Interview with Tom Grissen, CEO, Daon Inc.
Feb-20-08 fB Would you say 2007 was a good year for Daon and if so, why? TG Yes, it was a good year for Daon because it was a great year for our customers and partners. We helped our systems integrator and technology partners win key contracts around the world. We helped our end government customers advance their mission as they successfully deployed national identity programs. It was professionally very satisfying to see high priority programs such as TWIC successfully deploy and to see Daon technology power biometrics projects for one of the world’s largest economies. Keeping the customers’ mission success at the heart of our efforts is what led to our growth at a pace significantly above the industry average. fB With all your recent contract wins in various countries around the world, it seems that Daon has positioned itself as a platform leader for biometrics and identity management. What is it about your software platform that sets it apart from others in the market? TG Customers around the world are increasing sophisticated and see the architectural challenges in managing identity data. The proper system architecture can greatly simplify the management of identity data. Our customers have witnessed the unmatched flexibility, scalability and security when DaonEngine is part of the enterprise architecture for managing identity data. Specifically, our flexible searching and matching infrastructure delivers a comprehensive range of identification and authentication features, allowing any combination of descriptors to be used to authenticate a human identity. fB We understand that congratulations are in order and that your product leadership has been confirmed with an important industry award. TG Can you tell us about that? Yes, Peter, thanks for mentioning it. We are proud to announce that Daon is the recipient of the 2008 Frost & Sullivan Global Biometrics Product Line Strategy Leadership of the Year Award. This is not an award competition where companies submit an
entry. The nominees are selected as Frost & Sullivan analysts research various projects in the market and conduct interviews with customers, partners and even competitors. It is an extensive process and we are pleased to be identified by independent analysts as the product leader in our space. It certainly validates our platform leadership position. fB There’s been talk for a number of years about the "convergence" of physical and logical access control and now are actually starting to see evidence of that convergence, both at government facilities and in large corporations. What role does Daon play in that emerging space? TG As convergence becomes a reality, organizations want to be able to leverage their existing assets. Our products make that possible. DaonEngine operates with no preference for specific technology. Its deployment architecture is designed to use any algorithm, any device, any token or credential. It provides a uniform management structure across multiple identity mechanisms including biometrics (finger, face, and eye), smart cards, tokens, RFIDs, PINs and passwords. Within a solution, this flexibility allows an organization to add or change identity descriptors throughout a system lifecycle creating an environment for technology competition which helps keep long-term ownership costs down. fB What direction will your product line take in 2008? TG First and foremost, our products are a direct reflection of our customers’ needs. Continuous dialogue with our unique cross-section of customers and partners around the world drives the direction of our products. We believe our products are more closely aligned with the real-world requirements of our customers than any other company in the market. Our product roadmap builds on our commitment to security and privacy in human credentialing. We continue to develop products that will scale from a few thousand to multi-millions of enrollments while enabling end-user customers and system integrators to build flexible, cost-effective and reliable solutions. Daon Partner Advantage program helps our partners build off of our program and further opens Daon intellectual property to our partner network. fB The use of biometrics in border management and national ID programs is a hot topic among politicians, particularly during recent elections in Australia and the UK and during the current political campaigns in the US. Is your business affected by changes in political power and how do you plan for those events? TG Of course, new administrations may bring different approaches to identity management issues, but regardless of political agendas, leaders in today’s world understand the need to develop
programs that provide security for citizens, as well as effective means for administering benefits while eliminating identity fraud. The flexibility of our products allows us to be responsive to the changing needs of governments and to provide solutions for emerging requirements. fB Government customers continue to drive the requirements and provide the largest opportunities in biometrics. Do you see that changing in the next few years, and if so, what commercial sectors do you believe hold the most promise? TG Technology solutions are often proven in large-scale deployments in the government before being adopted in the private sector. Most industry analysts are predicting a gradual increase in biometrics adoption in select commercial verticals over the next few years with financial services and healthcare leading the charge. Daon has forged strategic relationships to assist us in penetrating these emerging markets. Watch for announcements on these partnerships from us in the coming months.
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