Interview with Paul Butler, VP & General Manager, Biometrics, HID Global
Last year, one of the biggest news items in terms of business operations was the purchase of Lumidigm by HID Global. Lumidigm’s multispectral fingerprint biometrics technology – which has received particularly extensive deployment in the healthcare and financial markets – is specially designed for versatility, as it is able to scan prints that are wet, dirty, scarred and obscured in other ways. With HID’s expansive reach in terms of global sales and marketing, the outlook was very possessive for both companies, especially in the access control market.
Now, just over one year later, FindBiometrics president Peter O’Neill has interviewed Paul Butler, vice president and general manager of Biometrics at HID Global. Read on to see how the major acquisition has affected HID Global in the past year and what to expect from the company at next week’s ISC West.
Peter O’Neill, President, FindBiometrics (FB): It has been just over a year since the purchase of Lumidigm by HID and at that time I interviewed Bob Harbour the Executive Director. He mentioned that one of the key benefits for Lumidigm was the worldwide sales and marketing infrastructure that HID had. It is a year out now, how is business?
Paul Butler, VP & General Manager, Biometrics, HID Global (HID): It has been quite successful so far, Peter. We have grown the business substantially, exceeding the expectations we had going into the merger significantly. Some of the boost comes from leveraging the HID sales organization and some it comes from working together with HID at all levels to make integration successful. For example, HID has an embedded solutions business that sells OEM modules so that HID partners can become part of the HID ecosystem. Their consultative design-in sales approach and broad Customer base helped us quickly find ways to engage with new Customers and add biometrics to the set of authentication choices HID can provide. We have learned over the years that to ensure Customer success with biometrics requires working with them in their overall system and human factors design process.
FB: Well that is wonderful. Mergers can often be complicated on a number of fronts, what were some of the challenges you faced over the past year?
HID: The major challenge in any acquisition is arriving at a mutual understanding of a few key items such as what the original business did to grow, how it goes about servicing Customers, what its overall proposition is and how to integrate those ideas into the fabric of the acquiring business to multiply value. It’s an education process that has to work in both directions with everyone aligned to the idea of increasing the overall value of the combined enterprise. The results speak for themselves… we grew the business beyond what we could have done as a standalone company last year and we are actively engaged with all the HID businesses in developing strategies and products tailored to HID Customers.
FB: Looking at the two companies, it seemed like HID and Lumidigm were focusing in similar vertical markets and also similar geographical. Has this helped the blending of the two companies?
HID: It has been complementary as well as synergistic. For example, the biometrics business has significant successes in emerging markets securing financial transactions which helps grow HID’s overall business in these geographies. In addition, by combining HID Identity Assurance and mobile access solutions with what Biometrics can do in branch and ATM authentication enables us to provide a more complete and significant offering to Customers in the financial services vertical.
FB: Can you please speak about the strategic focus of the company moving forward?
HID: The HID Biometrics business segment mission is to continue to aggressively grow the business by adding biometrics to the overall HID ecosystem to provide a more seamless, adaptive, and cost-effective assured authentication service to our Customers. This implies a broader range of biometric modalities and more importantly perhaps the dynamic fusion of all forms of authenticating information in order to maximize user convenience at the appropriate level of security for each person at each point of access. And to do that in a way that is easy to stand up, easy to manage, and interoperates. Biometrics as part of an overall seamless authentication solution rather than yet another island of authentication is the future and that is the HID authentication ecosystem we are helping to build.
FB: Well that is very interesting Paul. We are focusing all this month at FindBiometrics on exactly that task – convenience versus security, but mostly focused around physical access to coincide with ISC West. Speaking of ISC West what will you be showing at this year’s show?
HID: At ISC West this year, HID Biometrics is showing the value of Lumidigm multispectral imaging fingerprint technology for physical access, time and attendance, and network solutions. Performance matters! Together with the HID embedded solutions offerings, we will be showing OEM Customers how to become part of the HID ecosystem.
FB: Paul, it sounds like it has been a wonderful year for both HID and Lumidigm and congratulations on making a success of the merger and we look forward to hearing more and seeing some of these products at ISC West which is occurring next week. Thank you very much for speaking with us today.
HID: Thank you Peter.