Q&A with Denis Hebert, President & CEO HID Global
CS: What are the biggest trends driving the access control market?
Hebert: There are four major trends.The first is the impact of mobility on access control technology, fueled by the emergence of near field communications (NFC) and other technologies. Another key development is the convergence of physical and logical access to create more capable, unified identity platforms.Thirdly, we are also seeing an acceleration of federal mandates for more robust personal identification security.
And finally, there is growing demand for sustainable solutions that support energy initiatives and programs like LEEDS certification for new building construction. Each of these trends is driving significant new innovation as we strive to solve difficult customer problems, while differentiating our offering within an increasingly standards-based market environment.
CS: How is HID Global addressing the impact of mobile technology on the access control industry?
Hebert: We recently demonstrated at ISC West our next-generation reader platform technology, which introduced a new, portable secure identity model that provides advanced security and performance functionality while enabling the use of virtual credentials on mobile devices. The iCLASS Secure Identity Object (SIO) enabled (iCLASS SE) platform goes beyond the traditional smart card model to introduce a secure, standards-based, technology-independent and flexible identity data structure that uses a new portable credential methodology called the Secure Identity Object (SIO).
These SIOs operate within the trusted boundary of our Trusted Identity Platform (TIP), which enables the validation of all endpoints, or nodes (such as credentials, printers, readers and NFC phones) in the network so that transactions between the nodes can be trusted. Our iCLASS SE platform will help usher in a new class of portable identity credentials that can be securely provisioned and safely embedded into both fixed and mobile devices. The platform will also enable users to add levels of security, customize security protection, and extend system capabilities without having to overhaul the device infrastructure and applications. You will start seeing the education market this adopt this technology this year, with the large amount of badges that are issued to students each year.
CS: How do SIOs work?
Hebert: SIOs and their companion SIO interpreters perform similar functions to traditional cards and readers, only using a significantly more secure, flexible and extensible data structure. An SIO is a standards-based, device-independent data object that can exist on any number of devices, including HID’s iCLASS credentials. SIOs deliver three key benefits: portability, security and extensibility.
First, SIOs can live within any TIP Node, or where the SIO will be generated and interpreted by TIP Nodes, and can be ported to other devices – this includes traditional credentials, memory cards containing various card technologies, microprocessor-based cards, smartphones with NFC capabilities, USB tokens, computer disk drives, and many other formats. Second, device-independent SIOs provide another layer of security on top of device-specific security, acting as a data wrapper that provides additional key diversification, authentication and encryption, while guarding against security penetration. Finally, unlike many other fixed-field structures used in today’s access control card and reader systems, SIOs and their interpreters can grow in security capabilities over time.
CS: Will this platform support the trend to converged logical and physical access control solutions?
Hebert: Absolutely. There are a number of elements associated with realizing the vision of convergence, including enablement, enrollment, issuance, authentication, and the management of the identity lifecycle across both logical and physical access. The iCLASS SE platform will play a key role in enabling convergence by delivering enhanced cryptographic security using an extensible, platform-independent data structure, while improving the flexibility to support new standards and technologies over time. Another key element fueling our development of converged solutions was our acquisition of ActivIdentity earlier this year.
This acquisition expands HID Global’s logical access offering with ActivIdentity products that are used to confidently establish a person’s identity for digital interactions. There is a growing demand to combine this capability with the kinds of solutions that HID has traditionally offered for physical access control and secure card issuance. These converged solutions will enable a single smart card to support multiple authentication methods, comply with regulations, and enforce policies throughout the enterprise, providing multilayered security across company networks, systems and facilities, protecting an organization’s intellectual property and information assets
CS: How are you supporting sustainability initiatives?
Hebert: We are taking a number of steps. First, our iCLASS SE technology platform is designed to raise the bar for card-to-reader security while supporting environmental sustainability. Its intelligent power management (IPM) reduces power consumption by as much as 75 per cent compared to standard operating mode, and iCLASS SE readers incorporate recycled content, contributing towards LEED building credits. We also offer a family of ENERGY STAR-rated FARGO direct-to-card printers/encoders that provide organizations with high-performance, energy-efficient solutions for producing professional quality color ID cards with security encoding.
Additionally, we offer cards with BioPVC technology that degrade five times faster than standard PVC cards, offering a cost-effective way to go green by reducing the environmental impact of using plastic cards. And finally, we have entered into partnerships that further advance our green initiatives, ranging from PC logon solutions for ENERGY STAR-rated Dell mobile computers to contactless payment systems for electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations. We also are looking at eco-friendly packaging for future products, environmental management certifications such as ISO 140001, and lean initiatives for continuous process improvements that promote green business practices.
CS: What else is HID Global working on?
Hebert: Another key focus area is badging services, including our Identity on Demand service for corporate customers. Our Identity on Demand service was recently enhanced to include a secure web portal that further simplifies project management while giving customers easier access to the company’s expertise and its broad offering of contactless card technologies. Portals like these provide a simple and secure way for customers to upload and communicate data, photos and other information while reducing the cost and complexity of maintaining and operating a corporate-wide badging infrastructure. Portals also make it easier to manage and re-order existing formats, simplify project status tracking, and increase confidence that sensitive data is protected and that issuance needs can be met within budget and on time with consistently high quality.
CS: ActivIdentity was one of a couple big acquisitions for HID Global this year. Can you tell us a little more about your acquisition strategy this past year?
Hebert: In addition to ActivIdentity, we also recently acquired LaserCard, which further strengthened our worldwide market position in the government ID market, and significantly expanded our portfolio of identity authentication and government-issued credential solutions. By adding these two companies to our growing product family, we now offer one of the industry’s broadest security product portfolios for government and enterprise customers, including RFID cards and readers used for physical access, as well as smart cards, readers and middleware used for secure identity assurance and network authentication, plus secure card printing and issuance solutions. HID products are trusted by millions of government employees, across hundreds of agencies, worldwide. These two acquisitions filled in a number of gaps to create a more complete offering in support of our Genuine HID value proposition.
CS: Can you talk a little more about the Genuine HID value proposition?
Hebert: Genuine HID provides a tangible illustration of the importance of trust, and the value of standardizing on Genuine HID products. The goal of Genuine HID is to extend and enhance the customer experience in terms of product quality, delivery and service through a unique set of value-added customer and channel partner advantages. With Genuine HID, customers benefit from the broadest product line of trusted, fully interoperable secure identity solutions in the market. Our solutions are designed and built in IS0 9001 certified facilities, they include worldwide agency certifications, and they are backed by global product warrantees. They also are supported by industry-leading expertise and the strongest delivery and response platform available. When customers purchase from HID Global, we want them to feel that they are investing with confidence.