Q&A with Richard Parris, Chairman and CEO of Intercede

Hi Richard, can you introduce yourself and your company?
My name is Richard Parris. I am the Chief Executive of Intercede Group plc. Intercede is a UK software company listed on the London Stock Exchange. We produce software to enable companies and governments to issue trusted identities to employees and citizens.

You were invited to speak at the UKTI’s Global Business Summit on ICT, why was that?Richard
I was invited to speak at this event to help showcase the best of British creativity. It was an opportunity for us to demonstrate how businesses innovation can help bolster the UK’s economy beyond the London Olympics.

Given that technology is often at the heart of innovation we wanted to show how Intercede’s solutions could be used in conjunction with emerging technologies such as NFC to secure digital identities for future access to the Games 2016 in Brazil and other major sporting events.   

The advent of the Cloud, the drive for governments to deliver digital services by default and heightened concerns about cyber security are driving the world to become a more identity centric place. It is forecast that by 2016 2.5 billion people will have a national electronic ID card and 1 billion people will have a smartphone. Providing the technology to enable these devices to be personalised with a trusted digital identity is Intercede’s business.

So who does Intercede actually work with?
More than 5 million people worldwide use digital credentials managed by Intercede’s MyID software to prove who they are in the real world and in cyberspace. 

Corporations such as Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed Martin, and governments including the USA, UK and Kuwait, trust Intercede’s deep expertise to deliver digital identities for employees and citizens on secure devices such as smartcards, smartphones and tablets.  The company’s technology achievements reflect an investment of 300 plus man years of development, exemplary speed of deployment and adherence to international standards including FIPS 201, where MyID® was the first electronic personalisation product to obtain GSA approval.  This trust is reflected in Intercede’s rate of repeat business with its customers, which typically runs at 70-80% of annual revenues. 

Can you explain why trusted identities are so important?
The Olympics provide a great platform to envision how we may all be using digital credentials in the future. The Games bring together large numbers of people from countries all around the world. They require feats of coordination, security, and communication that are truly Olympian in scale. None of these activities would be possible without the means to establish and prove the identities of the people involved.

Today, this is achieved by a combination of surface printed security passes and paper tickets for spectators. In spite of best endeavours, this model is always going to be open to subversion, racketeering and counterfeiting. It is costly to implement and manage.

So, is there a better way?

Yes there is:

  • Imagine if tickets could be purchased through a Cloud Service and issued over the air on to mobile phones with the ability to subsequently change or cancel  the ticket
  • Imagine if visitors and staff could use their phones to pass through automatic barriers with more convenience and security
  • Imagine the enhanced audience experience of having digital media streamed to smart phones while the digital rights of the content providers are protected.

The technology is here today and Intercede is already playing a role in the realisation of actual solutions.

Can you explain this by way of illustration?

By way of illustration, I have one of the latest Android phones loaded with a ticket downloaded from a Cloud service using MyID.  It is stored in a PIN-protected area of the phone that is resistant to attack. I can use this credential to securely access other Cloud services or use the phone’s NFC touch-and-go capability to authenticate myself to a person or application in the real world.

Working in reverse and playing the role of a security guard, I can also use the same phone as a security pass or ticket validater. Using an Intercede MyID app I have downloaded from the Google Play store, the phone can read and display a credential stored on another NFC device such as this smartcard.

This is very impressive and does look feasible but can it really work?
I believe this is the game changer. It creates the prospect of putting secure identities into the hands of consumers using devices they already own.  The same devices can then be used for peer-to-peer validation of identities between phone users and between phone users and service providers. Add attributes into the mix and we have a powerful platform to validating electronic tickets, proof of age, benefits entitlement and many other applications in a far more secure and private way than has previously been possible and at much lower cost.

This is a technology and consumer revolution that has the potential to step change how we all assert and prove our trustworthiness in the Cloud and the real world.




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