Tag Archives: COVID-19

Adapting to Distance: How Digital Solutions are Creating a Path Forward for Traditional Industries

The pandemic has changed everything – in small, invisible ways and in big, obvious, and often dramatic shifts. “It is not business as usual. People are rushing to find solutions, and people who were procrastinating are committed to changing,” explained Patrick Drolet, VP, Operations and Product Strategy, Notarius

Traditional sectors, like the legal sector, banking, education, and government, are particularly impacted by requirements to stay physically distant. As organizations that are heavily reliant on paper documents, witnesses, and face-to-face meetings, working in a new digital and decentralized format can present challenges. 

“What has amazed me is the variety of people who want to go digital,” Marc St-Jacques, VP, Sales and Marketing at Notarius said. “Everything from government to industry, health, [and] universities.”

Making the transition to digital isn’t always straightforward. For many of these secure, highly sensitive industries, a foundation of strong, trusted, and protected digital identity is necessary to continue operating. As individuals and businesses shift their focus and, in some cases, scramble to quickly adapt, a delta is opening up between those who were already moving towards digital transformation – and those who were dragging their feet. 

“It is not business as usual. People are rushing to find solutions, and people who were procrastinating are committed to changing.”

“On the one hand, individuals forced into digital are going now. It also illustrates the disparity between approaches. The shift has made everyone stand out,” St-Jacques explained. Whether it’s because they’re practiced in offering digital solutions or because they’ve been holding off, St-Jacques says it’s easy to see how different businesses operate. 

The Pan-Canadian Trust Framework, can help close the gap between early adopters and laggards, and ensure everyone has a clear path to operating in an increasingly digital-first world. 

For Notarius, there are two product lines that have been in high-demand in the wake of COVID-19. The traditional “old fashioned identity” that is consistently a big part of their business, and renewed interest in the document part. Secure, remote digital signatures and document execution are presenting a lot of opportunities for their clients to move forward. At the onset of the pandemic, they offered 60-day free trials and special offers, helping make the transition even easier for clients.

Witnessing the Shift in Industries

The industries who are showing the most interest are traditional sectors that may have been slow to adopt and adapt to digital technologies. “We are seeing a lot of appetite from the government. It is refreshing to see, as [the sector] has been slow to adopt. The biggest uptake, though, is in the university marketplace, both inside and outside of Quebec. They have moved quickly,” St-Jacques said.

“In many instances, organizations were held back by a department or two,” St-Jacques explained. “Legal departments were often the roadblock.” Those departments, including IT and government sectors, are now transforming rapidly to keep up.

The change is not – and cannot – only happen at the organizational level, though. From provincial to federal governments, the pandemic is accelerating change. “There is a long list of laws that were not ID-friendly. Government used to be so slow. They are moving now, which is super exciting,” Drolet said. 

One example is the notary bar in Quebec, a completely paper-based line of work. Although digital transformation was under consideration for the past four or five years, in the COVID-19 era, it took just three weeks for a temporary law to be passed so notaries can work in a digital format. 

Across the board, attitudes are changing and, in many cases, charting a digital path forward is no longer an option – it’s necessary for survival. The Pan-Canadian Trust Framework ensures businesses from all industries will be able to interact seamlessly with government and other industries, creating more efficiencies and helping all Canadian industries meet a baseline for privacy, security and usability. 

Digital ID Helps Maintain Connections Across Closed Borders

In a highly connected, global environment, these tools offer more options to continue connecting internationally. “Foreign students need their transcripts, they want to do their exams. Transcripts are like the identity of organizations,” St-Jacques explained, connecting the trends in education to other sectors. 

Through Notarius, these identifying documents are connected with a digital signature that it is clear and immediate, appealing to teams around the world. “We’re seeing requests from Europe, Asia, and the US,” St-Jacques shared. 

“For the international part, we are the only one recognized by Adobe. We were the only platform certified with EIDAS, with the highest standards,” Drolet explained.

