Delta State tackles land ownership with SA tech

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Published by IT-Online on 29 June 2016

 

Nigeria’s oil and agricultural producing state Delta State makes a major breakthrough in land title acquisition using new digital signature technology.

New, locally-developed, digital signature technology sits behind a major breakthrough for Nigeria’s Delta State government, which kicks off its “Fast Track 90” scheme – a new digital system for the acquisition of legal titles for landed property.

Historically an onerous process fraught with bottlenecks, bureaucracy and prone to fraud, the issuance of Certificate-of-Occupancy (C-of-O) to property owners in Delta State will, going forward, be fast tracked to 90 days and fraud-proofed – thanks to a system written by pbDigital, a division of South African customer communications firm PBSA.

Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, unveiled the Fast Track 90 scheme at the end of March, saying one of the biggest hindrances to investors was the high cost and delays associated with acquiring the legal titles to landed property in Delta State, Nigeria’s oil and agricultural producing state.

“Fast Track 90, an innovative policy of this administration designed to enhance ease of business in the state, has been initiated to overcome the bottlenecks that have become a recurring decimal in obtaining C-of-Os, it will take a maximum of ninety days for land owners to obtain their C-of-Os from the Ministry of Lands and Surveys and the new system is fast, transparent and in line with global best practices,” says Okowa.

The solution was positioned as having significant benefits for Delta State, including much faster turnaround times, considerably reduced C-of-O fees, security surety and, ultimately, increased investment in the state

Fast Track 90 relies on a software platform – recently developed specifically for the project – which connects to PBSA’s High Security Module Cloud Server infrastructure in South Africa. The solution is a hybrid, digital certificate issuing and verification solution for certificates that also need to be printed on paper.

Leon van der Merwe, head of pbDigital, explains: “Smatforms, a channel partner of PBSA in Nigeria, approached PBSA for a solution to digitise the paper-based issuing process for Delta State C-of-O documents. The solution-platform is built on pbDigital’s cloud technology that uses state-of-the-art cryptography to embed digital signatures in PDF documents.  The system is an end-to-end solution for issuing these documents.”

The software system features four main fully integrated platforms:

* Certificate Creator – a platform to import the variable data of the citizen that appears on the certificate.

* PDF and QR Code Creator – a platform that produces the digital certificates, each with its own unique QR code for printing.

* Digital Signature Workflow – a platform that allows the certificates to go through a digital approval and sign-off process.

* Certificate Manager – a platform that gives management full visibility throughout the certificate creation, sign-off and post certificate management processes.

Certificate verification

The printed certificate that is issued to the citizen contains an embedded QR code, explains Van der Merwe. “When the QR code is scanned with any generic, free QR code scanner using an online smart device, the original electronic document is opened from a secure cloud location. The electronic version of the document and the printed paper copy presented by the citizen can be compared and must have exactly the same content.

“The authenticity of the electronic document can also be verified by using a free version of Adobe PDF Reader to verify the signatures.

“The digital signatures on the document that were applied by the official authorities when the document was produced, carry X.509 personal cryptographic properties. During the verification process, these signature properties will have the verified personal information and Adobe AATL (Adobe Approved Trust List) certificate information embedded in each digital signature.”

Although developed for Delta State’s new C-of-O scheme, pbDigital’s digital certificate software can be used in any process involving the issuance of printed documents in need of future verification. “The software speeds up business processes, digitises workflow – creating a full audit trail – and completely eradicates fraud,” Van der Merwe adds.

SA tech underpins Delta State’s ‘Fast Track 90’ system

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Published by ITWeb Africa on 29 June 2016

 

Nigeria’s Delta State has launched the ‘Fast Track 90’ digital system designed for the acquisition of legal titles for landed property.

Historically an onerous process fraught with bottlenecks, bureaucracy and prone to fraud, the issuance of Certificate-of-Occupancy (C-of-O) to property owners in Delta State will, going forward, be fast tracked to 90 days and fraud-proofed, claims pbDigital, a division of South African customer communications firm PBSA, and the company that developed the technology behind the digital system.

Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, unveiled the Fast Track 90 scheme at the end of March, saying one of the biggest hindrances to investors was the high cost and delays associated with acquiring the legal titles to landed property.

