As we all adapt to working in a new Covid-19 world, Stefan K. Persson, CEO, Precise Biometrics shares his insight on what he feels the future will hold for Precise and the wider biometrics and identity industry…
These are strange times for us all. At Precise we have just completed the cycle of reporting for our last financial year which was very successful across the board – from implementation of our new strategy to our team’s achievements and of course to meeting robust financial goals. So we’re really proud of what we delivered last year. But, like everyone else, we are now working in a time of uncertainty. Building on all the planning and testing we carried out before Covid-19 struck, our operation remains at 100 percent and I am proud of how everyone at Precise has pulled together. Working from home has enabled new and innovative ways to collaborate – team coffee breaks via Microsoft Teams, daily ‘stand up’ meetings and international office meetings each Friday to end the week between our teams in China, Sweden and the USA. The fantastic news is that despite the changing ways of working, we have already closed two new deals – all without actually meeting the clients in person! This is something I don’t think could have happened before Covid-19 and it’s something to consider more fully once we come through and are post-virus. How much can we do entirely in the digital world and reduce areas like international travel? How can we make remote and flexible working succeed for many more people than ever before?
Looking to the future, I see digital identity as being a key focus for us. The size of the opportunity cannot be underestimated and as we’re already seeing, the impact of COVID-19 is accelerating digital transformation across the world. We think this area has huge potential and will be the next big area of business for us in the longer term. It won’t happen immediately of course and in the short to medium term, our mobile phone business continues to be an important focus. The Precise YOUNiQ solution builds on our key strengths and highly regarded expertise in the mobile phone industry. Our focus for the coming months and years will be to continue the development of this product. Last year we successfully established Precise YOUNiQ through proof of concept pilots in our own offices and with some small selected customers in Sweden. We’re now expanding to customers across the Nordics with Precise YOUNiQ for access being used by the large gym group Friskis & Svettis, a solar cell technology company and a temporary space organisation that builds modules for facilities like oil rigs and windmills. Our solution is ideal for companies like these with high levels of members, temporary staff and visitors to their premises – no more expensive, cumbersome and time consuming processes to issue keys or other physical tags. Authorised personnel are simply onboarded at a convenient time digitally and then enter the facility easily via facial recognition which is matched against the selfie they provided during onboarding. Importantly during this time of heightened hygiene, there is no need to touch anything in order to enter the facility – no pin pad, no tags. And you can be sure that the right person only has been granted access.
One of the interesting pilots we are currently carrying out is in hospital storage area facilities. It is even more important right now to ensure that only authorised staff have access to these lockers so that stock levels are accurately accounted for. Precise YOUNiQ makes sure that the lockers can be accessed safely, securely and conveniently without the need to touch anything except the supplies being collected.
We are now starting discussions with potential customers in Asia, demonstrating the simplicity and security of Precise YOUNiQ through our office there and we’ll look to start pilots internationally as well as engaging with larger customers. Our vision is that no matter who you are, where you are or what you are doing, you should always have access to your digital identity, controlled by you, securely and easily.
The impact of the virus will also be seen in areas such as biometric smartcards where there is a clear benefit in being able to make cashless payments without capped spending limits in a touchless, hygienic way. However the ecosystem is a complex one and I foresee significant price pressure to come. While we’ll see some small volumes from later this year, our expectation is that real volumes are a couple of years away. As well as getting the price point right, the industry needs to deliver an excellent customer experience, so for now it’s all about stabilising the quality to deliver that fantastic, secure experience.
Finally for the year ahead we’ll be continuing to deliver our financial objectives, keeping our foundations robust, so we can ensure sustained growth into the future. I am certainly positive that with our great team we’ll be ready for all the challenges and opportunities this year brings.