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Jan Lunter: ‘In some form, Innovatrics is probably present in every country in the world’
Innovatrics CEO, Jan Lunter, recently sat with TECHBOX and discussed the company’s experiences in deploying its top-ranked technology all over the world. Gracing the cover, he gets candid with the challenges of working in a multicultural dynamic, explains how its customer-driven approach came about, and clears the air concerning privacy issues. Here’s an excerpt of the interview:
(TB) Were you personally present during the population registration of developing countries which implemented your technology?
(JL) The first project in which we were physically present was in Ghana, where our system was used for making biometric passports. We actually cooperated with a large local printing house for the actual passport. To be internationally recognized, they purchased our technology to make their passports more trustworthy. Thanks to biometric data, the passports became highly-secure, making them virtually impossible for people to falsify.
(TB) Has any of your equipment worked a little differently than you had originally intended for?
(JL) As the company continued to grow, it expanded from a narrowly specialized technology to more comprehensive solutions. What we’ve observed from our partners is that they often repeated the same kind of mistakes. It is exactly why we started to be directly involved with our partners by organizing regular trainings. Prior to that, there was none since we assumed they’d easily be able to use our technology. Biometrics was quite simple for us, but we realized later on that it was a difficult domain connected to statistics, mathematics, and error rates. Unfortunately, biometrics is not flawless; there are two kinds of errors connected to it – false accept and false reject. To illustrate these, false accept allows me to open a door and gives access to someone who should not get it. On the contrary, false reject denies granting access to someone who is duly registered. These are very unpleasant errors which significantly undermine the trustworthiness of the biometric system, making it all the more important to set everything correctly.
(TB) Are you still directly involved during the deployment of your technology?
(JL) We are often together with our clients during deployment. In some countries, our staff are physically available 24/7, providing much needed support. Our system is used in the Middle East at border checkpoints. During high season, the number of people crossing the border significantly increases, requiring us to operate nonstop. Even a short 5-minute outage may cause extremely long queues at the border that is why it’s crucial that our staff are present there 24/7. On the other hand, there are many projects in which we participate through system integrators. It’s not necessary for us to have a detailed insight, and we get our know-how indirectly. Having had direct contact with our clients in a completely multicultural setting, we recently organized our first Biocon conference to which we invited our partners, where they could share their know-how. It was interesting to see how a person from Panama had given advice to a person from Indonesia about how they could improve their system.
(TB) How many countries has your software been deployed in?
(JL) In some form, Innovatrics is probably present in every country in the world. In Asia, we’ve cooperated with a door-opening technology producer who uses our software exclusively and sells its products worldwide. There are also quite a lot of countries where we carried out larger projects and registered millions of persons. As a matter of fact, 180 million individuals were registered during our largest project in the Asia-Pacific region.
(TB) What about data? Do you have access to it?
(JL) Data is a very sensitive issue. For this reason, it never goes to any cloud; it is usually stored in a private network outside of the Internet. In most cases, the data is owned by the government of the particular country. We often do it in a manner that our software does not even store original image data, but only their digital models, which are so-called templates. We get access to a database to work on them, but we are constantly being monitored. We take privacy issues very seriously to ensure that we deliver systems that are not only highly-secure but trustworthy.
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