Q&A: Oberthur Technologies
Didier Lamouche, Chief Executive office of Oberthur Technologies
Didier Lamouche, Chief Executive Officer of Oberthur Technologies (OT), tells CARTES Daily News how his company is helping customers – and what he is looking forward to seeing at CARTES this week
Q You have just completed a multi-million euro refinancing of the company. Why?
A We decided to refinance our capital structure in order to take advantage of favourable market conditions and, after six months in the company, I also wanted to reset the base so that the company benefits from improved financial conditions to enable us to accelerate our development. I’m very pleased by the overwhelming support investors have shown, oversubscribing our offering.
Q You have spoken about OT entering a new period of development, so what differences do you think customers will see in the future?
A I believe customers will come to realise that we are not just a smartcard manufacturer anymore, but a software and solutions company. We have a clear ambition in this space over the next three years. And now that we have more options in the usage of our free cash flow, our customers will of course benefit from the acceleration of our investment in new solutions we bring to market. We are changing our branding with a new market positioning and corporate identity: we’re clearly positioning ourselves in what we believe to be the future of the market.
Q What new markets and growth opportunities do you see over the next few years?
A Our core business for the past 30 years has always been about developing security software embedded in objects mostly in the payment, telecommunications and identity markets. What’s changed is that our environment has been disrupted by the explosion in mobility. Mobility has become a way of life and creates an opportunity for us to develop and manage new security solutions to protect the digital assets of our customers and their end-users. We don’t just sell security anymore, we sell mobility and that’s where the future market value lies.
Q Are you revealing any new products or services at CARTES this week?
A Our full range of services and solutions are highlighted during this week in the fields of Smart Transactions, Mobile Financial Services, Machine-to-Machine, Digital Identity and Transport and Access Control. We are also showcasing LASINK, a breakthrough in the Identity industry - the very first technology to generate a colour photo on a polycarbonate card by laser engraving. And there are, of course, other exciting initiatives which you will be hearing about during CARTES.
Q In your opinion, what are the two biggest challenges facing the secure connections industry today?
A The increasing number of connected objects, expected to reach 50 billion by 2020, and the exponential growth of data connections are certainly two of the biggest challenges ahead in terms of volume. At the same time, the challenge will be managing this level of complexity without interfering with the user experience.
The current deployment of LTE is one part of the answer, but connectivity providers will also have to cope with more flexible subscription management needs and demanding service level agreement, especially in the machine-to-machine ecosystem. OT is innovating in all these domains, for instance with the M-Connect solution, nominated in the Software category, which allows M2M connectivity provider to remotely activate and change subscriptions in connected objects while they are in the field.
Q If you have the time, what CARTES events will you try to get to yourself?
A As Brazil is the Guest of Honour country, I’ll try to participate in the different events related to a nation where we have an extremely rich portfolio of customers and a recognized positioning in new markets including contactless payment. I will also visit the Smart Shopping area, as we have a demo space there, and I’ll check out Milipol.
QApart from Brazil, what other parts of the world is your business particularly interested in?
A I’m truly passionate about the mission-critical projects that OT is bringing to life for its customers. Their expectations and the ones of their end users vary in different parts of the world. Our offers are built to address both mature and emerging markets. For instance, in OT’s extensive mobile financial services portfolio of solutions, mobile operators and financial institutions can already select what best serves their customers from branchless mobile micro-finance services to EMV banking card emulation in an NFC Smartphone.
Q Finally, which three words best describe the ethos of OT?
A Innovation, customer-focused, leadership.