01 October 2023

"Fostering innovation makes economic growth possible"

Digital transformation has never been more pressing. Technology is playing a major role in shaping the way businesses and governments all over the globe respond to challenges and potential opportunities. This developing landscape requires constant adaptation to predict trends and develop the right solutions that promise sustainable growth in the future.

To find out more about this change, we talked with Hisham Itani, chairman, and CEO of Inkript, a subsidiary of Resource Group.

 

Tell us more about Inkript’s expertise and strengths.

As the world faces unsettling times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, technology adoption accelerated at a high speed. As a result, security issues have arisen. Businesses and governments are looking for ways to streamline their processes, digitize their operations, and strengthen their security.

As a company specializing in digital technologies, Inkript is at the heart of global digitalization. Being part of a portfolio of businesses under Resource Group, the company benefited from a considerable investment in Research and Development (R&D) which helped it evolve to become one of the leading digital security solutions providers in the Middle East.

Inkript understands the various challenges that Lebanon and the region are facing on social, economic, environmental, and health levels. We are constantly working towards innovating through digital solutions.

Throughout the years, Inkript’s business evolved with the local and regional market needs for digital security solutions and contributed to the region’s digital landscape by developing technological solutions that benefit citizens and society as a whole.

In fact, Inkript was founded in 1973 as a security printing family business. At the time, security printing was at its early stage in Lebanon. The business grew by producing stamps and printing secure documents for both the private and public sectors. Inkript introduced digital printing in 1993 and automated personalization with security printing in 1995. This innovation paved the way for a steady pipeline of products such as checkbooks, fiscal stamps, bonds, and others. In the early 2000s, Inkript was a pioneer in introducing secure card-based products and smart card manufacturing to the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

In 2005, the company took yet another leap forward when it started investing in R&D. This allowed Inkript to develop new technologies and delve into digital security through secure software solutions. The R&D investments led to the creation of an in-house secure identification platform and automation software targeting public services. By 2010, Inkript became an accepted travel document provider by organizations such as Interpol and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

In 2019, The Nilson Report, the most trusted source for the global card and mobile payment industry news and analysis, ranked Inkript 12th worldwide (among Chinese, Indian and Western global players) in chip cards shipments.

 

Where is Inkript focusing its efforts today?

 

With a strong and talented local team, Inkript is today one of the very few companies in the Middle East that develop proprietary solutions for digital identification. We have a significant number of talented people in Lebanon and the region, and it is important for us to invest in these local talents and create our own solutions. This is how our region can become an exporter of technology rather than an importer.

In 2021, we are delving further into digital identity and more precisely biometric ID. Moving forward, the need to meet data security standards will increase especially with online identification requirements. Moreover, we are working on new concepts and solutions compatible with the continuous technological progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Machine Learning, and Blockchain. Digitalization is going fast forward and there is a considerable potential to innovate in industries such as healthcare, retail, and education, along with governments. Inkript has positioned itself well for this transformation thanks to its constant technology research, skillful team, and forward-thinking mindset.

 

Which Inkript products are driving current growth and what changes do you anticipate?

 

Today, as security is the number one concern worldwide, the demand for secure digital identification solutions is on the rise. Although digitalization has been increasing for years in almost every industry, COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of new solutions

especially with remote work and lockdowns. 

Verifying online identities is now crucial for our daily interactions. This includes biometric identification and authentication. This is where Inkript sees considerable demand, and this market will keep growing significantly.

In addition, cybersecurity and data privacy remains a major concern worldwide for businesses, governments, and consumers alike. As technology evolves, cyberattacks progress as well. Therefore, companies and governmental authorities are requiring more secure platforms to ensure customers’ and citizens’ safety and reduce fraud. As we develop our own proprietary solutions, the software development process includes different layers of security that provide additional data security and ensure a stronger defense against possible cyberattacks.

We are also focusing on contactless technologies and more precisely the contactless smart card technology. As a result of the surge in contactless payments, the demand for safer and more secure payment options is on the rise, especially since the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic changed people’s actions towards the nature of cash. For example, we have noticed the increasing demand by banks in the Middle East for new technologies that support consumers’ changing behaviors towards money, hygiene, comfort, and overall well-being.

 

What lessons did Inkript learn from the challenges of 2020?

 

What the world witnessed last year was undeniably difficult. Businesses struggled, and people are still suffering physically, mentally, economically, and socially. Yet it was fascinating to see how technology and innovation accelerated to help societies face this global crisis.

As a technology company, we identify problems the public faces and create solutions through our core expertise, digital security. Above all, our investment in human capital kept us moving forward no matter the challenges. The nature of our industry is variable. Therefore, change is our driving force because it pushes our limits and develops our team’s creativity. We focus on innovation to create value towards positive change.

At Inkript, we are using our expertise and technologies to find solutions that support governments in their fight against this pandemic and citizens in their recovery. Through our R&D center, we started early last year to develop ideas and undertake tests to help track the virus and keep citizens well informed and updated. Internally, our main objective was to keep our employees informed at all times and make sure they are adjusting smoothly to the new reality. We put their well-being first because our talents are the core of our business.

Resilience and agility are key to moving forward. Our role today is crucial, whether to better safeguard citizens online or to assist organizations and governmental institutions in managing their operations more efficiently and shifting towards digitization.

 

What are your expectations from the public sector, and state projects to support the future business?

 

The pandemic accelerated technology adoption in the public sector. Governments had to respond quickly and widely, at scale. This swift driving force also brings challenges. While digital transformation is accelerating, the public sector still needs to build stronger public health, deliver targeted services, install trust, and protect information privacy.

Collaborations between the public and private sectors are now key in order to drive positive change among citizens, which in return will support businesses. With this two-way support, the public sector will deliver on its mission of regulating the market, further enforcing regulations and compliance, and 

ultimately enhancing citizens’ protection.

Inkript has always been supporting governments through its solutions, secure products, and services. For example, we introduced the first biometric passport in Central Africa ten years ago. Since then, we have implemented several biometric identification projects comprising e-work permits, e-residency permits, and biometric visa systems. We have also supported public authorities in automating road traffic processes by developing e-vehicle solutions (including biometric driving licenses, e-vehicle registration cards, secure vehicle plates, and RFID stickers) in several countries in the MEA region. In addition, we have established secure border control systems, implemented fiber optic deployment projects, and provided fraud risk management solutions to fight the illegal import of mobile devices

Overall, fostering innovation makes economic growth possible, so that the public sector can guarantee sustainable solutions for citizens and consequently build a sustainable society.

 

What is your message to clients and partners?

 

Over the years, we have built a solid network of clients and partners whom we are delighted to serve and support through our core business of digitally secure solutions and products. We will continue our endeavor to shape the next frontier of innovation, especially in Lebanon and the region. We remain committed to supporting the public sector in automating its processes and providing citizens with enhanced services. We will also continue providing financial institutions, telecom operators, and corporations with the latest security technologies that support digital transformation.

Through the work that we do alongside our technical international partners, we hope to further impact the economy and contribute to digitization in the region. Overall, collaboration is key, and our partners and clients are on this exciting journey with us to create a positive impact and a sustainable change towards a better future.

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