Tags: Veridos

ISJ Exclusive: Daring to innovate


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Marc-Julian Siewert, CEO, Veridos explains to ISJ why biometric technologies and AI hold huge potential in the world of identities

Can you tell us more about the products and services Veridos provides?

Sure! In short, we make everyday life easier for governments and their citizens. We produce physical and digital identity documents, enable secure lifecycle management and support the implementation of sophisticated new verification technologies. With our systems and products, governments can manage identities securely and efficiently and their citizens can enjoy seamless and convenient identification processes.

Which countries does Veridos operate in and who are your key customers?

We are active around the globe. Our customers include over 100 countries worldwide, from the US and Canada to Denmark, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Uganda and Bangladesh. What makes me particularly proud is that, whether they are developing countries or highly developed economies, all customers appreciate Veridos’ in-depth expertise and tailor-made approach. With this approach, we are able to serve very specific requirements and current and future needs.

What sets Veridos apart from its competitors?

There are a few things. For example, we are a holistic solution provider. Our physical and digital solutions cover the entire value chain of identity documents: From the registration of citizens to the creation of ID documents, their personalisation and the management of data, to border controls and the verification of documents and thereby authentication of citizens.

Most-importantly, we always put the customer and their end-users first. No other company in the ID world works as closely with its customers as Veridos. I often hop on a plane, sometimes spontaneously, to get an impression of local conditions, needs and requirements on-site. We combine local know-how with our international network and put emphasis on service and maintenance in order to keep all systems state-of-the-art. Our customers can always count on us. Our projects and contracts often span many years and customers can rely on their solutions and processes to work reliably throughout.

Strengthening local value chains and production is particularly close to our hearts. Veridos is the only ID company that helps its customers to build and set up in-country production facilities specifically tailored to their needs. For ID factories, we design turnkey solutions on-site and implement them efficiently.

Which ID-related areas does Veridos see great potential in over the coming years?

Biometrics and artificial intelligence (AI) hold huge potential. Biometrics have what it takes to simplify and speed up document verification and citizen authentication. AI can significantly improve quality control and data management, but also helps to further optimise the accuracy of biometric procedures. As an innovator in identity solutions, we can make key contributions to this; we have a strategic R&D focus on advancing authentication and verification processes through the use of biometrics and AI.

The huge potential of these technologies was also demonstrated by the EU-funded D4FLY research project. As part of this project, 19 partners from eleven countries worked on verification technologies that make border controls more efficient and secure. Furthermore, it demonstrated innovative AI and biometric technology approaches in a series of prototypes.

Veridos coordinated the project and led the development of the prototypes; one of these demonstrated a biometric corridor that enables border controls “on the move”. Using techniques such as 3D facial image recognition, iris verification and somatotype analysis based on full-body images, the identity of travellers can be verified as they walk through the corridor. Like all solutions developed during the project, the biometric corridor is fully compliant with EU data protection regulations and is equipped with comprehensive security measures.

How does Veridos deal with the fact that solutions must always be tailored for country-specific factors?

Since each of our clients is in a different part of the world, no two projects are alike. All of them are individual. This is a source of great joy for us, because we’re always getting to know other cultures, specific needs and requirements and new challenges are always waiting for us – we are constantly evolving at Veridos.

From a business perspective, however, we are driving standardisation as it helps efficiency and interoperability for international travel while remaining flexible enough to specific requirements of regions where needed. We always strive for the best solution for the customer – sometimes, this is tricky, but we are finding that despite differences, there are certain challenges that are the same everywhere.

Which areas are embracing digitalisation the most in the ID world?

Sovereign documents are an important area. A digital-only product will not become a reality for some time in the distant future because there are still a number of challenges to overcome. Furthermore, physical identity is the basis of every transaction and the ultimate identification. The partial digitisation of documents is in full swing worldwide.

More and more identity cards, passports and drivers licenses are being equipped with electronic chips that store data to identify holders and substantially increase ease of travelling and border control. This data can be transferred to IT systems without disruption, enabling more accurate, seamless and secure processes.

There is also a lot going on at airports at the moment. Global passenger numbers are not only recovering in the aftermath of COVID-19, but will, in all likelihood, continue to rise. This poses major challenges for airports, airlines and authorities in maintaining security, streamlining passenger flow and optimising air travel. More efficient, convenient processes are needed throughout the journey, without compromising safety standards.

You have been CEO at Veridos since January 2022 – what has been your focus in this first period?

Since the beginning of this year I have had the honour of leading Veridos as CEO. I enjoy this role very much every day, mainly thanks to the many motivated and inspiring people I work with. For me, the people, their wellbeing and success are the top priority – if you have the right team in place, people are inspired and deliver superior results.

Since the beginning, I have placed great emphasis on working out a clear strategic plan to foster further growth and make the company more resilient to geopolitical developments, tensions and an increasingly volatile market environment. At all times, our clients are at the core of everything we do; I am fully engaged in driving an even more customer-centric approach.

Which topics are important to you in your new role?

It will be crucial to achieve the perfect interaction between the digital and physical worlds. Mastering this transformation process for our customers is one of my biggest goals. In the near future, the world of IDs will be what we call ‘phygital’. Physical documents will harmonise with digital supplements. This harmony will bring significant advances for the security of documents and the interaction of citizens with authorities and the outside world.

The principles of emotional leadership and ownership are particularly close to your heart – how has this come about?

I just love when people put their heart and soul into something and create great things together from intrinsic motivation. The best way for a manager to achieve this is by setting a good example, cultivating an emotional leadership style and empowering employees. Emotional leadership means engaging your employees in a common goal, thus bringing them closer. At Veridos, we have an extremely strong common goal: To provide everyone with a legal identity!

To have a legal identity is the prerequisite for modern life in a connected world, as it opens up access to government services, education, financial products and mobility. However, still one billion people in the world do not have a proven legal identity. UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.9, which we fully support, states that everyone in the world should have a legal identity by 2030. This purpose is my key motivation in everything I do.

Coming back to our values at Veridos: The principle of ownership originated in the world of entrepreneurs and is increasingly spreading to large corporations. When employees feel responsible, they do not only get much more involved and achieve better results, but also enjoy projects more and challenge the status-quo. It’s always pleasing to see when colleagues can develop and contribute

With our strategy, we want to set the benchmark for the highest service levels for our customers and within the industry. Based on this strategy, Veridos will continue to grow further. Our goal is to make Veridos one of the top players in the ID world while staying true to our very own identity, maintaining our great team spirit, “German reliability” and becoming even more customer-centric. Going forward, Veridos will play an integral role in shaping this industry and the digital transformation by daring to innovate and investing in new technologies.

1-ISJ- ISJ Exclusive: Daring to innovate
Marc-Julian Siewert

For more information, visit: www.veridos.com

This article was originally published in the October edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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