KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 ― Malaysian tech firm Iris Corporation Bhd is making headway towards refocusing and establishing itself in trusted identity verification solutions, with direct clients across the globe while also providing technical input, consultation and advice for a number of others.
Iris Corp is well regarded by its global peers, since ensuring Malaysia became the world’s first to deploy e-passports in 1998.
“We have had the opportunity to provide our Trusted ID solutions to 34 different clients with different needs and operating in different environments.
“So we don’t see ourselves as just vendors, we are partners of growth for our clients from all across the globe,” group chief executive officer Shaiful Subhan said when interviewed.
Returning to this focused approach, which has spanned a wide range of projects since the late 1990s ― from a secure smart card project in Canada to fast-tracked deployments in a number of African nations ― has also seen Iris Corp return to profitability in the last two years.
“Rationalising the non-core, loss-making businesses have contributed to substantial cost savings,” said Shaiful, noting how these divestments had seen a turnaround at Iris Corp after four years in the red.
“We want to be known as a leading player in the Trusted ID space both domestically and internationally.
“A company with strong fundamentals, known for a solid delivery record and providing value to all our stakeholders.”
He’s confident this target is achievable with the firm’s “Innovative, Relevant, Intelligent & Secure (IRIS)” mantra and continued achievements ― evidenced by a range of patents and other global certifications and awards.
Iris Corp is nimble when deploying solutions, reducing unnecessary complexity of solutions to ensure a better fit between new devices and legacy systems.
And because not every client can afford to pay for the ‘best systems’ but still need world-class solutions, this “IRIS” approach often ends up being a far more affordable option.
Shaiful said the ongoing contract to supply polycarbonate citizenship identity cards in Bhutan is an example of how Iris Corp delivered a cost-effective relevant solution which remained compatible with legacy systems.
“We’ve done the same with our longest continuous client Nigeria, which launched Africa’s first e-Passport with biometrics in 2003, working with what they originally had and progressively helping them upgrade within their budgets for the e-Passports.”
Such an agile perspective has let Iris Corp deliver fast results to clients.
In 2016, Iris Corp deployed in just four months the Senegal ECOWAS Biometric eID national identity card, which also functions as a voting card and a valid regional travel document – much faster than the typical period of six to 12 months.
In addition, Iris Corp also helped Solomon Islands launch the first e-Passport system in the South Pacific region and new e-Gates for border control.
All this was possible because Iris Corp is careful not to be too intricately tied up with vendor solutions, taking client's needs first.
“The ‘best solutions’ sometimes force clients to adapt instead.
“That doesn’t necessarily produce desired results,” noted Shaiful.
By taking the path less travelled, Iris Corp has chalked up an impressive track record of delivering around 100 million e-Passports, more than 150 million e-IDs/driving license cards and deployed around 230,000 contactless card readers in 28 countries.
Hence, he says Iris Corp is really proud to be the only company in Malaysia to have received the Integraf High Security Printing certification ― seen as a global standard against counterfeiting.
“Clients look to us because of our practicality about limits on resources and infrastructure available, our global expertise and strong customer-centric culture.
“During the movement control order (MCO), our employees worked from home to ensure business continuity and to maintain close communication with our clients and business partners by supporting them virtually.
“Our focus on growing our Trusted ID business is unwavering.
“To complement this, we will also explore adjacent solutions which will enhance our Trusted ID offerings, for example, new biometric technologies as well as digitalisation in order to develop new revenue streams for the company,” Shaiful said.