Idemia recently held its launch event in South Africa, to introduce the new company and clarify its role going forward. Idemia was formed last year through the merger of Oberthur Technologies and Morpho.
The company currently has around 150 employees in its Johannesburg office and is one of the largest bank card centres on the continent, with over 1 000 people in the MEA region, including over 100 at Idemia’s Casablanca R&D centre.
CEO Didier Lamouche was on hand at the event to tell the attendees about Idemia’s view of the future, which he described as ‘augmented identity’, a way of ensuring frictionless security in all walks of life. This is based on four global trends:
1.) The exponential growth of connected devices.
2.) The growth in ‘exchanges’ – data, people and goods. In fact, there will be continuous growth in the movement of people over the next two decades for work, tourism, and of course, migrants.
3.) The digitisation of economics, which will see payments becoming digitised and authenticated with physical characteristic of the buyers (in other words, biometrics).
4.) Technology consumerisation. The fast adoption and acceptance of technology into the consumer space.
Lamouche explained that all four trends are growing, but they are also fuelling each other in a continuous cycle. This leads to increased data being created and used at each step in the cycle, and an increase in the need and complexity of securing this information. Along with the increased need for security that everyone can use, there is also the question of privacy.
With all these challenges, security is obviously central to all we do and we therefore we need a new way to approach the question of identity to ensure the security and privacy of our data, transactions and selves. Just as important is the need to make security more convenient for the end user. This is where Idemia comes into play as the company is already a leader in bank payment systems, biometric solutions and security within smartphones.
The idea of augmented identity is to leverage one’s identity to improve security and speed transactions. This will allow for simpler, faster transactions, whether it is paying for goods, moving through the security checks at an airport, renting a car and so on. Your facial and fingerprint biometrics (and potentially other biometrics) will be the key to verifying your identity and authorising access, payments, transfers and more, in an integrated infrastructure that keeps you secure while using your ‘identity features’ to meet the security needs of others, be it individuals, businesses or governments.
Using the example of renting a car, Lamouche showed a video demonstrating that in future it could all be done without having to stand in a queue or even getting hold of car keys. By booking ahead of time and verifying your identity via a smartphone app, you would receive a message on your smartphone telling you where your car was parked as soon as you arrived at your destination. As you approach the car, your phone and the car communicate and your facial biometric is verified. Once this is complete, the car will unlock itself. Once inside, your fingerprint would start the car and off you go.
The creation of Idemia and its vision of augmented identity is a step into the future, but is based on technical and security challenges we face today, as well as many of the independent solutions we have today, which need to be integrated into solutions that are almost seamless to the individual.
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