Welcome to the identity revolution

September 2012 Access Control & Identity Management

A new South African product, and a world first, is about to have an explosive impact in the world of Identity Control. It is called Greenbox and it takes the concept of multi-functional to a new level. Not only does it capture a list of different identity data that is as long as your arm, it also provides an identity-verification platform in a single unit.

The list of functionality built into the unit includes: camera, fingerprint reader, document scanner, digital signature pad with an interactive touch-screen, EMV-compliant smartcard reader, USB connection, device drivers and it connects via plug-and-play straight into Microsoft-based operating systems. All of this technology comes neatly packaged in one desktop unit that weighs less than 2 kg and has a footprint less than an A4 notepad.

So what are its applications?

Purely as an example to illustrate the extensive capabilities of Greenbox, let us look at the process of account take-on.

I want to open an account at Supa-Dupa Stores. Greenbox takes a 20 megapixel picture of me. It then scans my SA identity book – or my driver’s licence or even my passport. Next on the identity data-capture list comes fingerprints, followed by my signature on the digital pad. The interactive touch-screen also gives me a choice of account services that I might want.

Supa-Dupa now has a picture of me, a digital fingerprint record, a copy of my ID book and my digitised signature. It also knows what type of account I want and the services I would like to have associated with it – statements by e-mail or in the post, for example. All from a single device.

Once the comprehensive identification process is completed, Greenbox can run my identity details through a credit bureau to make sure I am good for the money. It can verify my details against the National Centre for Certified Identities (NCCI). It can even link up with a smartcard printer to make me a temporary Supa-Dupa loyalty card. And I can then swipe that through the Greenbox smartcard reader to pay for all my new purchases.

In the space of a few minutes I have been FICA’d or RICA’d all in one go. Supa-Dupa has got a trusted new credit-approved customer with all the supporting documents in its document archive and I have jumped at the company’s special offer on a new smartphone and bought one.

Applied identity control (AIC) in action

Marius Coetzee of Ideco Biometric Security Solutions sees Greenbox as an unparalleled enabler for a huge range of business processes that rely on accurate identity data. “By combining so many identification processes in a single solution, Greenbox simultaneously fulfils the three operational objectives of Applied Identity Control: it reinforces security, it accelerates business processes and builds the chain of evidence.”

Coetzee emphasises the hard-nosed commercial significance of achieving these objectives, “Greenbox cuts costs. In any identity-related transaction, it saves money by reducing the administrative time and resources that are currently spent on capturing and verifying identity data. It accelerates these processes. It also cuts costs by combating the escalating losses caused by identity-based crime – both the direct monetary losses and the indirect costs of managing and investigating such incidents.

“Greenbox provides the foundations for working with identity data in an exceptional variety of ways. And the data can be verified by multi-factor authentication with a smartcard, your fingerprints, your photograph and your signature. That is what I mean by reinforcing security through AIC.”

It is also green

In terms of environmental maturity, Greenbox is also advanced because of its paperless management of identity data and all the associated paperwork that Acts like FICA and RICA require.

According to Mike Morris, CEO of Meniko, a document management company, Greenbox is an outstanding example of how various technologies can be combined to dramatically improve how organisations work with identity and manage their workflow. “It offers advantages in so many different areas. And it offers them to a very broad range of organisations.

“Conventional forms do not have to be designed, printed, packaged, distributed, filled-in, photocopied or physically stored. A whole process can be automated with Greenbox and the costs are eliminated simply by digital management of transaction-related data.”

Greenbox offers an opportunity to every responsible corporate citizen to reduce their carbon footprint and help save our environment.


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