Forging A New Path


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Forging A New Path

  1. 1. TELECOM SPECIAL M WISEKEY MOVES INTO DIGITAL JOB CREATION »»» by Raymond Langley WISeKey moves into digital job creation Forging a new path in China E arly in the morning at a café in a conference centre in Dalian, China in September, Carlos Moreira sipped his coffee and reflected on the challenges facing his company standards on cyber security and electronic commerce solutions that were widely embraced by governments and leading corporations around the world. become far more efficient, “green” and ready for international business when embedded with WISeKey’s full suite of digital ID programs. and its interdependent, interconnected WISeKey made its PKI, which Living up to a straightforward vow and deeply recession-battered world. stands for “Public Root Key”, the heart WISeKey’s mission statement is a The CEO of WISeKey, the Swiss of digital identity systems, devices and straightforward vow “to facilitate and maker of high-versatile digital identity services designed to protect creators enable the mass use of secure digital encryption systems, had recently seen and consumers alike from the rogues identities in everyday life”. It hasn’t his company named a New Champion of the digital age: hackers, spies, always been easy, but the company lives by the World Economic Forum, a counterfeiters, trespassers and thieves. up to it. nomination which told the Forum’s Whereas giant digital security corpora- With a corporate culture powered audience of established corporate, tions, like Symantec and McAfee, by the Swiss tradition of discretion and academic, news media, and political protected your computer mainly from neutrality, WISeKey gained the trust of leaders that WISeKey was one of the a constant onslaught of faraway the world’s great corporations early on. world’s most innovative and promising viruses, WISeKey’s services operated on It partnered with Microsoft, Rolex, and new companies. a more personal scale. HP. Those collaborations helped those With WISeKey’s software on your companies become greener bureau- Security on a more personal level computer, you can secure your log-in cracies, more secure product deve- The World Economic Forum’s info, e-mails and transactions at your lopers and better supporters of small faith was grand but well-placed. convenience. If you’re a producer of businesses’ clients needs for secure and WISeKey is the hottest Swiss digital high-quality, expensively manufac- efficient electronic transactions. technology company in years. Founded tured goods, WISeKey can provide WISeKey soon moved from being a in Geneva in 1999, WISeKey’s first digitally encrypted badges and promoter of digital certifications and major collaboration was with inter- biometric readers to modernize your secure e-transaction systems to being national non-government organiza- facilities and increase the loyalty of an implementer and service provider tions, the International Organization your customers with authentification in this fast growing field. for Security in Electronic Transactions software. According to market research by (OISTE) foundation and the Interna- Lastly, large-scale telecommunica- Gartner, the security software market tional Telecommunication Union (ITU). tions projects – airports, office buil- increased 19% per year in recent years. The partnership yielded international dings mobile networks, etc – have WISeKey rode that market to the »»» 8
  2. 2. Carlos Moreira CEO, WISeKey “WISeKey is becoming a bit like Google … our digital identity encryption systems are becoming platforms people and organizations customize and use to manage their lives. They often do it in creative ways we hadn’t even imagined. I find that rewarding. It feels good to empower people to shape their own fortunes.” 9
  3. 3. TELECOM SPECIAL M WISEKEY MOVES INTO DIGITAL JOB CREATION »»» Carlos Moreira, WISeKey CEO, with Peter Liu, Chairman of the WI Harper Group, and John Béguin, Swiss Style Chairman and Publisher, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions, Dalian, China, September 2009 tune of millions of euros in billings nued to collaborate with a few non- “WISeKey is becoming a bit like and a sterling reputation among profit organizations. At the 2009 Google,” Moreira says. “Our digital people who think deeply and creatively Clinton Global Initiative, Moreira identity encryption systems are about the role advanced technology announced plans for WISeKey to create becoming platforms people and plays in international development. digital identity solutions for mobile organizations customize and use to Governments, both federal and phones to help the world’s immigrants, manage their lives. They often do it in municipal, regularly hired WISeKey to both legal and illegal. Few companies creative ways we hadn’t even imagined. help increase the safety and effective- can pull off these projects, for they I find that rewarding. It feels good to ness of their internet services. require that WISeKey be skilled and empower people to shape their own Corporations in industries as varied as trusted