The LATAM SSI Ecosystem

Episode 304

State of Identity Podcast


Episode 304

The LATAM SSI Ecosystem

On this week’s State of Identity episode host, Cameron D’Ambrosi welcomes Fredrik Nilsson, CEO, and Daniel Carrillo, Product Director & Technology Evangelist at Binaria Technologies. This trio discusses Binaria’s unique approach to facilitating adoption of self-sovereign identity in Latin America and how they are cracking the “cold start” problem facing user-centric digital identity platforms globally.


Cameron D'Ambrosi, Senior Principal at Liminal


Fredrik Nilsson, CEO at Binaria Technologies

Daniel Carrillo, Product Director & Technology Evangelist at Binaria Technologies

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Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:00:02] Welcome everyone to State of Identity. I’m your host, Cameron Ambrosi joining me this week. We have an exciting duo, Fredrik Nilsson, CEO at Binaria Technologies and Daniel Carrillo, product director and technology evangelist. Gentlemen, welcome to the podcast.


Fredrik Nilsson [00:00:19] Thank you, Cameron. Thank you so much. It will be great to be speaking with you.


Daniel Carrillo [00:00:24] Thanks for the invitation, Cameron.


Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:00:26] It’s my pleasure. You know, I think Benaroya is really sitting at an area of the digital identity landscape with so much. Attention and interest right now, this notion of replacing physical credentials with digital identities that can be both secure, privacy, preserving, interoperable. And, you know, I think most important user centric is something that we see both governments and businesses across the globe looking to migrate towards. So I think no better time than now for this conversation. And I know I gave like a little bit of a teaser of what the platform is, but I always do love to hear, you know, in your own words, you know, what would you say you’ve built at Binaria and what problem statement are you really looking to address that you didn’t see out in the market when you founded the company?


Fredrik Nilsson [00:01:24] Yeah, thank you for the question, Cameron. I think part of this question can be answered on how we found that. Binaria. Binaria. It’s actually a startup, a data company, but it comes from a bigger company. It’s a it’s a company called Dot Solutions. I’ve been working there for about 20 years. And at that company we have many huge corporate customers. We have many banks, many financial institutions, and we do all kind of process automation projects, including plays that have to do with biometrics, with identifying the people, identifying the different customers that have to do transactions with the banks. So we have like installed everything from biometric engines to even fingerprint capture devices and stuff like that. And being our customers like this, big financial institutions and we try to automate their processes and modernize them as much as we could. But we discovered that there was one like underlying problem and that’s that they were based on, on centralized biometrics with databases that couldn’t be accessed by the different areas of the different bank or or even with the separate institutions that have business with it, with the banks and with the financial institutions. So we said there has to be a better way to to to do this. And that’s when we founded Benaroya as a theater company of this bigger company with all the experience and backlog we have with biometrics. And we are even starting to advise our own customers to start to migrate from this old school centralized databases. So with biometric, well, they have to be compliant anyway, but as much as they can try to go to the credentials matter to try to go through a credential that’s way where the what a consumer, when the end user gets much more benefit and can interact in a much better way with it with the institutions. So that’s how we found that scenario. Based on the how could I define it? I think that you gave it away at your introduction, Kevin, but it was a great introduction. I think basically it’s a platform that helps credentials people. Those digital credentials could be interchange within people based on the Safe Ceremony identity concept. And we are focusing primarily on on big corporations and on both big and small corporations in companies. And we are starting with the credentials section of the workforce of the of the company. So we are targeting human resource areas, credentials, older employees. And there’s a big reason for, for why we are doing that. So so that’s maybe what I would define the company. I don’t know you, Daniel, if you would like to add something.


Daniel Carrillo [00:04:09] Yeah, we are us. As Frederick mentioned, we work on several projects within. Primarily within the financial market because there was some changing in the laws in Mexico, forcing all the banks to capture biometric data. And though there is a sense of need to keep privacy as one of the key elements for for all the people involved. And we found that this self-sovereign identity concept matched perfectly within the two forces for one side, the, the, the, the need for identifying people through biometrics and the other one to keep the privacy of all the data in the hands of the user.


Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:05:01] And it sounds like, you know, your focus on the enterprise was a conscious decision and one that’s anchored on go to market strategy. And I guess, for lack of a better word, solving this chicken egg problem that we see such as such a big barrier to the rollout of these technologies, like a credential that nobody can accept is fundamentally useless. Right. If if being completely blunt, it doesn’t matter how great of a technical technology platform you build and the wonderful features of a system, if a user who holds that credential can’t do anything with it, it’s a key that doesn’t fit into any lock. So what does it really do? Can you talk a little bit about your decision to kind of target this enterprise market and anchoring your go to market strategy on that approach to kind of building an ecosystem of relying parties?


Daniel Carrillo [00:05:55] Yes, that that’s exactly what happened during the first months. When we start with the company, we were seeing a lot of different approaches worldwide for having this concept, but we couldn’t see a business case were where you can crack this this chicken egg problem. So what we think is key in which area you can have immediate benefits for both parties. The the the corporation issuing the credential and the people using that credential. And we find out that the within a corporation, you first have the basic trust environment that you need for using the credentials. You you already know that a person is your employee and you as an employee knows that you work for a company. So that first trust element is checked and then we find out that there is immediate benefits in terms of two main areas. The first one, security, because you can erase all the the first level of defense on the authentication for the companies. That traditionally uses. Passwords and usernames for accessing all their systems. And you can replace all those users and passwords based on the on the uses of a credential that incorporates. Bank level security and including biometrics, because one of the things that we are including in our platform is that all the biometrics are managed within the device. We are not creating biometric databases that needs to be protected or isolated. Things like that. We manage all the process within the the the mobile device. And then in that way, you can, you can provide a very highly secure environment, keeping all the privacy of those elements. And the in the other side, you can provide benefits to the H.R. department as well, because they they need a way to provide access to resources for the company, including, for example, access to some areas of the company that you can integrate as well using QR codes for for within your your wallet, your identity wallet and use those QR codes, ones that you identify yourself for accessing the building or share resources. There’s a lot of useless cases that we have found very useful on on the corporate environment.


Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:08:57] How has the response been in in market? You know, I think as identity practitioners to some degree, like my touch points with market are self-selected in the sense that people who kind of understand digital identity and where the market is headed are are inclined to engage with me. But it’s been a challenge, I think, to some degree to convince buyers. You know, it folks from across industries that that they have a problem to some degree and that, you know, decentralized identity, for lack of a better word, is a critical solution. What are your thoughts on on how the appetite for these technologies is changing? And. And have you seen a recent shift in kind of buyer perspectives, maybe willingness to explore adoption of technologies that previously were not on their radar yet?


Fredrik Nilsson [00:09:48] I agree with you. It’s it’s it has been at the start, it was very hard to convince the different organizations and the different companies, first of all. In some way or another, they can solve similar similar issues with existing technology. So the first response is usually, well, what’s what’s there for me if I have already solved this in one way or another? And it’s not. It’s very hard to to to sell the concept in an elevator. In an elevator pitch. Usually we have to sit down with the h.r. Directors or they’re responsible and we have to sit down with the chief security technology officer of the of the company. But once we get to that half an hour, those 50 minutes with them and really explain the different benefits they can gain as a corporation both for their employees and from the security aspect of the company, then they usually turn around and they understand and they even if they even endorse it, they even sponsor it within the organization and within other companies that that organization has has business with. So, so yeah, it’s, it’s a very hard first approach. But once you get get that first approach, the customers actually turn out to be almost evangelists.


Daniel Carrillo [00:11:11] And when you when you are able Cameron to to show them the product working and you can. Show them different use cases in their own environment. For example, when we show them you are accessing your systems today like this, but you can do it this other way with the credential you are. Having approvals or sharing documents, very confidential documents would get users this way. But you can use this and you can alternatively have this credential. Use this on your day by day tasks or, you know, it’s a matter of showing them all the practical use cases of the credential on their own environment, and they quickly spread mention it. They quickly get the idea and have these whoa moment and get angry to. We have this technology as soon as possible.


