findBIOMETRICS interviews Antonio Mugica, Smartmatic’s CEO
fB: Has this been a good year for your company?
S: Yes indeed, this has been a very good year for Smartmatic. In spite of the economic upheaval the world has been facing, we managed to give definite steps to further strengthen our worldwide position as The Elections Company.
Now, the year is far from over for us. In October for instance, we’ll be deploying large scale critical mission projects in Belgium, Venezuela and Brazil. That month alone, we will assist approximately 170,000,000 registered voters to decide their future representatives. We feel honored that those three nations decided to rely on Smartmatic’s electoral technology, services, and know-how to upgrade the transparency, accuracy and efficiency of their 2012 elections.
During this year, we have also kept innovating. 2012 has seen the final release of two new lines of products in the identity and electoral markets our new Remote Session Activator for biometric voter authentication and the SAES-3370 series voting kit for Belgium.
As a consequence of our outstanding services, we extended our presence in more than 30 countries in four continents. Simultaneously, we increased our market share and maintained an organic growing path. This has certainly been a very busy yet satisfying year.
fB: You just recently announced the relocation of your International Headquarters to London, UK. What was the reason for this move?
S: The continuing global excitement about our technology led us to seek a HQ that allowed Smartmatic to take full advantage of the international markets in which we operate. London is a 24-hour business centre with an outstanding communications and professional services infrastructure that will greatly enhance our opportunities to continue leading the industry and developing new technological solutions that bring governments closer to the real needs of citizens. We believe this move is already helping us to reach our global goals and is facilitating the procurement of the business opportunities lying ahead.
fB: You also announced in April that, Smartmatic and Green Bit were selected to supply a biometric enrollment solution to Mexico. Please tell us about this win.
S: Yes, earlier this year we partnered with Green Bit SpA, a leading supplier of FBI certified Livescan systems, to provide a biometric enrollment solution for the Mexican Federal Election Institute (IFE).
Teaming up our identity management technology with Green Bit’s next generation devices allowed Smartmatic to develop a best-of-breed solution that responds to current IFE’s requirements, guaranteeing a complete, secure and expedite enrollment project.
Besides the obvious business opportunity it represents for us, the project has a fascinating social dimension. With our help, the Mexican government now possesses an efficient and transparent Identification System that will facilitate granting access to different welfare programs to the most economically-deprived citizens.
fB: Can you please review your product line up for us?
S: We design and develop products and services with a high social impact in the countries where we operate. With this aim in mind, our technology company offers solutions in two key different areas: Elections (electronic voting) and Smart Cities.
We not only create state-of-the-art technology (hardware, software, system configuration and services), but we also develop specific solutions to solve any given problem. In this sense, Smartmatic partners with its customers to deliver solutions that increase citizen participation and satisfaction with their government, improve government’s transparency and efficiency, enabling modernization and cooperation across ministries, departments and final users. We combine over a decade of experience in mission-critical projects, customized technology and proven best practices methodologies to deliver measurable social impact.
fB: Please tell us about a recent deployment.
S: At the beginning of 2012, Smartmatic signed a contract for 15 years, to provide electoral equipment and services in Belgium. It was as a result of a meticulous evaluation process that lasted three years and involved numerous technical analyses by Belgian authorities, a certification by the independent agency PricewaterhouseCoopers, and a field test.
Regarding this contract, we conducted a three-phase project where we delivered software and hardware for the fully functional e-voting solution covering the preparation, voting, and counting of results. Smartmatic customized some of its solutions to accommodate Belgium’s legal frames and specific technical requirements. This included the developed of the SAES-3370 series, a stand-alone system (no networking requirement) with a large 17” Active Color Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) touch screen, to generate votes recordable by an electronic urn.
On October 14th, we will be in charge of running the National Local elections for the local and regional municipalities’ authorities of Flanders and Brussels. Our technology will be deployed through of 155 communes in 3346 polling places with 17,000 voting customized machines and more than 3,000 electronic urns to serve the approximately 3 million registered voters.
fB: What vertical markets are you focusing on?
S: Since our starting days we have been focused on developing and providing unsurpassed technology and services to the election industry. Given our success track, and the positive response we are receiving from nations around the globe, we intend to continue doing so.
As time passes and more countries realize the far reaching benefits technology offers to improve election administration at different stages of the electoral cycle, we see growing opportunities to be there as a trusting partner. We want to contribute by bringing electoral solutions that achieve successful elections.
Our plan is to keep investing resources and energies to create the innovative products and services modern democracies require.
fB: What can we expect to see from Smartmatic in the future?
S: As I mentioned above, innovation is one of our core value. We are constantly evaluating new technologies services, products, methodologies and business models in order to increase even more our value proposition. This approach has led us to execute with outstanding success all our contracted projects, always surpassing our client’s and partner’s expectations.
We are currently one of the largest cutting-edge technology suppliers, with a wide and proven experience in the United States, Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. Therefore we are committed to take our current and new clients to the next level in their critical mission projects as well as continue guaranteeing more efficient and transparent technical processes, in Elections and Smart Cities, for governments.
Smartmatic is a multinational company that designs and deploys technological solutions aimed at helping governments to fulfill, in the most efficient way, their commitments toward their citizens. With a wide and proven experience in the United States, Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Smartmatic is an important cutting-edge technology supplier for Governments. Smartmatic has more than 600 employees worldwide, with offices in the U.S, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Mexico, Barbados, Brazil, Panama, Venezuela, Philippines, India and Taiwan. For more information, please visit www.smartmatic.com