enough to play the role of fortunes.” retail and high-speed sailboats praised honest broker, coordinator and service All in all, WISeKey kept a very busy WISeKey’s customized and original provider to a country’s often com- slate. The small firm was contributing digital transaction systems for helping peting key stakeholders: government digital identity solutions to the world’s them stay a step ahead of counterfeiters ministers, business operators, the news greatest challenges, from sustainable of their products and data thieves. media, corruption watchdog groups development to security in electronic Furthermore, WISeKey stayed true and, last but far from least, consumers. transactions to immigration. In 2010, to its public service spirit and conti- WISeKey would consider a public 10
  4. 4. offering of shares in the company, so its management could invest and move quickly into mass market digital identity protection for electronic transactions. It would sell digital ID products directly to consumers. According to Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor, an eBay- backed company that helps stores like Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney sell online, e-commerce was set to grow to 15% of overall retail in the next decade from around 7%. Since e-security concerns would grow along with e-lifestyles, WISeKey’s business would flourish. Moreira thought he had all the bases covered. A fateful meeting for a new path Then Moreira met Peter Liu. A mutual friend introduced them to each other in the conference centre in “WISeKey is very excited about the prospect of helping Dalian. Liu was chairman of the WI China deploy digital ID security technologies and solutions Harper Group, one of the world’s most on a large scale” successful venture capital firms. With offices in Beijing, Taipei and San The OECD report said that govern- employ locals and distribute WISeKey’s Francisco, and special insights on the ment spending programmes on the entire suite of digital ID encryption Chinese technology markets, WI labour market – retraining pro- services to telecommunications and e- Harper Group was big time. Founded grammes, for example – could be better commerce companies and ministries. in 1996, WI Harper’s portfolio included focused. While programmes to put Needless to say, both men were companies like Sirf, a San Jose, workers on reduced hours have excited about their epiphany. “WISeKey California-based provider of GPS sustained the incomes of many jobless is very excited about the prospect of chipsets and Shanghai-based Medical people, coverage of such benefits is helping China deploy digital ID System, a clinical information system weak in some OECD countries. security technologies and solutions on provider. Peter Liu and Carlos Moreira a large scale,” Moreira said. “We will Moreira and Liu hit it off. A 15- decided on the spot that investing their draw heavily on WISeKey's experience minute chat stretched to three hours. considerable resources and talents in a in working with small and large Shared passion for international digital identity technology hub in businesses, consumers and regulators development and smart digital busi- China would be good business and to help make our partnership with WI ness eventually led the two men to good for a large society with a highly Harper a great success.” discover a new path for WISeKey’s mobile labour force. WISeKey and WI Peter Liu, chairman of WI Harper, business: job creation. Harper signed a letter of intent to said WISeKey's leadership role in the It wouldn’t be easy. The job of collaborate on developing business growing digital security market, creating jobs anywhere in the world opportunities for WISeKey in China. knowledge of all stakeholder concerns seemed practically impossible during The agreement is aimed at and ability to navigate the politics of a the recession. This fall, the Organisa- creating convergence in the electronic strong but still developing economic tion for Economic Cooperation and identity ecosystem in China by offering context were the key attractions. “We Development (OECD), a Paris-based WISeKey’s expertise in value-added are very happy to work with a New think tank that does intense research services and products to the growing Champion of the World Economic on the challenges of 30 member user community of digital identifi- Forum in helping their technology to countries (which happen to be most of cation for electronic identity cards, be deployed in China,” Liu said. “We the world’s most-developed countries), electronic tokens, biometric devices, believe WISeKey’s experience in the reported that unemployment would mobile operators and SIM identifica- area of digital security will have a remain terrible in 2010. It would rise tion. In short, they will facilitate the significant impact in China when it is to nearly 10% by the end of 2010, from growing demand for digital authenti- combined with the local manu- 5.6% in 2007, and above its previous cation products, and the two com- facturing and electronics industry.” ««« post-1979 peak of 7.5% in 1993. panies will open physical centres to 11