Cooperation between two digitalization companies

COPA-DATA and sproof, two Salzburg-based digitalization companies, have announced the start of a joint partnership. COPA-DATA will use the sproof sign technology for the simple and sustainable collection of digital signatures in its internal processes. In addition, the software applications of both companies will be combined to create solutions for customers. A joint research project into blockchain-based time stamps in industrial applications is also on the agenda.

COPA-DATA and sproof both develop software-based digital solutions to everyday problems. However, the two companies are very different. The startup sproof is currently taking off as a spin-off from FH Salzburg, the city’s University of Applied Sciences. COPA-DATA is an established global player with more than 30 years of experience in the field of industrial automation. Its zenon software platform is used worldwide.
"We have retained the mentality of a startup at COPA-DATA, despite our longevity. We are always open to new, forward-looking technologies. This is exactly what sproof and its founders Clemens Brunner, Fabian Knirsch and Erich Höpoldseder embody. We have had the privilege of knowing and working with them for several years, thanks to our close cooperation with Salzburg University of Applied Sciences," explains Reinhard Mayr, Head of Information Security and Research Operations at COPA-DATA.



Digital and sustainable signing


COPA-DATA was recently certified by TÜV Süd for ISO 9001. To adhere to the certified management processes, the software manufacturer relies primarily on digital workflows and documentation. This is where the sproof sign technology comes into play. COPA-DATA uses it to integrate secure and auditable signatures in digital form into its own internal processes. "sproof sign can be integrated very easily into existing workflows, for example via an API. This allows signature processes in the company to be accelerated and managed in a structured manner," says Fabian Knirsch, CTO of sproof.

In the future, COPA-DATA management will receive documents to be signed as a digital PDF document, which they will sign using sproof sign. The document will then be archived centrally in a tamper-proof manner in compliance with ISO 9001 requirements. This saves time and money and is more sustainable – something TÜV praises in its final report as part of the certification process


Combining two digital worlds


In addition to the use of sproof technology by COPA-DATA, the first combinations of software solutions using technology from both companies are now being created. "The aim is to combine the advantages of both worlds in a customer-friendly way. Our software platform zenon collects a lot of process data in an industrial company and creates clear reports. Some customers, in turn, have the need to share these reports as PDF files or even have them signed," explains Reinhard Mayr. In this scenario, sproof sign is a solution path and the compatibility of zenon and sproof sign has already been demonstrated.

Watch this video about a first demo of sproof sign in combination with a simple zenon application.


Blockchain research for industry


The deployed technology behind sproof sign and zenon's extensive and established capabilities in manufacturing processes will also be part of joint research initiatives, starting with a feasibility study of the use of blockchain in industrial traceability and audit solutions. 
"The idea is to implement blockchain-based time stamps for industrial applications like zenon. This serves the demonstrably unmanipulable data recording of process data or even recipes," explains Clemens Brunner, CEO at sproof.