“Fast Track 90, an innovative policy of this administration designed to enhance ease of business in the state, has been initiated to overcome the bottlenecks that have become a recurring decimal in obtaining C-of-Os, it will take a maximum of ninety days for land owners to obtain their C-of-Os from the Ministry of Lands and Surveys and the new system is fast, transparent and in line with global best practices,” said Okowa.

Fast Track 90 relies on a software platform – recently developed specifically for the project – which connects to PBSA’s High Security Module Cloud Server infrastructure in South Africa. The solution is a hybrid, digital certificate issuing and verification solution for certificates that also need to be printed on paper.

Leon van der Merwe, head of pbDigital, explains: “Smatforms, a channel partner of PBSA in Nigeria, approached PBSA for a solution to digitise the paper-based issuing process for Delta State C-of-O documents. The solution-platform is built on pbDigital’s cloud technology that uses state-of-the-art cryptography to embed digital signatures in PDF documents. The system is an end-to-end solution for issuing these documents.”

Certificate verification

The printed certificate that is issued to the citizen contains an embedded QR code, explains Van der Merwe. “When the QR code is scanned with any generic, free QR code scanner using an online smart device, the original electronic document is opened from a secure cloud location. The electronic version of the document and the printed paper copy presented by the citizen can be compared and must have exactly the same content.

“The authenticity of the electronic document can also be verified by using a free version of Adobe PDF Reader to verify the signatures.

“The digital signatures on the document that were applied by the official authorities when the document was produced, carry X.509 personal cryptographic properties. During the verification process, these signature properties will have the verified personal information and Adobe AATL (Adobe Approved Trust List) certificate information embedded in each digital signature.”

Nigeria: Delta State tackles land ownership bane with SA tech

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Published by IT News Africa on 28 June 2016

 

New, South African developed digital signature technology sits behind a major breakthrough for Nigeria’s Delta State government, which kicks off its “Fast Track 90” scheme – a new digital system for the acquisition of legal titles for landed property.

Historically an onerous process fraught with bottlenecks, bureaucracy and prone to fraud, the issuance of Certificate-of-Occupancy (C-of-O) to property owners in Delta State will, going forward, be fast tracked to 90 days and fraud-proofed – thanks to a system written by pbDigital, a division of South African customer communications firm PBSA.

Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, unveiled the Fast Track 90 scheme at the end of March, saying one of the biggest hindrances to investors was the high cost and delays associated with acquiring the legal titles to landed property in Delta State, Nigeria’s oil and agricultural producing state.

“Fast Track 90, an innovative policy of this administration designed to enhance ease of business in the state, has been initiated to overcome the bottlenecks that have become a recurring decimal in obtaining C-of-Os, it will take a maximum of ninety days for land owners to obtain their C-of-Os from the Ministry of Lands and Surveys and the new system is fast, transparent and in line with global best practices,” said Okowa.

The solution was positioned as having significant benefits for Delta State, including much faster turnaround times, considerably reduced C-of-O fees, security surety and, ultimately, increased investment in the state.

The tech behind Fast Track 90
Fast Track 90 relies on a software platform – recently developed specifically for the project – which connects to PBSA’s High Security Module Cloud Server infrastructure in South Africa. The solution is a hybrid, digital certificate issuing and verification solution for certificates that also need to be printed on paper.

Leon van der Merwe, head of pbDigital, explains: “Smatforms, a channel partner of PBSA in Nigeria, approached PBSA for a solution to digitise the paper-based issuing process for Delta State C-of-O documents. The solution-platform is built on pbDigital’s cloud technology that uses state-of-the-art cryptography to embed digital signatures in PDF documents.  The system is an end-to-end solution for issuing these documents.”

The software system features four main fully integrated platforms:

  1. Certificate Creator – a platform to import the variable data of the citizen that appears on the certificate.
  2. PDF and QR Code Creator – a platform that produces the digital certificates, each with its own unique QR code for printing.
  3. Digital Signature Workflow – a platform that allows the certificates to go through a digital approval and sign-off process.
  4. Certificate Manager – a platform that gives management full visibility throughout the certificate creation, sign-off and post certificate management processes.

