dependence on wet signatures, and transform workflows by digitally validating the legal identity of users to sign documents. As per the study, 57% of Indian businesses indicate that if they were to adopt a SaaS solution, they would prefer that its hosting location is in India. In response to the market requirements, Adobe’s India data centre will place the computing power closer to end users.
What role does Adobe Sensei play in Adobe’s Document Cloud innovations?
Adobe Sensei—our unified AI and machine learning framework—built into the Adobe Cloud Platforms offers enhanced customer experiences. For instance, Sensei helps create searchable, editable and sharable documents with Acrobat Document Cloud. It uses technology that classifies words, paragraphs, lists, tables, form fields and figures to insert rich semantics into documents that have none. This allows users to capture scans, images of documents or any content and convert it to a PDF that is smart, searchable and easy to share and store. Sensei enables Acrobat DC to learn the structure of a form, to make filling out forms easier and less time-consuming.
Using advanced image processing techniques, Adobe Sign automatically ‘cleans up’ a user’s signature that was scanned or input manually, making it clean, crisp and easy to read, regardless of the original image or scan. In Adobe Fill & Sign, we use advanced image processing technology to identify form fields from a scanned document to make it easy to input personalised information like names and addresses, and to sign the document. We recently developed a PDF-to-VR prototype, that leverages a consumer VR device and 360-degree content, proposing a transformation in how people can interact with content locked away in documents.
How do you see the future of the technology landscape?
We see a set of transformative technologies shaping up the next wave of customer experiences. Machine learning is perhaps one of the most solid shifts in the software industry in the last decade, it will solve a large number of problems that make us more efficient. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are slated to converge digital and physical experiences.