FindBiometrics President Peter O’Neill recently spoke with Yves Portalier, EVP for Connected Objects, IDEMIA. The interview begins with an overview of the new company structure after the 2017 merger of OT and Safran Identity & Security that resulted in IDEMIA’s creation, as well as an explanation of IDEMIA’s Augmented Identity core philosophy. The discussion then turns to other 2017 highlights for the firm, including the company’s successful activities in the smart cards and IoT automotive markets, and also the successful deployment of its border control technology at Singapore Changi Airport. Portalier goes on to preview IDEMIA’s Mobile World Congress 2018 plans which, in addition to being ambitious and comprehensive, include demonstrations of iris recognition, 3D facial recognition, car sharing ID demonstrations and much more.
Read our full interview with Yves Portalier, EVP for Connected Objects, IDEMIA:
Peter O’Neill, President, FindBiometrics: Can you please describe to our readers the new IDEMIA structure, what will your responsibilities be?
Yves Portalier, EVP for Connected Objects, IDEMIA: In 2017, OT (Oberthur Technologies) and Safran Identity & Security (Morpho) have joined forces to form IDEMIA and one of the reasons for this coming together was to combine complimentary activities and technologies. OT was recognized as a major player in digital security and on the other side, Morpho had the position as a worldwide leader in identity solutions. The resulting company, IDEMIA, has a turnover of a bit less than 3 billion dollars. We are present in more than 180 countries, and we are delivering payment solutions in more than 1800 financial institutions. We are also delivering solutions for mobile phone vendors and we are supplying more than 500 mobile phone operators in the world. We are leading the market in mobile phone and IoT products, delivering security and connectivity solutions. And in terms of identity, another figure to illustrate a bit of what IDEMIA has on the market is that we have delivered 3 billion identity documents around the world and created more than 1.3Bn of digital identities for Indian residents.
In terms of technology, IDEMIA has a strong position in biometric identification systems and civil identity solutions. We are number one, and this is completing the business to business to consumer (B2B2C) activities like the payment and telecom business. As a matter of fact, when we look at the company globally, we are focused and organized to serve customer market segments. We are focusing mainly on six market segments: mobile operators, connected objects, financial institutions, citizen identity, public security and NORAM Identity & Security, which is taking care of the North American business for identity and security. This is a broad picture of IDEMIA as it is today resulting from the combination Oberthur Technologies and Morpho.
FB: I know that Augmented Identity is at the heart of your branding moving forward, can you tell our readers a little bit about that philosophy please?
IDEMIA: For sure, and for that I would like to start with four major trends that are impacting our industry and the world today. What you can see first is the exponential growth of all kinds of connected objects. Second, we contemplate the huge increase in exchanges around the world. Third, we see digitalization of the economy; this is a key trend impacting multiple kinds of vertical segments. Fourth, we see a technology consumerization and this is also impacting many, many segments. In front of that, IDEMIA is combining a unique set of skills that allows us to offer both security, convenience, the human factor and continuity especially between the digital life and the physical life.
So, these are the key drivers that have fueled the construction of a vision which is, I would say, focused on a new way to approach identity and that is what we call Augmented Identity. And what is Augmented Identity? It is an identity that is so advanced, adaptable, strong and self-serving that it allows us to truly enjoy our life because securing our identity is key. It is key to making our world a safer place. We see moving forward the way to approach the user identity especially in a digital context will be essential and will require innovative and trusted solutions: it means Augmented Identity.
FB: Well thank you very much for sharing that philosophy with us, we at FindBiometrics and Mobile ID World agree with those trends. Can you review for us some of the highlights for IDEMIA from this past year, please?
IDEMIA: First of all, of course, the creation of IDEMIA has been the major milestone for us because it is the combination of two big companies, Oberthur Technologies and Morpho. Joining forces of these kinds of companies is always a challenge but what you may notice is the timelines that we have been able to achieve; it has been a quick operation. We started the integration in Q1 2017, we closed in Q2 2017 and in Q3 we were announcing the new brand of the company with the new vision which I have described to you regarding Augmented Identity.
So, everything around this combination of the technology from both teams has been performed in a very efficient and a timely manner in order to keep focus on serving our customers in the best way and improving our offerings. That’s the global and the corporate side of it.
Enhancing our offering, which is also translating the momentum of IDEMIA, we have recently announced the acquisition of Otono Networks. We are adding to the traditional subscription management platform, a connectivity orchestration solution allowing our customers to prepare the roll out of the embedded scene in the future in a very efficient manner.
This is the first acquisition of IDEMIA and clearly shaping the way we are willing to address the market by combining security and convenience, building end-to-end solutions that are simplifying the life of our customers and the one of their user.
We have also announced the deployment of two innovative payment cards also combining higher level of security and enhanced customer experience. One which is called Motion Code, which is integrating a dynamic CVV code; meaning that the code is changing regularly on the back of the card. The technology powering the Motion Code is built-in in the usual form factor of the card with an e-ink screen displaying the changing code on the back of the card.
The second integrates fingerprint technology, it is called F.Code. Biometric authentication performed through the fingerprint reader replaces your PIN code. So, by simply putting the finger on the card you are authenticating yourself for a payment transaction. Another example of what we have developed for increasing security and user experience.
