Interview with Bruce Hanson, CEO, Credence ID
Mobile ID World President Peter O’Neill recently spoke with Bruce Hanson, CEO of Credence ID. Credence has had quite a year so far, with new product launches, major recognition and deployments all across the globe in a range of vertical markets. The following interview begins with a look at Credence ID’s new financial deployments in Panama and Colombia, goes on to detail the success the company is having in Africa in bringing biometrics to education, touches on the company winning Frost & Sullivan’s 2015 Asia Pacific Mobile Biometric Company of the Year, and finishes with a look at the new CredenceOne-MRZ.
Peter O’Neill, President, Mobile ID World (MIDW): You have had some big news releases recently; let’s start with the news from Colombia and Panama regarding your mobile banking solution.
Bruce Hanson, CEO, Credence ID (CID): It’s an exciting time for mobile biometrics and Latin America has been an area of focus for Credence ID. I’m happy to say that our efforts are beginning to gain traction. What’s of particular interest for us is how quickly applications are being developed and how diverse those applications are becoming. The new projects in Panama and Colombia illustrate that. Large banks in the region are conducting outreach programs to potential account holders and marketing to new customers. Their goals are to bring more of the population into the banking community. Many people have historically had very little or no relationship with the banks and never had a bank account or a debit card. Basically, large segments of the population have used only cash in all of their transactions.
Using these outreach programs, the banks are creating interest in opening first-time accounts, but how can they do that and still keep the process fast, easy and secure? Our partner in the region, ADO Technologies, writes fantastic Android applications using our SDK that enables bank couriers to go directly to the home or workplace of these new account holders and, using biometrics and credential reading, sign them up right on the spot. ADO’s applications running on our CredenceOne devices allow the couriers to collect information about the individual, check their credit, match their fingerprint, confirm their identity, and issue a debit card; all remotely using a very intuitive interface.
It’s very exciting and we are enthusiastic that mobile biometrics can drive this kind of penetration for banking. Certainly throughout Latin America there is an intense interest, but we are also seeing this in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia as well. We expect several similar projects to take hold later this year.
MIDW: I see a huge demand for this particular solution. You have also recently returned from Africa where you were selected by a regional solution provider to deploy I think over a 1,000 devices for the educational market; can you tell us about that one?
CID: Yes, I’ve got to tell you the conference, ID4Africa in Dar es Salaam, was a very productive event for Credence ID. We are excited because of the diversity of African mobile applications being developed. I was also very impressed with the number of ID projects and the quality of the leadership being brought to bear throughout the region.
Our announcement recently regarding Nigeria is quite different from the Latin American project we just spoke about. This project has to do with ensuring the identity of people taking important exams in Central and West Africa. The goal of the project is to verify the identity of the exam-taker and prevent the possibility of an imposter taking the exam for someone else. As many of us in the biometrics world know, sometimes the presence of a credential is not always enough to ensure you are who you say you are. Like I said, these exams are important and the integrity of the outcomes are critical to the validity of these exams. The stakeholders, both administrators and test-takers, want credibility in the exam-taking process.
Mobile biometrics and applications developed by our partner validate the identity of the subjects when they register for the exam and then again when they arrive on the day of the test. Our devices and the related software are being deployed to over 1,000 exam sites.
So providing Credence insofar as the identity of test-taker ensures the continued value, both real and perceived, of these exams.
We feel so strongly about these kinds of mobile identity projects, that we hosted a delegation of Nigerian managers and developers in our offices in San Francisco to ensure the Android application is world-class and ready to be deployed in similar projects around the world.
MIDW: You were also very recently recognized by Frost & Sullivan with a major award. Can you tell us about this please?
CID: Frost & Sullivan just posted that Credence ID won the 2015 Asia Pacific Mobile Biometric Company of the Year. Obviously we are thrilled that the hard work of the team and our partners is being recognized. I think this had a lot to do with the activity we have been working on now for the last 18 months in Southeast Asia where our devices and platforms are being deployed in diverse applications from law enforcement to banking and insurance applications. Civil projects are having great success now at eliminating duplicate identities in some very important applications. Frost & Sullivan interviewed our partners and competitors and published their analysis with Credence ID scoring on top.
The whole team is pretty excited that a young company such as Credence ID is able to achieve that sort of recognition.
MIDW: Congratulations on that. You have also released some new products, including the CredenceOne-MRZ handheld; what are some of the new features this product will have?
CID: The CredenceOne-MRZ is what it sounds like. We took the original CredenceOne device that has a card reader and a fingerprint sensor, a full Android operating system including all the features that you would expect such as WiFi, 3G cellular, GPS, Bluetooth, and expanded that proven platform to include MRZ, or Machine Readable Zone, capability. Not only can the device read smart cards, both contact and contactless, but it can now read passports and other travel documents that use an MRZ form of coding. This really expands the CredenceOne line into a travel document reading device as well.
This makes it ideal for many travel and border control scenarios that require extreme mobility. A good example of its use would be at ports or on a train where an officer may need a mobile, lightweight, long battery life device with a very user friendly application. The officer may want to verify someone’s identity using a contact or contactless card, match their fingerprint, read the MRZ from their passport and even capture a facial image all with a single device. We are getting a very warm reception to that in the marketplace right now and I anticipate announcing new projects using the CredenceOne-MRZ very shortly.
MIDW: Well Bruce you certainly have a lot of activity going on with your company. It is always such a pleasure to speak with you and to hear about all the great deployments and congratulations on your award with Frost & Sullivan and I look to hearing more throughout the coming year.
CID: Thank you Peter. As always, it has been a pleasure talking with you today.