Looking Ahead as Old Barriers Come Down

While the situation has not been ideal for anyone, the speed with which many have had to respond to this serious outbreak has led to some positive changes. “Usually it would be a structured and siloed process. Now, everyone is scrambling and can take initiative,” Drolet shared. “They see the value and what used to take weeks, now takes 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the pandemic was the driver.” 

So, what does the future look like?

For digital identity, Drolet predicts a surge in interest and adoption. “Who are your competitors in the ID space? The bad guy used to be the pen, now even that guy is going away,” he said.   

For industries, St-Jacques envisions lasting change. “I really don’t see people going back,” St-Jacques predicts. Old concerns about security, processes, and reluctance to change are being dissolved, as the rapid changes set precedent for what’s possible.

No matter what comes to pass, digital identity will be an important lever for success. Join Canada’s digital identity ecosystem to be a part of leading the change.
The Pan-Canadian Trust Framework ensures privacy, security, and accessibility remain features of our economy as all industries face a global push to go digital. Learn more about how DIACC is aligning organizations across industries, sectors, and Canada toward digital transformation.

OARO: Fighting COVID-19 with Automated Temperature Screening

by Brenan Isabelle, Director, Enterprise Solutions, OARO

As the world is grappling with coronavirus (COVID-19), minds are churning with the desire to come up with innovative ideas. We need solutions, and fast.

Leveraging our OARO ACCESS product line, a physical access control system that uses facial recognition and blockchain identity technology, the team at OARO took a leap forward – offering a technology solution to meet the needs of the current pandemic. 

Mainly used to secure areas in New Brunswick’s Saint John Airport, we have expanded this line to now feature an optional body temperature module for fever screening. A common symptom of COVID-19, up to 80 per cent of individuals suffering from the virus may have a higher than normal temperature, making temperature a critical factor to measure. To enable fully automated detection of elevated body temperatures, OARO has integrated the latest generation of smart thermal cameras with our AI-based facial recognition technology. Additionally, with this solution, physical contact at entry points is also greatly reduced.  

How does temperature screening work?

Involving both a thermal camera and a visual camera, the two video feeds are streamed back to a computer server that uses facial recognition to automate the temperature screening process. Artificial intelligence recognizes faces in the visual video stream, identifying the best place to measure skin temperature, which is near an individual’s inner eye (the tear duct). It is important to note that this is not a diagnosis, it is simply a screening method.

Why temperature screening in the time of COVID-19?

One issue in today’s health sensitive world is that many physical access control systems use either palm or fingerprint readers, which carry the risk of viral transmission. Thus, there has been a shift towards the use of facial recognition and thermal cameras. Our vision at OARO is to have this integrated within access control or video management systems, optimizing it for large enterprises. 

For contactless access control systems, there are two various set-ups: a thermal camera can run automated facial recognition at an entry check-point, and the gate could be configured to open for authorized employees and contractors. Alternatively, smart facial recognition terminals can be installed at doors, and read employee keycards. 

What differentiates OARO’s thermal screening approach from other thermal screening approaches? 

We are striving to move away from having trained operators, with an entirely automatic system that scans multiple faces so people do not have to stop at screening points. 

As with all technologies today, maintaining a responsible approach to privacy by design and data management is key, as is compliance with PIPEDA and Canada’s Privacy Act. If done wrong, this technology has the potential to be quite invasive and “big brother-esque.”

An extremely popular technology today, the current demand for thermal cameras is very high (there is limited inventory across North America)! As businesses are considering this technology, which many are, it is important to remember that, despite being in a pandemic situation, identity and privacy needs must be continually upheld. As many of the current systems were not built on privacy by design principles, our goal was to take a modern, blockchain and cryptographic approach to this, rather than one that is centred on surveillance and big data.  

Learn More about DIACC member initiatives and identity solutions including OARO’s within the COVID-19 Actions Directory, where we are pleased to share the actions taken to address the demands of these extraordinary circumstances.