Certificate verification
The printed certificate that is issued to the citizen contains an embedded QR code, explains Van der Merwe. “When the QR code is scanned with any generic, free QR code scanner using an online smart device, the original electronic document is opened from a secure cloud location. The electronic version of the document and the printed paper copy presented by the citizen can be compared and must have exactly the same content.

“The authenticity of the electronic document can also be verified by using a free version of Adobe PDF Reader to verify the signatures.

“The digital signatures on the document that were applied by the official authorities when the document was produced, carry X.509 personal cryptographic properties. During the verification process, these signature properties will have the verified personal information and Adobe AATL (Adobe Approved Trust List) certificate information embedded in each digital signature.”

Although developed for Delta State’s new C-of-O scheme, pbDigital’s digital certificate software can be used in any process involving the issuance of printed documents in need of future verification. “The software speeds up business processes, digitises workflow – creating a full audit trail – and completely eradicates fraud,” concludes Van der Merwe.

PBSA unveils new digital signature technology

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itologoPosted by IT Online on 17 February 2016

Up to 80% paper resources reduction, an 80% decrease in power consumption, up to 90% time savings and a largely reduced usage of petroleum and diesel are all reasons PBSA (formerly Pitney Bowes SA) has launched digital signing and electronic workflow solution SignFlow.

This is according to PBSA business development manager and SignFlow co-founder Leon van der Merwe, who notes the software product – “a first in South Africa” – has now officially launched, following its BETA release in October.

This comes three years after PBSA introduced digital signatures into South Africa with its CoSign digital signature solutions. Van der Merwe says the advantage of the solution was immediately evident. “We saw the potential to drastically cut down on costs associated with printing.” He adds that about 80% of businesses’ printing is as a direct result of the need to archive and wet-ink sign documents.

But while the CoSign solution solved the problem of businesses having to print, sign, scan and email documents for signing, it did not solve the problem of documents having to be signed by multiple parties, notes Van der Merwe.

He says this is where SignFlow plugs the gap. “SignFlow was designed, using the latest X.509 cryptographic digital signature technology, to workflow documents to multiple parties that all need to sign or action a document.

“[This means] the document originator/owner can, by using SignFlow, automatically and sequentially distribute any document to multiple parties to legally sign a document through an intelligent workflow system or from any popular document management platform like Microsoft SharePoint Online or Office 365.

“By signing documents electronically with SignFlow, the electronic version of the document becomes the original,” explains Van der Merwe. “This has a huge impact on archiving of documents as it is not required at any stage to print these documents for long term archiving.

Extensive application

“The amount of money and time that businesses spend on getting documents approved and signed is staggering. Signflow bridges this gap by offering a secure digital signature workflow solution so powerful, it eliminates all the inefficient, costly processes relying on print, scan, fax, email and courier completely.”

PBSA’s SignFlow product is designed to benefit any business that signs documents or has others sign documents, contracts, mandates, agreements, etc, with the main verticals to have benefitted thus far being the financial, auditing, engineering, legal and government sectors.

While the solution has seen interest and “extremely positive” feedback primarily from the corporate world, consumers stand to benefit just as much, says Van der Merwe. “Every consumer in South Africa that has ever been asked to sign a document will benefit,” he says, citing the end of brick and mortar banks and the need to print, scan and email or fax documents as obvious advantages. He adds that there is no cost to the consumer to sign documents using SignFlow.

Ultimately, he says, PBSA would like to see every individual consumer, as well as business and government department in South Africa having access to this technology.

All-round impact

Should this goal be realised, Van der Merwe says, the implications would be immense.

According to The Paperless Project – a grassroots coalition of companies focused on transforming the way organisations work with paper and electronic content – the world produces over 300 million tons of paper each year.

“This will eradicate the need for anyone to print documents for signing ever again. [As far as the environment is concerned], this would mean paper usage in a business being cut down by up to 80%, while power consumption [will be reduced] by 80% on the devices (printers, copiers, scanning machines, etc.) that are being used to produce paper documents.”

On a macro scale, he adds, documents would be able to be electronically distributed anywhere in the world, so there would be no need for courier services – which in turn would mean reduced usage of petroleum and diesel.

