Signature Replication Machine/Is SAAS The Future? A Case Study Of SHOPIFY’S Business Model And Social Construction

Hu, Zichao, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Rogers, Hannah, Department of Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia

This portfolio contains two major pieces of work completed throughout the school year of 2021-2022. The first piece is a technical report about a capstone project that develops a signature replication machine by a group of three fourth-year computer engineering major students. The second piece is an STS research paper that investigates a popular state-of-the-art model called software-as-a-service (SaaS) by performing a case study on Shopify Inc.
In the capstone project, a key motivation is that signing documents can be very time-consuming and repetitive but it is also prevalent and crucial in everyday life. It is desirable if we could let machines take care of such repetitive tasks for us in daily life. As a result, the goal of this capstone project is to design a fully functional signature replication machine that frees humans from signing their names physically and repeatedly. The main UX design of the project is that the users only need to provide a digital signature via writing on a touchable pad and then the signature will be sent through the Bluetooth network that enables the machine to replicate the signatures exactly as specified. The members of the team collaborate seamlessly to carry out the project. Finally, the project is demonstrated to and tested by various groups of visitors on the showcase day, and the machine can reliably and successfully replicate any signature provided by the users.
In the meanwhile, the STS research paper looks into a product of the ongoing digitization efforts today, which is the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. The SaaS model is revolutionary in many aspects of society today. It both influences and is influenced by different groups of people, such as the company that adopts the SaaS model, the customers of that company, developers who contribute to the SaaS platform, and the investors who invest in the company’s stocks. Specifically, the work will focus on a SaaS company called Shopify, and the work will analyze Shopify’s business model to gain a deeper insight into the SaaS model. In addition, this work will employ the social construction of technology (SCOT) as the primary methodology for investigation. The work studies how different groups interpret the SaaS model and understand the role of SaaS in society. Furthermore, the paper finds interpretations that give rise to conflicts of interests and provides an analysis of how each conflict could be resolved through closure.
The capstone project is a typical IoT project that aims to use modern technology to simplify traditional tasks. This aligns with the focus of the STS research paper that explores how SaaS, a modern technology, exists to address traditional problems today. The STS paper takes a step further to study the technology in a social context via the social construction of technology methodology. This methodology argues that technology does not determine human action but instead, human action shapes technology, which in turn could contribute to the understanding of the capstone project in a social context as well.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Software as a Service, IoT
Issued Date: