Michel Leduc founder and chief technologyofficer of Sim & Pin
Michel Leduc is a remarkable man. He has won four different SESAMES Awards with three different companies over the past 18 years, and he has not stopped yet. We caught up with him as he visited CARTES SECURE CONNEXIONS 2014 this week to talk about the host of clever ideas he has put into place in the past, and what he thinks are the big issues facing the industry today.
As the founder and chief technology officer of Sim & Pin, Leduc is currently working on some new ideas to “simplify life for users on the move in a secure way”, making the world of modern payments “as safe as possible”.
Which is more or less exactly where his remarkable run of SESEAMES Awards began back in 1996, when he picked up a prize on behalf of Gemplus (which combined with Axalto in June 2006 to become the digital security specialist Gemalto) for their revolutionary smart view reader. “We worked closely with Motorola to develop a smartcard reader that featured a normal CRT-style display in a unit the size of a cigarette package. People could suddenly scan and read the content of a smartcard on the move in a high-quality hand-held device.”
The idea “was very early in the market” Leduc says in his modest way. “But the concept has gone on to be industry-standard.”
Next came two wins for ASK with a Smart Paper ID innovation in 2004 that allowed an antenna and a chip to embedded into the cover of a passport (or any other kind of ID document) Ö quickly followed by another prize for the Priva C shield in 2006, designed to protect smartcards from skimming. “We even found a way to insert shields into passports, and the idea is still being used today,” Leduc adds.
Finally, in 2009 came another SESAMES accolade, this time for a new type of multi-function USB key from Neowave called the Weneo ID - designed for organisations like central and local government, lawyers and defence specialists who want to keep their data as safe as possible.
It is a remarkable run for a great innovator. But what comes next? Keeping the confidence of the general public, in short, Leduc says. “We really need to keep concentrating on making everything we do very secure, and very simple.”