Electronic signatures bridge the gap of time and geography, making once tedious tasks timely and seamless. From banking, to insurance, to the legal sector, nearly every industry employs elements of electronic signatures to streamline business processes and run more efficiently.
eSignatures host a variety of conveniences for consumers and vendors alike. It may seem like these conveniences have been around for decades… Can you remember a time UPS didn’t deliver your “signature-required package” to your door? How about the days prior to online shopping and payment? Perhaps you can… but it’s certainly been a while. Our point: Amazon purchases, package deliveries, mobile pharmacies, expedited in-person signing, all would be impossible without eSignature innovation.
These innovative ways of doing business are great for attracting modern consumers, but they also require rapid transformation in business processes… often leaving administrators and stakeholders wondering if they are compliant with regulation impacting their industry.
This concern begs the question: How do we ensure eSignature stays innovative in design, and compliant in execution, while remaining attractive to various industries? Meet ESRA…
ESRA: the eSignature Gatekeepers
The Electronic Signature and Records Association (ESRA) is a not-for-profit trade association focused on advancing electronic signature through collaboration of providers and users. Since ESRA’s inception in 2006, these eSign gatekeepers have made it their mission to:
- Pair digital innovation with compliance and sustainability
- Promote and streamline adoption in national markets
- Generate awareness and understanding among consumers
The ESRA board of directors is comprised of nine industry leaders—including our President and CEO, Dave Brinkman, four officers, and three legal counsel members. The board holds bi-annual meetings—the first in the summer and second in the winter—to discuss ways of advancing their mission in innovation, adoption, and consumer awareness.
ESRA often announces their highly anticipated developments at its annual fall conference, the premiere event on electronic signatures and digital records.
Last week, ESRA held its summer meet, where eSignature innovation and developments were discussed among board members! Dave filled us in on some of the more exciting developments coming down the eSign pipeline…
What are they?
Currently, standards for eSignature solutions and integrations are independently set by a provider. While vendors must remain legally compliant, no universal industry guidelines exist to streamline eSignature solutions among independent providers. ESRA is working to create a set of industry-wide standards to aid business comparison and satisfaction as well as solution consistency among providers. A working committee is currently drafting the first round of proposed standards. The committee is expected to submit its first draft for approval by the ESRA policy review board around the same time as the association’s annual fall conference, eSignRecords2017 in November.
What this means for you:
A set of universal standards applicable to all eSignature vendors and their consumers would set recommended guidelines for product functioning and security. The plan is to make these standards publicly accessible to serve as your guide to selecting or working with an eSign vendor. Providers would not necessarily be required to follow the standards; however, they set the industry bar and provide you with checkpoints in security, reliability, and functionality—making choosing an eSign vendor that much simpler.
What is it?
Blockchain is the infrastructure that allows functionality of the growingly popular Bitcoin cryptocurrency and digital payment system. Bitcoin, as with any monetary service, requires meticulous transactional records be created and stored. Blockchain securely creates and stores this transactional data similar to that of other record storing technologies. Blockchain is way more than just a platform for digital currencies. It provides an immutable, distributed ledger that can be used to track any asset. There are so many proofs-of-concept to early production blockchain projects, the ESRA community asked how does this effect ESIGN and UETA.
In leading the Blockchain policy group, Dave led an ESRA working group to craft and submit the final draft of the Blockchain policy statement to the ESRA policy review board for final approval. This policy statement will provide clarity as Blockchain continues to make an global impact.
Consumers can expect to see these updates rollout over the next few months. In the meantime, ESRA will look to generate excitement centered on its eSignRecords2017 conference in San Francisco on November 14-15. Expect to see more updates on these and other hot eSign topics after the next bi-annual ESRA meeting this winter!
President & CEO