Fredrik Nilsson [00:12:18] I think that one of the key issues is to make them see and to explain to them that they have already done the hard part. They have already done the difficult part, which is selecting them for they have which is having done the screening of that for the background screening, almost 73% of the companies do background screening of their employees and having them on board and on the company. That’s the hardest thing a company can do from an H.R. perspective. So if they have done that difficult things, they can capitalize on the efforts they have already done and benefit in both themselves and their employees just by handing them a credential. And that credential can have both things that they have validated in the background screening, like the name, date of birth and stuff like that. But the most important is the intrinsic information that is given out by the company itself. The company knows your position, the company knows your salary, the company knows your achievements. So you can you can validate the achievements of the employees to demonstrate to the outer world that within the company they even know things. As your bank accounts, for example, you can tell a number of ways that because that’s where they deposit your your monthly payment on that on a regular basis. So they have a lot of things validated about the employee. And when one of our greatest assumptions, which I think was H.R. was one of the first targets, is that in a normal social context, usually the people that know more most about us, first of all, our family, our closest family member or closest circle of friends. But after that, the entity that knows most about us usually is our employer, because we spend one third of our life, more or less in the office or with employer, with the reports we have our boss, they know how our development has been in the company. They look, they know so many things about us. So it’s just natural that the employee is a valued entity to hand out that credential to an employee.


Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:14:14] It from a technology perspective, you know, we’ve seen a bunch of, I think, you know, unique but but somewhat differentiated approaches to tackling, you know, the the underlying challenges around putting, you know, a credential in the user’s hands that can be robust enough, you know, from a cryptographic perspective to be relied upon, you know, by a network. Would you say that you have primarily differentiated yourselves with the Binaria a platform around a unique technological differentiator? Or is it more about, you know, your go to market strategy, your support of your customers implementation and kind of network your building as opposed to kind of nuts and bolts. Fundamental feature are technological differences relative to alternative solutions also out in market.


Daniel Carrillo [00:15:07] Well, what we are focusing as we are. On this. Working with companies, we are focusing our technology into how? How how can be easily integrated into their own environment. So they already have this single sign on systems. They probably have. The directories, they have systems for checking in. So they have these human resources systems. So what we are doing right now is, is to making sure that the integration of the very positive credentials on the wallet itself can be easily integrated into those environments. In fact, one of the one of the first things that we decided on the on the transactional side of the platform is, is to make sure that is, for example, compatible 100% with all the Microsoft environment. That is mostly what what several companies use for their. End user applications. So that’s one thing. And the other one is to make sure that even for very, very small companies that doesn’t have a very robust I.T. department, they can also integrate easily into their own small systems, but with a very robust security integrated in both into the platform and into the world.


Fredrik Nilsson [00:16:48] But but all the underlying technology itself, how to issue the credential, how to hold the credential, how to share the credentials is completely based on standards, you know, the W3C standards and everything. So so that’s it has to be standardized in order to be compatible and in order to be trustful. And as Daniel said, I think that our main focus is maybe a little bit the go to business strategy and all the different integration facilities we have with all these different ecosystem of platforms.


Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:17:19] I love that. So what’s next? You know, looking to the future. We’re seeing, I think, a broader push towards user centricity in markets across the globe. I think both from a market forces perspective as well as a regulatory perspective, you know, increasing data privacy demands that are set, I think most critically, to begin impacting employers as well as, you know, consumer facing platforms. You know, out of California, you’re seeing that there is a key exemption to ccpa that had exempted employers from being subject to some of these data privacy requirements that B2C platforms were under. That exemption is going away. So I think across the board, you’re going to see market forces kind of pushing, you know, user centric identity to the fore. What are you seeing out there in terms of trends in the space? And are you optimistic for, you know, 2023 and beyond?