On the IT infrastructure side, universal adoption of the technology would mean a significant reduction of file replication. “At present, a document in need of four signatures is typically printed and scanned four times, but it is also emailed eight times, which means there are eight different versions of the document. With SignFlow there is always just one instance of the document.

“In addition, not having to print, scan and courier documents would result in an estimated time reduction of up to 90%, noticeably increased business efficiency and an easy means of tracking progress.”

According to a survey by UK-based research company YouGov, the UK’s SMEs waste over £42,2-million per day in revenues just looking for documents.

Local tech

SignFlow comprises two core technologies, both of local origin. The cryptographic public key infrastructure was launched by PBSA in South Africa in 2014 and forms the core X.509 cryptographic infrastructure that allows users to sign digitally in SignFlow.

Secondly, the SignFlow platform itself was 100% developed in South Africa by South African developers in partnership with Jena Solutions using the latest Microsoft .Net technologies.

Speaking about the challenges of launching a new technology, Van der Merwe says – as with any new technology – the market takes time to get to understand the technology. “The technology has an impact on legal, infrastructure, security and business departments within a corporate environment, so all these departments need to be involved in the decision to implement the solution, which is something that takes time.

“We are a pinnacle point in South Africa, where the realisation of the benefits have become the new driving force, rather than just seeking latest tech.”

PBSA unveils digital signature tech

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itweb_logo_smlPosted by ITWeb on 16 February 2016

PBSA, a provider of customer communication solutions, has introduced a digital signing and electronic workflow solution, in an effort to boost paperless offices.

SignFlow is cloud-based software that reduces the need to print documents to obtain signatures, says PBSA (formerly Pitney Bowes SA). It utilises cryptographic technology to apply verifiable, personal digital signatures to documents, it says.

This comes three years after PBSA introduced digital signatures into South Africa with its CoSign digital signature solution.

But while the CoSign solution solved the problem of businesses having to print, scan and e-mail documents for signing, it did not solve the problem of documents having to be signed by multiple parties, says Leon van der Merwe, PBSA business development manager and SignFlow co- founder.

He says this is where SignFlow plugs the gap. It was designed for workflow documents that need multiple parties to sign or action a document.

According to Van der Merwe, the software product has now officially launched, following its beta release in October.

He says the solution is focused towards a paperless SA and solves one last important and complicated part of digitisation of documents – the signature.

He says the drive to go paperless in most businesses is hampered by the need to obtain a signature on the document.

“This, up to now, had far-reaching consequences as it is not so much just the cost of the paper, but rather the far-reaching costs and environmental impact of processing the paper.”

Van der Merwe points out the amount of money and time businesses spend on getting documents approved and signed is staggering.

“Signflow bridges this gap by offering a secure digital signature workflow solution. It eliminates all the inefficient, costly processes relying on print, scan, fax, e-mail and courier completely.”

According to The Paperless Project – a grassroots coalition of companies focused on transforming the way organisations work with paper and electronic content – the world produces over 300 million tons of paper each year.

BMI-TechKnowledge says printing on paper is costing the taxpayer around R2.3 billion per annum, says Van der Merwe.

This is largely due to paper-based processes or digital processes that still break out into paper at some point, he adds.

He believes SignFlow, together with a good culture to drive paperless initiatives in organisations, can reduce this cost with as much as 80%.

SA definitely seems to be taking longer to adapt to a truly paperless environment, says Van der Merwe. “Our culture to want to touch what we read is definitely still very much a part of doing everyday business – this needs to change.”

Van der Merwe points out turning a paper-based process into a digital one requires commitment and buy-in from all stakeholders.

“It’s truly only a change in culture that is the hardest challenge. We are so used to handling paper, it has become ingrained in our ways and we don’t think about the consequences of using it.”

PBSA serves medical sector with new IDEAL air purifiers

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Removing impurities from the indoor air we breathe is perhaps nowhere more important than in the medical industry, where optimal health is the ultimate aim.

Air pollution (both indoor and outdoor) has been tagged by the World Health Organisation as the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Hospital environments in particular are very complex environments, which require special attention to indoor air quality, for the sake of patients and healthcare workers alike.

Recognising this, PBSA (formerly Pitney Bowes SA) has introduced two new IDEAL air purifiers designed specifically for the medical sector – the AP40 and AP100.

