ILumin Lets Companies Seal Deals With Digital Handshakes

Neatly timing its release with the passage of the Electronic Signatures Act by Congress this month, iLumin Corp. today debuted a "digital handshake" system that lets businesses and individuals privately and securely view, sign, and store electronic documents.

The goal of the product is to allow all parties involved in electronic commerce to finish what they begin with an enforceable online transaction drawn up in real time. "The Internet is the highway, and digital signatures are the keys to the car," says Brent Israelsen, iLumin's president and CEO. In the government sector alone, the technology will allow the automation of legal documents generated by 90 million cases in 17,000 courts to be electronically signed, filed, and stored.

The end-to-end paperless system comprises three parts: an Online Signing Room where documents are prepared, reviewed, and digitally signed; a Digital Clerk to manage the business flow and exchange data with enterprise databases; and an e-Cabinet in which documents are reviewed and stored by all parties.

ILumin uses personal key technology for security, then parses the data from online documents and extracts the data into a database. Using the Extensible Markup Language, the Digital Clerk lets people with different security clearances access only the pieces of a contract that apply to them. Documents are linked to URLs that can be bar-coded onto the finished contract to allow for easy retrieval 24 hours a day.

The system will go live in July. ILumin will use a transaction-based revenue model, and the company expects that it can cut as much as $500 from the $1,200 to $1,700 cost of closing a mortgage on a $150,000 house, for example.

Just closing its third round of private financing--$20 million from Deutsche Bank, Alex Brown and Rock Creek Ventures--iLumin is in pilot testing at companies such as Andersen Consulting, and VerticalNet. And Deloitte & Touche plans to offer it as part of a larger electronic government system. "The iLumin technology will be an integral part of our strategy of building portals in which citizens, businesses, and employees can complete transactions with their local governments wherever they happen to be and whenever they happen to need them," says Kevin Anderson, national director of Deloitte & Touche's E-government solutions task force. The company will share revenues from the portals with iLumin. Anderson says the company chose iLumin for "the level of security and ability to manipulate documents so they are not changeable once you have locked them down."

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