Fredrik Nilsson [00:18:18] Yeah, I’m very optimistic. I recently read a report from Gartner about the top five trends in privacy, and they stated that 75% of the world’s population will have its personal data covered under modern privacy regulations by the end of year 2024. So it clearly states an evolution. I think that we are a mexico based company and much of our regulation here in Mexico, even though where we are in Mexico, we are going to Latin America and then the world. But most of our regulation is is regarding data privacy. Privacy is started to get we are starting to adopt the European model more and more in there are laws being passed valuable data protection laws. So so so I think that from that point of view, the organization and the companies are getting more and more conscious about the about the management of the data, which wasn’t like this four or five years ago. Danielle and myself, we had the opportunity to we have had the opportunity to visit many identity fairs and Congresses. And we have seen even from the even from the big tech vendors, even they are starting to to react to to release more and more small, like you said, negative solutions. So it’s definitely a tendency going out and we are very happy to be the pioneers in this geographical region.


Daniel Carrillo [00:19:45] See, there are definitely a clear path to to these technologies and this and this standards. We have seen a very. Sense of privacy being more on the on the general market. I just saw an apple, for example, an Apple advertisement talking about the new the new iPhone. And the main characteristic on there was privacy. So it is people this is taking consciousness about about the needs of having a better solutions for privacy data. The other thing is that especially on the on the corporate arena. That there is a need for sharing information related with our achievements and there were added work information on the labor market and the possibility to have this common understanding of of what the achievements of all persons are. And that can be. Interoperable within different organizations, different countries, especially now that we are seeing a a change on the way that the companies are hiring people all over the world and just just. Thinking that we can have this this common way to share information that is verifiable. It makes, you know, everything different.


Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:21:27] So if I were to ask you to take out your crystal ball and and make some fun predictions, I would love to hear you laying down a marker for what maybe not necessarily you wish to see, but what we will see coming out of the space moving forward.


Fredrik Nilsson [00:21:44] I think that. In the future, there will be much more identity focused to both solutions and adoption in the market. I think that we will still live with. I think biometrics is essential if biometrics will be there and then in the table. And it’s growing and growing and growing. But I think that the use of biometrics will be much more focused on sharing it on credential as way and not in a centralized way with big databases. Obviously, the huge government solution that the government is is the institution that usually gives us our first identity. And they should exist and they should prevail and they should have all these big databases. But for us users, it will be much more transparent on how to share all the different credentials, starting with the employer credentials in the work we have and starting to have a larger and larger ecosystem. And we are starting to see it here with with our current projects. And the use cases are just tremendous. And I think that in about five or six years. That the the credentialed solutions that are out there, out in the market, including ourselves, will compete with the big technology companies that we know today, the big biometrics and and common technology companies that we that we all know about.


Daniel Carrillo [00:23:17] Yeah I think we’ll go going to see a lot of. Different solutions. I mean, a lot of companies trying to get into this market. And the good news is that we already have some standards in there and we have. The beef guys talking about the Web five and all this recent comments about what identity means and how to apply all this privacy issues on the on the on the digital transformation there are. So what we are seeing is a lot of companies getting into the market. And thanks to the to the standards, we are going to see also the possibility to start having credentials that you can use in one wallet or another or in one one blockchain network or another one, so that it will be this concept is helping that all these solutions work together and provide a better environment for for the companies.


Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:24:25] Amazing. Well. We’re at time here. Want to give you an opportunity for a shameless plug for listeners listening to this episode who want to get in touch with you or learn more about Binaria and your solution. What’s the best place for them to go?


Fredrik Nilsson [00:24:44] Thank you. Well, you can go to our Web page, Denali Technologies dot com, or to our LinkedIn. It’s also you’ll find the most has been great technologies or myself you can get me by email Fredrik dot Nelson at Benaroya Technologies dot com and also in my LinkedIn which is Fred Lynn Nelson. And there you can find me and Daniel.


Daniel Carrillo [00:25:08] You can get in touch with me through my my LinkedIn account at the Carrillo Double L or my Twitter account. Carrillo underscore I oh, and I will be there.


Cameron D’Ambrosi [00:25:25] Amazing. Gentlemen, thank you so much for your time. Really, really appreciate it. And best of luck.


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