Adobe targets mobile-first workers with launch of new app and functionality

Adobe has made a series of announcements including new integrations, the launch of a new document scanning app, and added mobile functionality and features to an existing document process automation tool.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

Adobe Scan app

Image: Supplied

Adobe has announced the launch of a new iOS and Android application for document scanning and automatic text recognition, as well as added features and mobile functionality to its document process automation tool Sign.

Adobe Scan, launched globally on Wednesday, is a free application allowing users to capture and convert almost any image -- such as a shopping receipt, paper document, business card, or whiteboard -- into searchable PDFs.

"The challenge is unlocking the intelligence that lives in those documents, and extracting meaning that can be searched, analysed, and incorporated into digital workflows," said Abhay Parasnis, CTO at Adobe.

Powered by Adobe Sensei, the company's artificial intelligence framework, Scan delivers automatic boundary detection, cropping, perspective correction, and clean-up.

Optical character recognition (OCR) is also built into the app, meaning that printed text is converted into digital text that can be copied and pasted into other applications such as Gmail and Slack, or annotated with Acrobat DC for those who are subscribed to Adobe Document Cloud.

The company admitted OCR in scanning apps is nothing new, but claimed that a lot of other apps require users to subscribe or pay for an upgrade to be able to use the functionality.

All scans are automatically stored in Adobe Document Cloud; however, users can also save the PDFs in other storage applications.

"With billions of mobile devices that are around the world and an explosion of data, this has really reset the bar for the kind of experiences that customers expect in their daily lives and in their work lives," Lisa Croft, group product marketing manager at Adobe Document Cloud, told journalists on Tuesday.

"We see smart businesses making moves to outmanoeuvre the competition for attention, mindshare, and money. And this matters too for documents, because documents drive business -- invoices, quotes that drive sales, hiring and onboarding documents that fuel talent acquisition."

The company has also announced new functionality for Adobe Sign that allows users to sign and send documents from their smartphones or tablets, create custom email templates, and add business stamps to documents such as the Hanko stamp used in Japan.

Users are able to capture handwritten signatures electronically even if their computer is not touch-enabled. Adobe will prompt the user for a mobile number and send a text message to the user's mobile device, which then enables them to sign with their finger or stylus and return to the document on their desktop computer.

From mid-June, Sign will also enable cloud-based digital signatures based on a new open standard backed by the Cloud Signature Consortium. Spearheaded by Adobe in June 2016, the consortium posited that industry-wide open standards are necessary in order to build secure digital signature functionality across cloud applications and mobile devices.

TAFE Queensland, which trains approximately 120,000 students every year through its six regional training arms, said it was able to reduce the time it spent on pre-induction paperwork from about 40 minutes to under 10 minutes using Sign.

Time spent on induction registration paperwork was also cut down from an average of 1 hour to about 30 minutes, and onboarding paperwork now takes 10 minutes to complete compared to the previous two-week average, according to TAFE Queensland.

Jo Adams, manager of recognition and workplace services at TAFE Queensland SkillsTech, said increasing efficiencies has allowed the organisation to be "more competitive with smaller, more agile private learning institutions".

"With the old system, paperwork could get lost and would have to be resent. There was a lot of follow-up required," added Andrew Hocking, manager of workplace services at TAFE Queensland SkillsTech. "It was a lengthy and cumbersome process that often delayed students' government incentives, which are triggered when paperwork is completed. The new, faster digital process helps apprentices and trainees get into the field quicker."

As part of its cloud ecosystem expansion, Adobe Document Cloud also announced new integrations with Microsoft SharePoint Online, ServiceNow, Apttus for Microsoft Dynamics, and Salesforce for email.

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