“We deliver long-term value to our clients by constantly mapping onto and adapting to evolving market demands.”
— Gautam Paul, Sales Director, IAI
IAI has gained a formidable reputation for the design and supply of industrial production systems where laser, optics, precision mechanics and control software have vital roles to play.
SME Channel had caught up with IAI’s maverick Sales Director Mr Gautam Paul, whose leadership has enabled the company to gain rapid strides in recent times. Here Mr Paul shares with our readers his key focus areas in marketing, his business strategies, channel engagement policies and much more. Edited excerpts…
Would you please brief us on the latest trends in the security and authentication market?
At present, governments and other authoritative bodies are looking for the highest levels of protection and productivity for passports and ID cards, including modernised manufacturing processes and technologies.
If you look at the recent developments in the market, there are quite a handful of clearly visible market trends. First of all, there is the transition from PVC/PET G to Polycarbonate material for ID papers, as well as the use of laser for customisation. We’ve observed a similar trend for Driving Licenses in India, where bids in some Indian states are shifting to polycarbonate material with laser engraving. Next comes the shift from machine-readable passports to e-passports. India has also announced plans to improve passport security by transitioning to an e-passport.
We also see a switching from fully decentralized issuance to regional issuance. This keeps the flexibility of having a regional presence, while improving security by eliminating the need for blank papers in numerous places. There is also a marked migration from grayscale to colour personalization on polycarbonate. Apart from aesthetics, the document is additionally safeguarded by a mix of laser engraving and drop-on-demand inkjet, creating an additional barrier for counterfeiters. Along with all these, digital ID documents coupled with physical documents are increasingly becoming the norm.
What are the innovative new technologies in vogue these days?
Over the past two decades, IAI industrial systems has been a leader of ID1 and ID3 document customisation, offering unique and advanced technologies to over 40 countries worldwide. Over 25 million ID papers are being customised using IAI technology each year — a figure that is all set to experience a surge in the coming years.
IAI has transformed itself into a pioneer in the field of design and delivery of industrial production systems such as lasers, optics, precision mechanics, and control software due to our uncompromising and dedicated focus on research, specialists, and industry experience. We are able to deliver long-term value to all our clients by constantly mapping onto and adapting to evolving market demands.
Our portfolio boasts of a wide product basket. Our offerings include Personalisation Technologies and Security Document Solutions. Under the Personalisation Technologies segment, we have offerings in Laser Engraving, Inkjet Printing, Laser Perforating. And under under the Security Document Solutions division, we have BookMaster® for Passport Personalisation; CardMaster® for Card Personalisation; and for Security features, we have ImagePerf® and ImagePerf®/REV, NumberPerf®, Laser Colour Inkjet (LCI), and Third Party.
In all these, what opportunity awaits the partners? How would these benefit them?
The opportunity to represent IAI is extremely promising. IAI equipment caters to large value projects in a niche area. Going forward, the projects that will warrant our focus would be three key projects: Passport Project, Driving License Project and the ID Cards Project. We are very optimistic about the Passport Project. As you know, India is looking to migrate to ePassport which will require a change of equipment. Resultantly, it creates lot of opportunity for us there. As far the Driving License is concerned, there is a clear move to upgrading the current DL to a more secure document using polycarbonate and laser engraving. Similarly, in the ID Cards space, there are efforts at making several ID cards such as National ID, ID for Police, Army, etc., are considering secured documents.
Partners will have the opportunity to sell equipment and after sales services, parts and consumables for the above mentioned projects.
What kind of channel engagement strategy has HID Global kept in place for the upcoming year?
When it comes to channel engagement, IAI does not work through multiple channels but through a very limited number of partners. We usually work directly with System Integrators for our projects.
What are the key challenges faced by HID? How do you plan to overcome them?
Currently, there are a number of challenges confronting us in the market. Given the high volume of governments and authorities we work with, often, our challenges come in the form of process delays or integration issues, time crunch and so on.
For most projects, governments conduct years of research to determine the best option. During this timeframe, the administration and major figures may change, adding to the project’s complexity. IAI collaborates with end-users and partners over a lengthy period of time to determine the best solution.
Also, a project may involve various technology contributors (document, chip, OS, PKI, security features, etc.), which may make integration difficult. Governments should select contractors with a track record of success. IAI collaborates with the majority of technology suppliers to ensure smooth integration. Lastly, there is a significant problem in obtaining funding for many initiatives. IAI’s track record of high uptime, industrial design that allows for 24/7 production, and minimal maintenance costs enables System Integrators in quickly recouping their expenditures.
What are HID’s key focus areas in marketing?
Engineering research and manufacturing cutting-edge equipment that is customised to our clients’ needs, have always been IAI’s central focus. IAI’s success has been built on word of mouth and referrals built on the back of our performance, as well as, credibility. In many cases, governments invite us to demonstrate our solutions and learn more about how to increase the quality, durability and security of the solutions while keeping the costs low. We are proud to inform that IAI also has the highest retention numbers in the market for consumers who make frequent repeat purchases, which is a talking testimony to our commitment to quality and service.