06 Mar 20247 min readin Company news

How Customers Drive Innovation in Identity Verification

Ihar Kliashchou

Chief Technology Officer, Regula

Tech products are ever-changing, adapting to new challenges, technologies, user expectations, business needs, and compliance requirements. They evolve like living organisms, but not on their own. 

Here, we will explore who helps Regula developers in innovating their forensics and identity verification solutions, and in what way they contribute.

It’s all about listening

Around 70% of our technological innovations and product development ideas at Regula stem directly from our customers: businesses, public and governmental organizations, including border control authorities. While we do invent and anticipate new authentication methods, a significant portion of our advancements arise from those who rely on identity verification for building trust in the process.

Our clients employ identity verification in diverse scenarios and fields. Real-life situations are more dynamic and unpredictable than any proof of concept or brainstorming session. As a result, our customers naturally have a better understanding of their identity verification needs at various stages. By expressing their needs, they play a crucial role in guiding our technology development in line with business and security requirements. 

The key to success lies in attentive listening.

Read also: How Swarming Support Brought Regula a 10 out of 10 Rating from Customers

Banks: Innovating electronic document verification

Just a few years back, the concept of server-side authentication for RFID chips in electronic identity documents was unheard of, with verification primarily conducted through NFC-enabled smartphones. Although this method was temporarily deemed satisfactory, it failed to fulfill the rigorous security standards required by financial institutions.

The demand for a solution that was both more secure and resistant to fraud became apparent when the world's largest private bank contacted us in search of unparalleled accuracy and reliability in RFID chip verification. They highlighted the limitations of smartphone-based checks, which were susceptible to being intercepted and tampered with by malicious actors.

In response, we rose to the challenge by adopting a "zero trust to mobile" approach. We implemented supplemental re-verification of electronic chips by processing results on a server. This extra verification step within a customer's secure perimeter ensures the integrity of information in the physical ID, guards against cloning or data manipulation of the chip, and eliminates the risk of altering results mid-process.

What began as a customized solution for a specific client's issue evolved not only into a significant update for Regula Document Reader SDK, but also into a great innovation for all our customers. Now integrated into numerous IDV workflows globally, it has become one of our most important and impactful developments.

Learn how the world’s largest private bank secured their onboarding process with Regula technology.

Sports: Streamlining photo validation

A crucial part of onboarding, particularly remote onboarding, involves capturing pictures/selfies of each customer for face matching and identification purposes. However, in cases where customers' photos are required for official documents like visas and permits, the challenge lies in meeting specific standards for photo validation.

This challenge arose last year when we embarked on a large project with a customer responsible for organizing a global sports event. Among the myriad of nuances associated with such a worldwide gathering, one task lacked a fast and reliable solution. Our client needed technology capable of automatically assessing the quality of photos to issue official entry permits for sports fans. Unfortunately, at that time, the only available method for validating pictures was manual work, which was wholly unsuitable for a global-scale event with four million visitors.

That was an interesting challenge, I must say. We had a tight timeframe, and it was a huge responsibility, taking into consideration the importance of the event. But the solution turned out to be elegant. We fine-tuned a special feature within our Regula Face SDK so it could instantly validate a digital photo against a predefined set of requirements, which can be either unique for a company or in line with international standards. This feature helped our customers issue millions of entry permits during the event.  

After such a successful “test drive,” we understood that automatic photo validation had real potential. That is why it ended up in Regula Face SDK as a default feature for all our customers. Not only does this Face Image Quality Assessment feature validate portraits in accordance with a company’s unique parameters, but it also can assess photos to comply with the ICAO Standard or the ISO/IEC 19794-5:2011 Standard. In other words, it’s a universal tool that streamlines onboarding whenever photo validation is needed.

Strengthening forensic experts' device capabilities

Some of our forensic devices are also inspired by our customers. For instance, that was the way the dual-video spectral comparator Regula 4308 was designed: it’s the only comparator in the world that has two optical systems.

The world’s only comparator with two optical systems, Regula 4308

Dual video-spectral comparator Regula 4308

During our collaboration with a partner in India, their interest in the video-spectral comparator Regula 4307 was piqued. At the moment, Regula 4307 was our most powerful device, capable of performing a huge variety of examinations. However, a significant challenge arose when they intended to utilize the devices for forensic research and court proceedings in India, where full-page A4 format images were mandatory. Unfortunately, the Regula 4307 fell short in capturing images of this size, posing a roadblock to meeting their specific requirements.

Rather than simply enlarging the view field of the existing comparator, we saw an opportunity to push the boundaries and create something exceptional. Embracing the challenge, we embarked on developing a superior device, one that was larger and more powerful. Leveraging the Regula 4307 as a foundation, we meticulously crafted this much-needed solution.

The result? Boasting two optical systems, plus the highest optical magnification (320x) and camera resolution (14 MP), our new device exceeded expectations. Additionally, it offers an array of light sources and enhanced capabilities for the most precise forensic analysis, further solidifying its position as a true game-changer.

Bottom line

Customer feedback is an instrumental tool for driving innovations. By actively listening to and comprehending the needs and desires of our clients, we gained invaluable insights to fuel our innovative endeavors. Turning customer feedback into product enhancement at Regula is a critical process that involves three major stages:

  1. Listening to customers. The first step is to gather customer feedback through various channels, including sales and customer support teams.

  2. Analyzing feedback. This step helps us find the most critical areas for improvement, then prioritize them based on their impact on customers, feasibility of implementation, and alignment with the company's objectives and product vision.

  3. Implementing changes. The customer-facing team shares the feedback and enhancement priorities with the product development team, which generates ideas for potential product enhancements. After successful testing and validation, the enhancements are integrated into the product development pipeline. Depending on the complexity of the changes, this could be a gradual process or a more immediate update.

In conclusion, openness to customers and partners has been an invaluable learning experience, enabling us to see things through a broader lens. What might appear as a problem at first glance is, in reality, an opportunity to enhance our solutions, benefiting the wider community with new features. Embracing this approach has proven to be a total win-win situation for all involved.

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