Both devices are professional air cleaners with individually replaceable high-quality filter elements, which filter a range of pollutants – including fine dust, pollen, allergens, pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and mould spores, cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, chemical vapours and even odours – from the air.

With invaluable features like low energy consumption and quiet operation, the AP40 and AP100 are the ideal indoor solution. Both feature a PlasmaWave system, making them the superior choice for spaces where there is a high risk of airborne infections and occupational diseases.

PlasmaWave produces positive and negative ions in an optimal ratio that form hydroxyls, together with hydrogen from the humid air. These hydroxyls neutralise and destroy viruses like influenza, and eliminate bacteria, chemical compounds, poisons and odours at molecular level. Basically, PlasmaWave cleans indoor air in the same way nature cleans outdoor air.

AP40IDEAL AP40

The IDEAL AP40 is made for rooms up to 40m² and features a HEPA filter system with an antibacterial coating and anti-odour filter.

The antimicrobial CleanCel equipment of the device and the antimicrobial coating “MedShield” of the HEPA filter inhibit the growth of microbes and remove pathogens.

It features a high-quality touch display for intuitive control and provides auto, manual, sleep and turbo function modes. In Auto mode, the device continually monitors the air quality with intelligent sensor technology and automatically controls the power. In addition to the automatic adjustment, the fan speed can be manually adjusted at five levels – sleep, low, middle, high and turbo.

A timer can optionally be pre-set to a runtime of either one, four or eight hours and the device features a child-proof key. Convenient function indicators indicate the operational state at any given time, while the filter change display informs users as to when a filter change is pending. Filters need to be changed on average every 12 months.


AP100IDEAL AP100

The AP40’s “big brother”, the IDEAL AP100, is made for rooms up to 100m². In addition to a high-performance filter system and LCD touch screen, this device also features a WLAN (wireless local area network) connection and the corresponding app.

The AP100 has a 7-level cleaning system, featuring the following:

  • Level 1 – Fine pre-filter that filters particles such as dust, hairs, pollen and lint.
  • Level 2 – CleanCel equipment inhibits the growth of microbes.
  • Level 3 – PM2.5 filter filters ultra-fine air pollutants of a size of 2.5 μm.
  • Level 4 – Antimicrobial coating “MedShield” – removes 99.9% of pathogen viruses, bacteria, and mould spores from the air.
  • Level 5 – A high-performance activatedcarbon filter removes various odours and harmful gases.
  • Level 6 – The optionally selectable PlasmaWave system actively supports the removal of bacteria, viruses, mould spores and ultrafine particles from the indoor air.
  • Level 7 – The true HEPA Filter filters 99.97% of the ultra-fine particles of 0.3μm such as fine dust, dental dusts, and sooty particles.

For hygienically pure air and peace of mind, PBSA’s IDEAL AP Med Edition devices are the way to go.

PBSA named Welltec Dealer of the Year

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Welltec trophy2PBSA (formerly Pitney Bowes) has been named Gold Dealer of the Year 2015 by international pressure sealer company, Welltec System.

The recent accolade, awarded to the distributor who sells the most products internationally within a given time frame, becomes the sixth that Welltec – one of the biggest manufacturers of pressure sealers in the world – has awarded PBSA over the past seven years.

Wikus Conradie, sales and business development manager at pbOffice, a division of PBSA, says the latest award serves as a reminder of how well the company has done with Welltec’s product. “These accolades are awarded annually to the top international distributors of the Welltec pressure seal range. Winning these awards represents a decade of trust between PBSA and Welltec.”

Welltec System is the world’s number one desktop pressure sealer company, holding over 75% of the European and Asian market since its inception in 1999. The firm exports products to over 30 countries across the globe.

Welltec president Jong-Koo Lee notes that lifestyles are rapidly changing, thanks to the progression of IT. “Technology and the application of existing automation equipment need to be changed and there are more business opportunities being created accordingly.”

While the mailing market is gradually decreasing, says Lee, Welltec has focused on the mailing automation market for over 15 years and has invested heavily in mail requisition. The firm has, over the past few years, also expanded business to the parcel automation sector, which has undergone significant transformation recently, thanks to the vast growth of e-commerce.