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In The Boardroom With...

Mr. David Benini
VP of Marketing

Aware, Inc.

Updated October 22, 2015

Aware, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2015 Financial Results

Rick Moberg, Aware's co-chief executive officer and chief financial officer, said, "This was an unusual financial quarter for us in that orders we expected to receive during the quarter slipped into the next quarter and we recorded a large income tax benefit.  The income tax benefit was the result of a positive IRS audit outcome.

"As we have discussed in previous earnings releases, our strategy is to broaden our biometrics business through opportunities in commercial markets. We are pleased to report progress towards that goal in the third quarter with the signing of a software license agreement with Certisign in Brazil.  Certisign is the largest supplier of digital certificates in Brazil. We have been working with them since the summer of 2014 to develop and pilot test a new biometric identity proofing and authentication service they intend to offer their customers. The signing of the software license agreement signifies the beginning of the service rollout phase.

"Certisign's target customers include banks, retailers, telecoms, healthcare providers, and government agencies that want to reduce fraud by authenticating the identity of their customers and employees through a software-as-a-service model. Biometric enrollment and identity proofing can be conducted either at a customer's premises or at one of Certisign's 1,400+ retail locations.  Biometric authentication is performed by a customer's staff using workstations installed at the location of their choice.

"Certisign's platform and service offering was built on key Aware software products, including Biometric Services Platform (BioSP™), Nexa™, Inquire™, and Astra™. The enrollment and verification stations will be branded by Certisign and were built using Aware's NISTPack, SequenceCheck™, LiveScan API, PreFace™, and IrisCheck™ SDKs.

Aware will receive a per-transaction fee for Certisign's right to use our software in their system. We are excited by what this partnership may mean for Aware's business."

For more information, please click here 

Aware is a NASDAQ-listed supplier of biometrics software products and solutions. David has been an active participant in the biometrics arena since 2002.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Great to hear from Aware again, David.  Tell us what’s been going on at Aware since we last heard from you back in 2007.

 David Benini: A lot has happened in eight years, but the most notable changes for Aware have been a transition to becoming a pure-play biometrics software company, and an invigorated focus on R&D that has resulted in a significant expansion of our product portfolio. Our broad biometrics software suite now enables us to deliver complete, customized biometric solutions—most often through our system integrator customers—as a one-stop biometrics software and services partner. 

We had always had strength in biometric enrollment, and now we also provide a biometric services platform, high-performance fingerprint, face, and iris search algorithms, advanced text search and identity analytics, a cluster computing platform, forensic analysis applications…upwards of thirty products all designed to be rapidly configured and assembled by Aware and partners like pieces in a puzzle to provide complete, customized solutions. 

Back in 2007 we had just announced the first major deployment of our “Biometric Services Platform” (BioSP™) by NASA. BioSP has since advanced substantially in functionality and scalability, and is now the brains behind around fifty large-scale biometric systems.  We have since delivered solutions to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, US Navy and Marines, Certisign, and many others.  We like to work with systems integrators with in-country presence and expertise, but if the situation does not warrant that relationship we also work with the end customers directly.

Owners of Aware-based solutions like them because they know they’re getting not only best-in-class software performance, functionality and support, but also an open, modular architecture that will allow them to evolve their system as technologies and requirements change and grow over time; they won’t be bound to any particular technology or supplier.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: You mentioned Certisign. Aware recently announced that it is helping Certisign deploy a new biometrics-as-services offering in Brazil called Certibio.  Can you please elaborate on that release?

David Benini: Certisign is the largest certificate authority in Latin America, and is now introducing biometrics-as-services in Brazil through its new subsidiary, Certibio. Identity fraud prevention services are in high demand in Brazil and very synergistic with Certisign’s current business. The new services aim to help Certibio customers reduce identity fraud by enabling them to use biometrics to thoroughly verify an applicant’s identity information and ensure the integrity of their identity data. Biometrics collected in this process can then be used in the future to quickly verify the identities of individuals enrolled in the system.

A wide variety of services and privileges can be better protected, including digital certificate issuance, healthcare, driver’s licenses, telecom services, bank accounts, government services, and even registration of new companies. Aware has provided Certisign with the identity platform and much of the biometrics software used to build the sizable infrastructure needed to support thousands of endpoints, millions of users, and many millions of daily transactions.

