Precise Biometrics: Q&A with Jeff Scott, VP of Sales, North America
Precise Biometrics is a growing force in the biometrics industry today, and over the last year, it’s announced a few major milestones and earned a strong reputation with its Tactivo reader.
The Swedish company has a strong focus on identity management and authentication using smart cards and fingerprint recognition for enterprise and government customers, as well as some recent integrations in consumer devices.
BiometricUpdate.com recently had a chance to chat with Jeff Scott, the company’s VP of sales for North America to talk about the Tactivo reader, as well as the company’s trajectory and upcoming projects.
In his position, Scott has a hand in expanding the company’s expansion into the Americas and into new vertical markets.
With its popular Tactivo reader, as well as its proprietary algorithms, Precise has seen immense growth over the past year.
In April, Precise Biometrics published its 2012 annual report which the company said showed positive development in the mobile market. The company also announced a strong start to 2013, boasting impressive sales statistics for the period ending March 31, 2013, totalling US$2.53 million.
Another significant development, Precise recently signed a frame agreement with Volkswagen, in regards to its Tactivo reader.
Just today, the company announced a licensing agreement with Fingerprint Cards – another Swedish company – to integrate Precise Biometrics algorithms into FPC fingerprint scanners for mobile devices.
BU: Tell me a bit about yourself. What brought you to Precise Biometrics?
JS: I have worked in the identity management and biometric fields for almost 15 years. My career included working both in the US government market and several international markets. Highlights include implementing several identity management systems, deploying and managing a team for one of the largest biometrics systems in the world, organizing one of the first partnerships to build a compliant HSPD-12 system as well as managing and designing portions of the TBCMS (Tactical Biometric Collection Management Systems) for the Navy. I’ve initiated business development efforts as well as a solution design that led to a National ID program for Haiti, I’ve managed operations for portions of the 2012 Presidential elections in Brazil, and most recently, work with Precise Biometrics to bring the Tactivo solution to the US market for secure mobile authentication.
BU: How have your past experiences shaped your role as VP of Sales North America for Precise Biometrics? Also, what are your professional priorities in this position?
JS: My international business experience has prepared me well for my current role at Precise Biometrics. I work with a cross-cultural team, so understanding how to collaborate and communicate well with my team is crucial. I have always had a role in leadership in some way in my past positions that have allowed me to manage both people and locations successfully. Initially it was managing location and IT staff to make sure the hundreds of students we had on any given day had the right equipment and software to learn successfully. After my initial training trip with the State Department, I was recommended to become a deployment manager leading teams over a 6 month-1 year engagement for each embassy and consulate we visited. Most recently, as the operations manager for a large elections project in Brazil, I successfully managed various teams in a number of countries to help create a successful election.
One of my top priorities is to deliver solutions to our customers that add immediate value. We are continuing to grow and expand our team in the Americas, and we are focused on expanding our message to vertical markets looking at implementing smart credential-based projects for secure access to logical, physical, and mobile solutions.
I use the term “smart credential” instead of “smart card” due to the increasing research and development efforts about credentials existing in various locations like the cloud, smart phone, SIM and smart card to name a few.
BU: There’s a lot going on with the Tactivo these days. Can you tell me what’s lined up in terms of future integrations or development?
JS: Growing our ecosystem of solution applications is our main focus right now. Our goal is to enable our partners to be able to offer customers a complete suite of solutions to cover their MDM needs from A through Z. We believe the transition to working in a secure mobile environment must be seamless for the user to have a positive experience. We are committed to improving our products whether it is in the design, ease of integration, or solutions available. We will continue to expand our application offerings and move into markets that have a need for smart credentials and biometrics.
On the product side, we recently expanded into the Android market with the Tactivo mini, a multi-platform device also available for iOS. These devices work in both windows and OS X environments as well, and eliminate the need for multiple smart card readers.
We are committed to creating new cases for the iOS product line and we continue to research other options based on market input. We will also continue improving our iOS and Android SDK’s for the Tactivo.
BU: Where do you see Precise in 5 years?
JS: We have just brought on a new and energized U.S. team to lead the way for the next 5 years. We fully expect to continue to grow our staff as we expand into other verticals outside of government including enterprise, banking, education and healthcare. We are looking at how to best secure assets in an ever growing mobile world. We believe that the technologies that Precise Biometrics has been working on for 17 years will be of great benefit to these security solutions. We have been working with MOC (match-on-card), embedded fingerprint solutions, biometrics, desktop readers and now mobile devices for almost two decades. And, we feel we are just at the tipping point for the majority of industries to start working with this technology. From national IDs to immigration cards, corporate badges to healthcare cards, school badges to drivers licenses, the possibilities are limitless. The real challenge is in getting the solutions deployed and seeing the return on investment for the customer.
BU: What challenges does Precise face in today’s market?
JS: Our biggest challenge in the federal space is very typical — budget. As the government struggles with budgets and prioritizations we will stay committed to our product line so when they are ready to widely deploy secure mobile environments the Tactivo will be ready.
The second challenge is the slow adoption of the technologies such as biometrics, smart credentials and the availability of applications and solutions. We do now feel that we are at a tipping point and that the market is finally catching up to the technology.
BU: Where are you seeing most of your growth? In which vertical markets?
JS: Right now our largest growth is federal and military markets because of the widespread use of federal smart credentials, specifically the PIV, PIV-I, FRAC, TWIC and CAC. We are also seeing an increased interest in countries that have implemented smart credentials as National IDs, enterprise badges or national healthcare credentials. Moving forward, I would say some upcoming industries in the Americas are healthcare, banking and infrastructure security.