In conversation with Siddharth Kukatlapalli, co-founder and CBO, Syntizen Technologies, BW Businessworld entered the world of digital identity solutions. The Syntizen co-founder explained to us the importance of digital identity solutions and how they are helping governments identify citizens.
Why are digital identity solutions so relevant for the current times?
First, let’s consider public sector i.e., for governance. In governance, there are a lot of schemes and subsidies that state governments provide to its citizens. The solution that we are giving helps governments instantly identify the people cost-effectively using our technologies. For e.g., we have an Aadhaar-based validation, PAN-based validation. And we also provide a video KYC, where we validate people with respect to facial matching and facial liveness. Through our technologies governments are able to identify citizens instantly. And the cost is minimal. With these two factors, they are able to identify and give the service to the right beneficiary.
Second, our solution for BFSI significantly brings down the cost and time. For one of our stocking clients, we were able to bring down the time and cost of customer onboarding by 90 per cent. Previously, they were spending roughly around Rs 3,000 for customer onboarding but now with the help of our solutions, they are completing customer onboarding in about Rs 300. In terms of time, this client would take about two days to onboard a customer but now they take five to 10 minutes to onboard a customer. The time has drastically come down.
Could you provide us with a particular instance where you helped a state government leverage the power of your solutions?
Previously, every citizen had to visit Transport Department’s office in Telangana for smallest of changes in their documents and license. For e.g., if somebody wanted to change his/her address in their driving license (DL), they had to visit even though this could be done remotely. But there was no technology available to enable this. Syntizen’s solution introduced facial liveness technology to the existing government application. This way, a citizen seeking to change particular details in their license could enter their DL number which would be used to pull up the corresponding data of the DL holder. Then, the DL holder would be prompted to take a selfie. Our facial liveness technology affirms that the person in the selfie photo is a live person. Then the person could select the service required and upload the relevant document and make the payment. The system would then provide an acknowledgment number instantly and the revised DL would be sent to the new address of the citizen. This can now happen in Telangana with our facial technology.
You deal with sensitive data. How do you ensure that the data you process is secure?
We get this question even when we are speaking to governments. Let me make it very clear that our solutions are hosted in the government data centers and we extend APIs from the service that we host in the state data center to different departments. And apart from that, our solutions have been audited by Cert-In empaneled auditors as per IRDA compliance (25-30 times every year) and other regulatory compliance auditors as well. So, we ensure that a lot of our systems, especially for governments, are hosted in the state data centers, which is owned by the government where the data is in complete control of the government. Similarly, if we are working with banks, we host our solutions on their servers and data centers.
Coming to Aadhaar, when we started off, the security checklist for audit had about 25-30 points, but now it has 109 pointers. We ensure that we are at par with all the compliance requirements.
What does the outlook like for Syntizen’s technology? What’s next?
We have just started off our journey in the digital identity domain. There is a lot more to do and lot more services to automate. We have only tapped about 30-35 BFSI companies. There are thousands of BFSI companies out there. With increasing adoption of ‘Digital India’ initiative, more people are entering into this world of digital identity.
We also are trying to enter various other mode of digital identification, including password validations. We are also trying to enter into the central KYC database, which already exists. In addition to these services, we are coming up with around 80 different microservices soon, which will allow us to identify citizens in about 80 different modes.
Moving forward, we are also looking to enter into the global space because just like India, there are so many other countries with digital ID much like India’s Aadhaar. For e.g., UAE has an Emirates ID. Similarly, Indonesia has an Indonesian ID and so many other countries are looking towards digital identity.
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