INTERVIEW: Morpho (Safran)’s Yves Portalier


INTERVIEW: Morpho (Safran)'s Yves PortalierWe are on the verge of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, where Morpho (Safran) will be showing off a wide range of solutions under the overarching banner or “Enjoying life in a connected world.” In preparation for next week’s major mobility event, Mobile ID World president Peter O’Neill spoke with Yves Portalier—Vice President & General Manager for the Telecom Business Unit at Morpho. The conversation begins with a look at what Morpho will be exhibiting at MWC, goes on to discuss the company’s involvement with the FIDO Alliance, and delves into Internet of Things and B2B applications. The discussion concludes with talk of Morpho’s recent highlights including its being named Vodafone Group’s Supplier of the Year.


Peter O’Neill, President, Mobile ID World: The Mobile World Congress is occurring this week, what will Morpho be showing at this year’s gathering?

Yves Portalier, Vice President & General Manager, Telecom Business Unit, Morpho (Safran): This year we will demonstrate the way that Morpho delivers convenience and security at every stage of the customer’s journey. This is focussed on how we are handling identity, privacy and easing the life of the user in a connected world with integrated and seamless security. This is the big theme, and is translated into the different services or solutions that we offer such as customer registration, mobile identity, customer authentication, and flexible connectivity. As a world leader in biometrics, of course this is translated into the various demonstrations including transactions that are enabled through biometrics in the telecom and the payment environment. We will also have demonstrations around the growing Internet of Things and M2M applications.

MIDW: Wow a lot going on. You recently announced that the Morpho facial recognition solution for smart phones and tablets has been certified by FIDO, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Morpho: As you may know we are a member of the FIDO Alliance and are developing solutions that are FIDO certified. Our technology will enable most devices to benefit from facial recognition solutions. So this is the first step and the purpose is to enable multiple use cases in the mobile environment, making the link between physical people and digital identities; biometrics is definitely the way to perform that. At MWC, one of our demos will show how we have extended the GSMA Mobile Connect solution to incorporate FIDO biometric authentication, which exemplifies our approach of using secure technology to deliver even greater convenience to the customer – this demo will be on our stand at GSMA Innovation City, in the “Futures” section of the Mobile Connect area.

MIDW: A little earlier you mentioned several vertical markets. We just completed our 14th annual Year in Review, and several markets especially around mobile technology have been gaining growth. What vertical markets do you see your mobile technology having the greatest impact… I’m thinking of the payment industry, enterprise security, etc.?

Morpho: Yes, financial institutions, and especially payment use cases, benefit most from mobile technologies. Payment is a vertical market by itself but also impacts many applications and customer experience.

We also see a significant growth in Machine to Machine (M2M) applications linked to the development of new kinds of connected objects that need to be connected securely to a network. A secure connection ensures the data will be trusted, that the increasing flow of data can be securely managed, and therefore that valid decisions based on this data can be made. Beyond the traditional mobile or tablet device use cases, new B2B use cases covering industrial and automotive businesses are booming: connecting machines and cars is enabling a wide range of new services and revenue opportunities. One of the challenges is to connect these B2B use cases to the increasing choice of network technologies and from there to interconnect with different services. We offer solutions that enable seamless and flexible connectivity for M2M and consumer devices, and many possibilities to secure data and transactions. We will have demonstrations during MWC which highlight the new potential for these markets.

MIDW: That is very interesting and I couldn’t agree more as again in our most recent Year in Review it became clear the IoT and the huge amount of big data that will be flowing from all of those connected devices and sensors, will need to be securely handled. Morpho is well positioned in that area. Is that correct?

Morpho: This is definitely the case. We are providing hardware products and services for enabling this new market to take off. Enabling such new business opportunities requires us to remove all roadblocks that may occur. Developing partnerships is one way to combine the strength of several parties, and this is an approach we are taking that will be demonstrated by announcements to come.

MIDW: What are some of the highlights for you from this past year?

Morpho: I would like to start with the reward we received from Vodafone Group, who awarded us Supplier of the Year. Each year Vodafone Group selects among the huge group of its suppliers the company that has the best performance, and it was a great honor and a great pleasure to be awarded Supplier of the Year. It pushes us as a team to continue to work in partnership and in close relationships with our customers and partners in the industry.

Illustrating our capacity to deliver convenience and security all along the customer’s journey, we initiated significant activities last year around customer registration, also called customer enrolment in some regions. We have already announced one pilot on this topic in India, as described in our recent Press Release with Airtel. To verify the identity, and register customers will be a real benefit for the service providers and especially for the mobile network operators in the coming years. In some parts of the world this is also necessary to meet their local regulatory requirements. When we speak about authenticating customers and enabling them to perform transactions, whatever the category of transaction, it can be done in a safe and accurate way if the customer registration has enabled us to collect and verify the right set of information. Therefore providing solutions that are convenient, simple to use and as digital as possible, is something we now have significant experience in, thanks to many projects with customers. This was illustrated by pilot programs in 2015 and highlights our capacity to leverage biometrics technologies for various applications in the telecom business. During MWC we will show this capability in a number of demos including online solutions to register customers securely, and to simplify the process for the service provider and operator. One demo of particular note is the biometric customer registration and verification solutions in use in India, which uses the Aadhaar number and performs biometric verification against the UIDAI biometric database, the world’s largest biometric database. It will be great to have this on our stand!

MIDW:  I would like to thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. It sounds like it has been a successful year for Morpho and I look forward to meeting you in Barcelona to see some of the new products and activities that you have there.

Morpho: Thanks again Peter. See you in Barcelona.