A critical goal of the cloud-based service is to be able to support a variety of different customers and to satisfy whatever specific requirements a given customer might have. For example, a customer might already have biometric data that they want to leverage as part of the service; this is expected to be the case among some government customers. Some customers might want to use fingerprints, while another might want to use voice or some other modality.  They might want the biometric data storage, search, and match operations to occur on their own private cloud; this can also be supported.  These types of special requirements can each be accommodated with the modular architecture and technology deployed in the Certibio system.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: How will the Certibio service work for an average Brazilian?

David Benini: There will be differences among customers but generally speaking, an applicant for a new account, job, or government benefit will be informed by the sponsoring company or agency—a customer of Certibio—that their identity information must first be verified using the Certibio system.

If the applicant is already enrolled in Certibio, the sponsor might use a biometric workstation at their facility to collect some identity information and biometrics, used to either confirm that the identity they are presenting is consistent with that on record, or to discover an inconsistency.

If the applicant is not already enrolled, they must first do so at one of Certisign’s 1400 retail locations, or perhaps alternatively onsite at the sponsor facilities. This process includes a biometric “identity proof”; a biometric search that detects if the individual is already enrolled in the system with different identity information. The purpose of this process is also to ensure that 1) each person has only
one identity in the system, 2) the identity data is accurate and consistent, and 3) the biometrics collected are of sufficient quality to be used for future biometric identity verifications. Once an applicant is properly enrolled in Certibio, there are issued a unique ID number, and their identity can quickly be biometrically verified in the future.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Why Brazil? Why now?

David Benini: The motivation behind implementing robust identity assurance measures is the problem of financial fraud, which is big enough in Brazil that there is ROI that can be earned fairly quickly on investments in identity fraud reduction. Brazil is traditionally ahead of the curve in their use of strong identity systems. Brazil has long been a leader in adoption of biometrics, and the government actually legislated the implementation of a national PKI system back in 2001. Certibio biometrics-as-services is a natural evolution of these types of innovative identity initiatives. It also helps that there is a history of successful public-private partnerships in Brazil that help the private sector share some of the risk and reward with the government.

Biometric identity proofing and authentication has been around for some time, but until now, purchase and deployment of the necessary systems only made sense for a certain segment of the market. Biometrics-as-services changes that, just as software-as-a-service has changed the enterprise software landscape. The subscription-based or pay-per-use cost structure and lower upfront investment associated with a services model makes feature-rich, biometrics-powered identity solutions available to just about anybody.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Where is Aware in all this?

David Benini: Certisign uses many Aware software products to build its biometric services solution.  The system employs a modular, flexible, multi-tiered architecture built around Aware’s Biometric Services Platform (BioSP™) product running at its core and also at distributed nodes. BioSPs handle workflow, transaction routing, data storage, system administration, and many other tasks; they basically tie the whole system together. Our Nexa™ biometric match algorithms are used to centrally to perform biometric searching and matching, with the help of the Astra™ cluster computing platform, which allows the matching to be distributed across multiple computing nodes in a cloud. Inquire™ is used for fuzzy text-based identity data search and match. Most of our family of biometric enrollment SDKs for fingerprint, face, and iris were used to build the Certibio enrollment and verification workstations. Our software here helps assure that the capture process is quick and easy, that the image data collected is of high quality, and that the workstations can easily operate with different capture peripherals. Aware will receive a per-transaction fee for Certisign’s right to use Aware’s software in the system. Readers can download our new white paper for more information about identity proofing, biometrics-as-services, and Certibio.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: How’s the future look?

David Benini: I expect Certibio will inspire adoption of biometrics-as-services in other parts of the world. Biometrics-as-services will ultimately become a much bigger part of the biometrics landscape globally. Biometric identity proofing will also gain traction outside public-sector applications.

For Aware, I expect the knowledge, insights, and technology improvements gained from our role in deploying such a large-scale solution making use of virtually our entire product line will be invaluable towards future biometrics-as-services deployments.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thanks, David. It will be interesting to see more introductions of biometric-as-services as well as biometric identity proofing used in the private sector. Congratulations on the win.

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