About the Author: Brenan Isabelle

Brenan is the Director of Enterprise Solutions at OARO. Brenan’s background is in private equity and venture capital investments. Prior to this, he was a strategic and operations consultant at Deloitte — the largest professional services network in the world and a bond trading analyst at Scotia Capital. He holds an MBA in finance from Dalhousie University and a BBA from St. Francis Xavier University. Outside work, Brenan is an expert skydiver with over 3,700 logged parachute jumps.

Reliance on the Internet and the Battle Against COVID-19 Highlight the Need for Multi-Channel Authentication

By Karl P. Kilb III, CEO, Boloro Global Ltd.

Today, as COVID-19 rocks the world, the importance of digital identity solutions are only emphasized. We are pleased to share a number of guest blogs in the context of the DIACC network, showcasing members with capabilities, solutions and forward-thinking ideas surrounding the pandemic.

Learn more about DIACC member initiatives and identity solutions within the COVID-19 Actions Directory, where we are pleased to share the actions taken to address the demands of these extraordinary circumstances. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, society is moving towards an increasingly virtual lifestyle, as many of our daily activities are now taking place in the digital realm, including online banking and eCommerce. We are all traveling non-stop on an information superhighway that was not built with safety and security in mind, as the Internet was built for mass dissemination of information and not for secure transactions and other risky activity that could allow fraudsters to run rampant with identity theft. We see stories each day about emails being hacked and Operating Systems being subjected to malware, making online activity inherently vulnerable to fraud. Our increased reliance on online activity during the current pandemic highlights these long-standing problems, as SIM Swaps, email hacks, malware, man-in-the-middle attacks and other forms of fraud are all rising dramatically. The decentralization of customer support desks may also be contributing to the ability of fraudsters to wreak havoc on current security systems in place. 

So, what can be done to put real security in the hands of consumers? 

As activity on the Internet and Operating Systems are increasingly becoming easy prey to sophisticated fraudsters who routinely exploit this single point of failure, we need to consider new approaches to security that avoid such systems. Security should not only be multi-factor, but also multi-channel, eliminating the vulnerabilities of a single point of failure. “In app security” is still touching the inherently vulnerable Internet, meaning its users are still putting all of their eggs in an unstable basket. Out-of-band security is one option that stands as a viable alternative, meaning, when activity is on one channel, authentication should be on a separate channel, providing an independent lock-and-key that cannot be intercepted and compromised. 

At a time when the world is increasingly becoming aware of the inherent vulnerabilities of virtual technologies, we are also seeing the dangers of physically touching public Point of Sale devices, ATM keypads, finger scanners, or anything that could spread the virus. During a time of social distancing, conducting multi-factor and multi-channel security safely on one’s own device is an effective approach.

Along with data protection and privacy, authentication processes must also be considered. In Europe, for instance, the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) defines Secure Customer Authentication, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) defines the guidelines for protection of personal data, regardless of the form it might take. There is a need to address both. One way this can be achieved is with a multi-channel approach that provides real security (both what you possess and what you know). Authentication should strive to provide assurance to the question “Is this really you?” without being unnecessarily intrusive in its use of a consumer’s personal data.

At Boloro, we believe that authentication should be multi-factor and multi-channel, separating the security process from the activity itself in order to avoid the vulnerabilities of a single point of failure. Authentication should be secure, user-friendly, instantaneous and compatible with all mobile phones, giving everyone the opportunity to safely, securely and seamlessly participate in the global economy and social media using what should be their most trusted device – their own personal, mobile handset. 

We should all strive to work together to make the world safer and healthier, and doing this through secure mobile activity is one of the ways we can work towards achieving this goal.

About the Author: Karl P. Kilb III

Karl P. Kilb III has been the CEO of Boloro Global Limited since October 2016, focusing on the licensing of Boloro Authentication for all forms of identity verification and activity validation. Boloro Authentication is patented in 84 countries and approved by the GSMA, among others. Prior to Boloro, Kilb was a pioneer in data, analytics, media, and electronic trading at Bloomberg LP, serving as General Counsel for more than 15 years. Kilb regularly lectures on identity verification, cyber security, fraud prevention, and welcomes exploring collaboration opportunities.