In The Boardroom With...
Mr. Jim Miller
Chairman and CEO
ImageWare Systems, Inc.
SSW: It's a pleasure to chat with you again today, Jim. It's been
several years since our first interview with you and congratulations on
the progress you have achieved with ImageWare, Systems, Inc. (IWS)!
Before we drill down into the most recent important events at IWS, let's
discuss IWS solutions. One will read on
.is a leading developer of identity management solutions,
providing biometric, secure credential and law enforcement technologies.
Scalable for worldwide deployment, ImageWare's biometric product line
includes a multi-biometric engine that is hardware and algorithm independent,
enabling the enrollment and management of unlimited population sizes.
ImageWare's identification products are used to manage and issue secure
credentials, including national IDs, passports, driver's licenses, smart
cards and access control credentials. ImageWare's digital booking products
provide law enforcement with integrated mug shot, fingerprint livescan
and investigative capabilities." Please give us an overview of the
solutions IWS brings to market.
Jim Miller: ImageWareŽ Systems, Inc., ("IWSY") has spent the last decade delivering
patented, highly innovative, advanced identity management solutions emphasizing
biometrics, public safety, secure credentialing and controlled access.
Our company is currently in the midst of a significant transformation
as we leverage our proven expertise of successfully implementing device
and algorithm-independent, multi-biometric and card management solutions
to introduce our next generation product offerings. IWS started with a
clean slate and re-engineered our technology to create highly modularized,
Enterprise Class, multi-biometric identity management and advanced credentialing
platform software optimized for biometric matching performance and configuration
flexibility. Our next generation biometric identity management and advanced
credentialing platform includes 1) A set of configurable, server-based
software modules designed to add or enhance biometric identity management
and credential issuance capabilities to existing applications or support
the development of these capabilities in new end-to-end applications,
2) A set of configurable business service layer software modules designed
to enable existing or new applications to leverage the capabilities of
the biometric identity management and advanced credentialing platform,
and 3) A set of configurable client-based applications that provide out-of-the-box
biometric enrollment, identification and verification, as well as card
printing and encoding capabilities designed to enable rapid development
and deployment of biometric identity management and advanced credentialing
SSW:We understand you recently introduced version 2.0 of your flagship Biometric Engine and that this represents an evolutionary leap in physical security identification at airports, seaports and other critical points-of-access. Care to elaborate?
Jim Miller: The Biometric Engine® or BE 2.0 is the first release and the anchor
component of our next generation biometric identity management and advanced
credentialing platform. The BE 2.0-based server platform will enable rapid
development and deployment of highly-configurable, cost effective, "Future
Proof" modular, physical and logical security identification solutions.
This game-changing approach means that IWS clients who need to secure
critical access points such as borders, airports, seaports and electronic
commerce transactions can obtain physical and logical security through
an identification solution designed to continuously adapt to evolving
market requirements, technology advancements, and specific customer needs.
BE 2.0 addresses the requirements for the highest level of multi-modal and multi-factor authentication. We have designed solutions that are in compliance with international standards,
"Future Proof" (or agnostic to rapidly changing hardware and algorithms) while at the same time able to support legacy systems.
SSW: What are your target markets and what is your perspective on the market drivers and value proposition for ImageWare solutions in these challenging economic times?
Jim Miller: The Biometric Identity market is being increasingly driven by the desire
of public sector and commercial entities to provide efficient, cost effective,
trusted and reliable identification infrastructures. We believe the most
significant market opportunities to help build these infrastructures with
our next generation product line are in the following target markets:
- Airport/Seaport MultiBiometic Screening and Credentialing
- Large Scale Civil ID - (i.e. MultiBiometic Screening and Credentialing
for borders and eIDs)
- E&M Commerce (i.e. Digital ID Transactions)
Our proven market vision and legacy expertise of innovating patented software-based,
multi-biometric and advanced card-based identity solutions, with all its
challenges and struggles, has advanced our understanding of biometric-based
identity, uniquely qualifying us to define and deliver the software foundation
for next generation biometric identification infrastructures.
The future will be dictated by mobile applications and operating in the
"Cloud." Mobile applications, Cloud and SaaS initiatives will,
in many instances, require authentication of the end-user. Smart card
standard data models have focused on multi-modal biometrics and this standardization
helps drive the market.