I would also like to highlight the news that came out in the last quarter of 2017 and that was the announcement of IDEMIA technology powering a world premiere of enhanced passenger flow at Terminal 4 Singapore Changi Airport. We have worked to optimize the flow of the passengers in the airport by building new solutions that use biometrics for identifying passengers at different places in the airport. The passenger is “enrolled” when arriving at the airport, then will be identified through his biometrics at every step of his journey. It’s simple, convenient and frictionless! Rather than pulling out of their jacket their boarding pass or passport each time, he is recognized by his biometrics. This enables the passenger to go through the airport, to board the plane, to purchasing duty free, and to perform that in a very efficient manner. This illustrates how there can be better security while optimizing convenience especially when the number of people travelling is increasing.
FB: Well you certainly have a lot going on. It’s been quite a year for IDEMIA and thank you for sharing some of your deployments with us. Earlier in our conversation you talked a little about the vertical markets that you are positioning the company for, citizen ID, mobile, financial, etc. Which vertical markets excite you most looking forward to the coming year?
IDEMIA: I would just like to mention an example of what we are doing within the connected objects for the automotive market. This has been one of the first markets of the IoT on which connectivity has started to play a significant role. And what we have seen quite quickly is that beyond connectivity, the need of security, the need of the identity of the user is quickly becoming very important. The automotive trends around connected cars, autonomous or assisted driving combined to a different way to consumer car mobility are channeling the way IDEMIA is positioning itself.
We can contribute to a lot of vertical segments. Our target is to use and secure the day-to-day life of the user and we want to do that in a convenient environment. The digitalization of the economy, the growth of the connected objects, the multiplication of the transactions, the consumerization of the technology are creating multiple opportunities for solving challenges of our customers. In addition, the global vision and end-to-end approach about Augmented Identity that IDEMIA is able to offer allows to address different customer segments, one segment benefiting from the expertise and footprint in the others as the objective is common: it’s about making our world a safer place by securing identities.
FB: I am personally very excited about the automotive sector, which you just mentioned. I’ve been following it very actively, and actually at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it’s amazing over the past few years how the automotive sector has really started to step up their presence within that conference, and also at the CES show in Las Vegas. Speaking of Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, I know that you’ll have quite a presence there. What will you be showing at this year’s show?
IDEMIA: So, clearly we have seen in the past years the show evolving a lot from a purely mobile show, as you have mentioned, to now welcoming many categories of business and segments that are taking advantage of more and more connected objects and connected solutions. In that context, we will be showcasing for the first time at such a major exhibition our whole portfolio of solutions. So, we will not only present solutions related to telecom but we will also illustrate globally what IDEMIA is capable of offering the market and that will be one of the first major exhibition in which we will show our vision.
The first set of demonstrations will be around what we call “Easier to Communicate” and here we will speak about the way to enable flexible connectivity, how to orchestrate mobile subscriptions, enrollment procedures for telecom operators and their customers, but also solutions that will enable consumers to be authenticated on their smartphones. We use a couple of biometric technologies for this and we will be showcasing iris technology, which is more applicable to the market today, as well as showcasing 3D facial recognition technology for the first time. So, these technologies take advantage of the new sensors that are on the market today to recognize the face of the user in 3D and this is of course, improving one step further the power of this kind of biometric technology.
The second set of demonstrations, “Easier to connect”, will be illustrating how to simplify connecting objects to the cloud. This will be everything around IoT and security with a solution called IoThrive which gives identity to the connected objects and provides end to end security around data. It combines security integrated in the IoT device and cloud services.
Another one is called, “Easier to Get Around.” I’m also mentioning this one as you appreciate the automotive industry. We are going to be showcasing a couple of use cases on how we are contributing to car sharing and car rental phenomenon and especially the enablement of the digitalization of this service: how to provide the identification and authentication of the driver easily; how to register the driver into the service and give him access to a car without a physical key but with a digital key. We are also showcasing driver monitoring technologies making full sense when we start to think about assisted driving or automated driving.
In the “Easier to transact” area, we will also be showing how to simplify the authentication of payments by showing the various steps of the customer’s journey when making a banking operation. Of course, it starts by onboarding the customer, enrolling him, then managing the capacity to tune the authentication by having an adaptive authentication solution depending on the rights of the user. Also enabling mobile payment solutions, and I’ve also mentioned the payment cards that we have: the Motion Code and the F.Code card with the fingerprint sensor integrated in it.
And lastly, we will have the, “Easier to Identify”; here we will showcase a couple of biometric technologies in addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned, on how to capture biometrics in the field with specific sensors and tablets that we use for both governmental businesses and for corporations having the need to enroll and/or authenticate people especially in the context of Government 2 Consumer business models.
At the end of the day this is illustrating the different ways to combine the assets of IDEMIA to tackle the different challenges in the quickly changing world we have today.
FB: I have already booked my time to come and visit with your team in Barcelona, and I look forward to seeing all the new things you’re going to be displaying there. And Yves, thank you once again for taking the time to speak with us today; I look forward to seeing you in Barcelona.
IDEMIA: With pleasure Peter. It will be a pleasure to show the booth to you. See you there!