Another great story of #fintegration in Swiss fintech and a major step for Digital Identity
Notakey is obviously not a key. But a start-up that develops ways to share digital identities. What’s the idea and technology behind? How will the financial industry benefit from it? And how comes, Swisscom, UBS & Credit Suisse are partnering with this Latvian start-up? We had the chance to talk to all of them.
Janis, you have recently participated at the Kickstart Accelerator in Zurich. In what ways did you and your start-up Notakey profit from this acceleration program?
Janis Kirsteins, CEO Notakey: The biggest value for us has been the fast-track access to the right people at companies. In a short period of time we were able to discover the complex IT systems Swisscom, UBS and Credit Suisse are running, the challenges that are appearing due to the new regulations in Europe as well as what are the strategic directions, where companies of Finance and Telecommunication industry are looking. This has been a very valuable feedback as it allowed to better shape our value proposition as well as future roadmap.
Can you give us some more details about your business idea?
Janis Kirsteins: Notakey provides with a secure and frictionless way for sharing digital identity across services. There are many benefits Notakey delivers to the people, businesses and society:
- Privacy and control – People would be able to control access to their information in a frictionless and secure way;
- Revenue growth – Financial Institutions, Telecommunication companies and others would have opportunities to offer Identity‐as‐a‐service (the data, they have analyzed about customer, e.g. their credit ranking);
- Improved compliance – Regulators would have increased access to trusted, up‐to‐date information, while companies will be able to meet Europe’s regulations;
- Decreased costs – Companies will be able to reduce costs for identification at least 10x times as there is no special hardware required on the user side – all is done from their mobile phones;
- Improved service delivery – Governments and companies could more easily and effectively deliver public services as they have better understanding about customer profiles and have a convenient way for authorization and authentication;
How does the technology behind it work?
Janis Kirsteins: Notakey is a smartphone based solutions, where identity sharing and authentication can be done with one tap from the phone. From the technical point of view, we rely on hardware protection for the private keys, which are used for signing requests. This allows us to be compatible with government based solutions as well as new regulations.
Swisscom will partner with Notakey. What’s the goal of this cooperation?
Peter Hofmann, fintech expert at Swisscom: Swisscom together with UBS & CS are partnering with Notakey to do a joint and cross industry PoC on digital identity. Goal of the PoC is to set-up the necessary platform to verify certain digital identity use cases (e.g. digital identification onboarding, sharing of validated user attributes) in a safe environment so that the involved parties could get used to this paradigm shift of sharing validated digital identity attributes and relay on information of another party. This is an important aspect also from a liability and legal perspective.
This PoC will set the base to further explore all these related questions around digital identity and show case how it could work in the real world.
What will be the concrete focus of the Proof of Concept?
Peter Hofmann: The scope of this cooporation is to set-up a platform where individuals could securely store their digital identity and related attributes and reuse them in services from different companies.
An example could be that a banking customer could get a mobile contract without going through the identification process again. This would give customers a more frictionless service experience and would be more efficient for the companies providing these services.
In what ways do you think, the financial industry will profit of Notakey’s solution?
Jakub Ivanecky, from Group Innovation at UBS: The financial industry has been undergoing significant waves of transformation during the past years, with all these initiatives having a common objective of improving customers’ experience from interaction with our services. In order to achieve the desired level of convenience and engagement, we aim for fully digital journeys across our products offering. However, some of the biggest challenges in replacing papers with touchscreens reside with processes being dependent on identification of a person, for example when acquiring a customer. Having an interoperable digital identity in place would enable secure sharing of trusted personal data and remove obstacles with verification of such information. This capability represents an enormous potential for disruption, beyond the financial industry, unlocking several benefits and possibilities for emergence of new business models, which we wouldn’t have even though of up until now. This is a major step not just for banking, but most importantly towards the goal of truly digital economy and Switzerland’s strong position as an innovation hub.
Venus Tse, Digitalization Strategy, Program Management & Digitalization Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AG, adds: Notakey’s technology in digital identity authentication will be tested through this joint PoC to identify use cases and scenarios that can be beneficial for CS and the overall banking industry, as well as across industries. Imagine that in the future a registered banking client could apply for a telecom contract without further identification and vice versa – managing personal data and data transfer in such a manner would be truly revolutionary and would simplify the life of consumers significantly.
Looking back, what role played the Kickstart Accelerator for setting-up this partnership with Notakey?
Peter Hofmann: The Kickstart Accelerator did a great job in facilitating all the discussion around a joint PoC with Notakey, UBS and CS. Working together closely in Kickstart Accelerator helped to build a solid relationship between the companies. It was then a logical step that these companies came together in order to tackle the cross-industry challenge of the digital identity. I guess without the Kickstart Accelerator this cross-industry PoC with a Startup from Latvia would not have happened.