While we agree that the anonymous user experience is a positive aspect
of the Internet, there are transactions (i.e. e-medical records, legal
contracts, financial transactions, national intelligence, collaboration
in the areas of academic research as well as pharmaceutical, aerospace
and defense industries) that require the authentication of parties involved.
The Federal NSTIC or National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace
which addresses the need for a trusted identity ecosystem is actively
engaging in efforts to promote and secure the economic vitality of cyber
ICAO and NIST standards have been developed that recognize biometrically
enabled authentication to be among the strongest levels of assurance for
SSW: Congratulations on the recent win with Los Angeles World Airports. Without divulging any proprietary or confidential information, of course, can you share with us more about the solutions IWS delivered here?
Jim Miller: Los Angeles World Airport is the flagship deployment for our next generation
biometric identity management and advanced credentialing platform. When
this solution is fully implemented-which we expect by Q4 2012-it will
not only deliver a state of the art biometric-based airport credentialing
solution, but will also ensure that the Los Angeles World Airports can
adapt this credentialing solution to meet developing needs and evolving
technology capabilities, thus "Future Proofing" their investment
for the long term. Our BE 2.0 platform allows our clients to treat biometrics
as a "plug-and-play" model while safeguarding the underlying
data. Our recent selection in Ecuador to provide biometric credentials
for the country's seaports is a replication of this implementation in
the Spanish language.
SSW: Your Case Studies
speak volumes about the leadership position IWS has achieved in your
space. Are there any other "wins" or success stories you'd like
Jim Miller: Our work with the US Veterans Administration, one of the largest providers
of health care services in the world, is particularly instructive.
HSPD-12 requires federal agencies to provide biometrically enabled credentials
to all employees and contractors to secure both the physical and logical
access to federal facilities and computer systems. IWS continues to support
one of the largest HSPD-12 deployments to date at the Department of Veterans
Affairs. Our software is deployed throughout 245 VA medical centers nationwide
and the solution suite was recently extended to the 80 mobile detachments
used to serve rural VA facilities.
IWS client and server-side components for biometric verification are
a key factor in authenticating VA staff and contractors for secure login
to VA computers.
IWS customer support provides ongoing maintenance and upgrades to products
deployed within the VA infrastructure.
SSW: IWS truly has an impressive list of best-of-breed strategic partners including HP, IBM, Oracle, and Unisys, just to name a few. Can you give us some color about the nature of these strategic relationships?
Jim Miller: IWS's strategic relationships are critical to our marketplace success.
We work closely with our partners to ensure that we fully understand market
requirements and continue to deliver industry-leading solutions. We are
currently in discussions with a number of new partners aligned with our
next generation goals and expect some strategically significant announcements
over the next few months. As our partners recognize the power of a patented
platform specifically optimized for biometrics which allows for the "agnostic"
use of hardware and algorithms, you will see an increase in the number
of strategic partner arrangements we have.
SSW: How about a quick patent update? We see that IWS has recently been awarded four patents in the U.S., Canada, China and Australia. Please tell us more.
Jim Miller: The IWS patent portfolio which now consists
of 9 US patents and four in foreign countries is indicative of our invention,
innovation and leadership in the field of multi-modal biometrics and analysis
using a seamlessly integrated software platform that is agnostic to choice
of biometric modality and hardware. We also hold the US patent on multi-modal
biometric fusion. We are always pleased when patent offices around the
world recognize that innovation with the award of a patent. Recently,
we have added four new patents in the field of mobile communications which
will allow us to accelerate our entry into the commercial sector and provide
industry-leading solutions to better secure mobile-based transactions
particularly in the health care and financial transaction markets. We
are already seeing traction in those areas and are excited at this rapidly
developing market for our products.
SSW: Let's turn to some recent, significant, and positive financial
developments. We understand IWS recently completed a $10.0 million equity
financing which enabled IWS to eliminate all long-term debt and existing
Series C and D Preferred Stock. Do you have the working capital you need
now to execute your business plan?
Jim Miller: We do, and it's full speed ahead as we move into the marketing and sales
phase of our next generation biometric identity management and advanced
credentialing platform. We are excited about the future and we think ImageWare's
current and future customers are going to like what they see coming their
SSW: Thank you very much for your time, Jim.