Mobile Signature Capture Applications

Customer Signature

Customer Signature Form

If you’ve ever signed for a package from FedEx or UPS, then you’ve used a mobile signature capture application. While signing for deliveries is one of the more popular uses of mobile signature capture, it is just one of many mobile applications that utilize signature capture.

Mobile Signature Capture Applications

In mobile field service applications, one of the most important drivers for the mobile application is a signature capture. Whether this is to authorize payment, verify the delivery or service, or just identifying the person performing the task. All of these uses of mobile signature capture are used to provide a further level of confirmation that the person signing is authorized, similar to signing a credit card receipt.

Here is a sample of some common mobile signature capture applications:

  • Proof of Delivery (POD)/Route Accounting (RTA)
    The application is built to track the delivery of packages to a customer, or multiple customers on a route.  In this application, the recipient of the delivery signs on the terminal to indicate that they have received a delivery.
  • Mobile Point of Sale (MPOS)
    In MPOS the application provides a mobile version of the store’s checkout register.  The clerk uses a handheld to scan the customer’s items to be purchased and the signature is used to authorize the credit card payment.
  • Service Authorization
    A Field Service technician uses the mobile application to track the services provided for their customers, and the customer signs the terminal to authorize the performance of the service.
  • Inspection Verification
    In Inspection applications the inspector uses the terminal to provide a thorough and structured inspection of the site.  Upon completion, the inspector signs the terminal to verify that they have performed the specified inspection.

Saving the Signature

In principle signature capture is very straightforward, just sign on the line and the application saves the signature.  But as they say, the devil is in the details.  All signature capture solutions start the same way, they capture mouse events as the user draws their signature.  It’s once the signature has been captured the question becomes how to store the signature.  The typical choices are to save the signature as an image file or as a meta representation of the signature.  As usual there are advantages to each.

In the case where the signature is stored as an image file (.gif, .jpeg, or .png), the advantage is the ease of drawing the signature.  Just display the image file.  However what you gain in ease of use, you lose in efficiency and flexibility.  The size of a typical image signature is a minimum of 1KB and increases as the size of the image increases.  Individually this is not a large file, but as the number of signatures grows, the data space can become significant.  Also, scaling of the image can be a challenge.

The other method to store the signature is to save a condensed representation of the data that can be easily reconstructed.  In this case, the signature is saved as a series of strokes that is then stored in a compressed format.  This advantage of this method is that the file can easily be generated when signing and typically creates a signature in the 100-200 byte range.   However, in order to display the signature a program must be run to convert the data back to an image format.  In addition, there is not a standard format for storing the signature information so a different format and display program is required by each vendor.

StepOne Mobile Applications

StepOne Systems provides a wide selection of mobile signature capture applications.  If you are interested in mobile signature solution contact us.