“It [Biometrics] is considered the most reliable way of guaranteeing peoples’ identity since each person has his or her own individual characteristics that cannot be changed, lost or stolen. Not to mention that India was one of the first countries to recognise the use of biometrics, since it saw the first development of a fingerprint classification system (the Henry Classification System, developed in the 19th century by two fingerprint experts at the Calcutta Anthropometric Bureau: Azizul Haque and Hem Chandra Bose), which is now the basis of systems used by every police force in the world.”
CEO, Sagem Securite
As a multinational company, how is Sagem Securite represented in India?
Twenty percent of our global workforce is Indian, with more than 1000 employees in New Delhi, Noida and Bangalore. Sagem Securite has an office in New Delhi, subsidiaries in Noida (Smart Chip Limited and Syscom Corporation Limited) with a factory producing 1 million smart cards per day, and another subsidiary, Morpho Detection, in Bangalore. We will shortly announce the creation of Sagem Securite’s own subsidiary in India to further bolster our local presence.
Could you give us a brief overview of solutions provided by you?
Sagem Securite is part of the international group Safran. We develop identification and detection solutions covering both people and goods for our commercial and government customers. We are the world leader in multi-biometric technologies for fingerprint, iris and face recognition, a global leader in the smart card industry and an acknowledged expert in identification and detection systems.
Our solutions meet a wide range of security needs for individuals, businesses and governments worldwide, including identity management, personal rights for residents and travelers, physical access to airports or other high-value sites, and logical access – either online or via secure terminals.
Sagem Securite is a very dynamic company, and is poised to become a major growth driver for the Safran group. Within a few years, we will generate about 20% of the Group’s consolidated sales.
Please elaborate on the landmarks covered so far.
Sagem Securite is the only company today that encompasses every aspect of identifi cation, multi-biometrics (fi ngerprint, iris and face recognition), smart cards, detection and data security systems.
Over the last 35 years, Sagem Securite has installed some 450 major systems in more than 100 countries and has delivered 300 million secure ID documents (ID cards, passports or visas, driver licenses or health cards). We have established long-standing relationships with some of the world’s most demanding clients, stretching back more than 20 years. We have deployed nationwide biometrics solutions in just about every type of environment on the planet. Our solutions are proven in the fi eld and regularly updated; for example, 3/4 of Sagem Securite’s workforce is composed of engineers. Through feedback from our clients, we continuously improve our learning curve. At the same time, we are always facing new challenges, which is extremely motivating for everybody in the company.
Why would you say that biometrics is a critical part of security?
Fighting identity theft has never been so necessary, as today, if we are to guarantee homeland security. We all know that fake identities can have very serious consequences, as shown by crimes, terrorism and illegal immigration. Biometrics is highly recommended as the best solution to counter these threats. It is considered the most reliable way of guaranteeing peoples’ identity since each person has his or her own individual characteristics that cannot be changed, lost or stolen. Not to mention that India was one of the fi rst countries to recognise the use of biometrics, since it saw the fi rst development of a fi ngerprint classifi cation system (the Henry Classifi cation System, developed in the 19th century by two fi ngerprint experts at the Calcutta Anthropometric Bureau: Azizul Haque and Hem Chandra Bose), which is now the basis of systems used by every police force in the world.
Above all, the applications of biometrics concern society as a whole, an approach which is at the heart of our company’s founding values. These functions are particularly important in India. Biometrics is the best way to safeguard people’s ability to prove their identity, which not only gives them access to benefi ts or services, but also protects their political and economic rights. In short, biometrics can be seen as a critical instrument for protecting and empowering people, and enabling them to enjoy the most elementary right: acknowledgement of existence as a person in their own right.
What projects are you working on with the Indian government?
Sagem Securite already participated in the pilot ID card program by supplying Bharat Electronics Limited, BEL with the hardware and software needed to capture biometric data. We are also involved in many social schemes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), Rashtriya Swastya Bima Yojana (RSBY), Public Distribution System (PDS), Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) and MNIC 1 & 2 (Multipurpose National Identity Card).
An important aspect of citizen empowerment and security in India will be addressed by the UID Project; how do you see your involvement?
First, the UID Project is a major technological challenge since very few companies are capable of successfully implementing such a large database.Sagem Securite has already proven its ability to deploy large-scale projects, in Albania, France, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Malaysia and other countries – although these are of course limited compared to the impressive scale of the UID project.
Looking beyond the solely technological aspects, the UID project also gives us the opportunity to take part in a project that will support India’s development and take advantage of the demographic dividend to keep moving forward. This is at the heart of Sagem Securite’s mission and refl ects our ongoing commitment to India. The UID Project is clearly a transformational initiative that will change the course of biometrics technology. \\