Glasgow software developers pioneer innovative facial-recognition contract software

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Steven Tallant, Videosign Chief Executive

CUTTING-EDGE software allowing use of video and facial recognition software for remote witnessing of contracts and legal documents is being pioneered by a Glasgow-based team of IT specialists.

Videosign launched in the UK in 2019 following the introduction of new rules allowing for remote signing and witnessing of contracts.

The company established a development lab in Glasgow and has spent the last year working at high speed to keep the product in a constant state of evolution.

Pride in its Scottish foundations runs deep in the business, so much so that the team designed their own red-haired mascot to appear on promotional merchandise.

Two members of the development team learned their trade through CodeClan, the Edinburgh-based digital skills academy established to support Scotland’s digital economy.

Chief Technology Officer Dan Bendon said: “When I joined Videosign I was tasked with building a development team anywhere in the UK.

“The full team only worked together in our Glasgow offices for a month before we shifted to working from home.

“Even if I’d known that the team was going to be working remotely I’d still have chosen to hire in Glasgow.

“I’ve lived here for 15 years and I love it. The people of Glasgow are passionate and hard-working. They’re proud of their city and what it has achieved.”

UK law now allows digital signatures for all contracts except for deeds and wills. Deeds can now be signed online providing they are witnessed. Wills still require a ‘pen and ink’ signature but the law allows for the witnessing to take place electronically. Videosign achieves this by stitching videos of the signatory and witness together to form a single piece of evidence.  

Extra security comes via Videosign’s ability to verify identities using artificial intelligence facial profiling to be a game-changer for a huge number of professions. 

Videosign Chief Executive Steven Tallant said: “We are very excited about this feature as it replaces the very costly and time-consuming process of having people confirm their identities by turning up in person or sending documents through the post.

“Plus carrying out these checks electronically is much less prone to fraud and document loss or damage.

“Using Videosign means businesses can offer a more efficient service to their clients and save time and money while being confident they’re using a system that’s safe, secure and legally compliant.

“In light of the pandemic, this also offers a safer way for people to conduct business.”

Videosign already enjoys popularity among financial advisors thanks to the improved customer experience it offers, but potential exists for the platform to be used in a broad spectrum of industries.

South African financial compliance providers Moonstone have discovered that the platform is invaluable for invigilating online exams alongside its original intended use as a remote contracting and customer engagement system.

Moonstone Head of Business Development Neil Summers said: “Videosign allows Moonstone to conduct South African financial services regulatory examinations with candidates anywhere in the world. Candidate identity can be verified, thus preventing the prospect of identity fraud while use of the platform also limits the scope for cheating. 

“It allows us to manage multiple exams within one software service. It’s great for onboarding candidates in terms of verifying identities and signing documentation – something that’s new in the marketplace. This is over and above our more traditional use of Videosign, namely external contracting and the provision of virtual compliance audits.”

The company believes its potential is only just beginning to be understood, with the shift to remote working likely to remain even after Covid restrictions are lifted.

Videosign Technical Operations Manager Mark McGrath said: “We don’t believe this is a Covid product – we think this is a future product.

“This is to save a company time and money. I was talking to one company who said it was taking three weeks to process documents that had to be printed, posted, signed and returned. With Videosign you can do it in an hour.”

The reduced need for printing and posting brings obvious environmental benefits too.

Mark said: “We’re saving the planet one letter at a time.”

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES AND THE LAW

UK law now allows the digital signature to be used for all contracts except for deeds and wills. 

Deeds can be signed online providing the process is witnessed in person. 

Wills still require a ‘pen and ink’ signature but the law allows for the witnessing to take place electronically. 

Videosign can be used for all electronic signatures, and can provide an extra layer of assurance by recording video evidence and using facial recognition to verify identities of all parties.

HOW VIDEOSIGN WORKS

Videosign is an online meeting platform with the facility to record video and other evidence like IP addresses and timestamps to remotely witness signatures of legal documents.

The software uses a simple three-step process:

VERIFY: Videosign’s innovative system uses artificial intelligence-powered facial recognition software to compare an individual with their passport or driving license photo to confirm their identity.

MEET: Use any web browser to meet via video conferencing.

SIGN: Upload documents for tamper-proof electronic signature, witnessed by everyone in the meeting and backed up with video and metadata evidence.