Citizen has formed a strategic partnership with Netherlands-based ID giant, DPS, to offer a new cloud-based solution, the fastID system, for the official document market. Read on to learn more about the company and the new solution that has the Citizen CZ-01 at its heart.
Paul Visser had enjoyed a career in software development, computer vision and robotics. As digital photography was finding its feet, he found himself being commissioned by the national police to develop a new mugshot system. The resulting solution was adopted by the government as a system that served to communicate and extract critical data from the digital camera. DPS was born.
That was more than twenty years ago, and even though the mugshot system stayed with the Netherlands Police Force as an exclusive commission, the new business rapidly evolved to drive the benefits of the software into a range of products to serve the wider ID market.
Paul Visser - CEO DPS.
The software’s capabilities were so robust, that it eliminated the need for a skilled photographer to take a suitable photograph and assess the quality. Not only this, but it could also extract faces from images, and crop them to the right perspective and proportion, extracting the image in the required format. It's all done automatically by the software. DPS was the first company to use biometrics in photography and in the subsequent years, DPS’ ID solutions have reached customers as diverse as justice departments, for use in jails, airport border controls, defence departments and even the Royal Air Force.
More recently, Paul had been developing a new ID solution, based on cloud technology, for the modern photo retail and passport business. With a post-covid travel economy in recovery mode, the intention was to create a small-format solution that could be integrated within a broad range of applications.
Paul explained: “We have been developing our ‘cloud’ solution for the past five to six years. This has now been rolled out and is in use in a number of countries. The system connects all of our customers in any particular country to our cloud service. This cloud service then connects directly to their government departments. To facilitate that, photo stores take a digital passport photo, upload it to a cloud storage system and then governments that issue passports and driving licenses can take that photo from the cloud for use in a passport or driver's license. This relieves them of the security issues around printed passport photos. We realise the fact that this approach keeps the service within the traditional photo and retail environments. Although the retail sector is very tough right now, with most of our customers and potential customers looking for a low cost solution which will generate a great service with a high margin. So, in partnership with Citizen, we have developed a new solution, the DPS fastID, with a very small physical footprint, which is perfectly suited to these environments.”
The partnership with Citizen has developed over time and has come to fruition due to a number of factors. The printer of choice for the project is the Citizen CZ-01. Not least due to its small form factor, but also due to its unbeatable print quality and worry-free reliability that comes as standard with every Citizen printer.
Paul added: “The quality and reliability issues for the chosen printer are critical to the success of the project. The system requires minimal technical know-how for it to be applicable in a wide variety of business and government departments. It needs to be user-friendly and assume that the user is not a photo professional.”
In addition to this, the relationship with the printer manufacturer is crucial to the success of the project. Every piece of equipment supplied for the fastID project must be produced to bespoke standards and configuration in order for the whole operation to function successfully. This has required a significant level of support and long-term commitment from Citizen and will see Citizen’s EMEA Photo Business Manager, Gary Andrews, working closely with Paul and his team as the project continues to roll out across Europe and internationally.
Paul with some members of his team, along with Gary Andrews, EMEA Business Manager, Photo, Citizen (far left).
Gary Andrews, Citizen’s EMEA Business Manager, Photo, said: “Our partnership with Paul and the team at DPS has been built over the past few years on a mutual desire to develop and deliver a solution to the ID market that is cloud-based and accessible to the traditional retail sector. The evolution of Citizen’s photo printers and, in particular, the CZ-01 model, has brought the new system to life. Paired with DPS’ powerful, market-leading software, the fastID system has arrived as an attractive and potentially lucrative addition to any photo retailer. It’s also proving to be attractive to lateral retail channels, such as convenience and specialist travel outlets.”
Gary continued: “I’ve known Paul for a great many years. The agreement we have in place between DPS and Citizen is unique and I’m looking forward to driving the partnership and the fastID solution forward. With its small physical footprint, market-leading hardware, software and service, it’s a very attractive proposition and hard to beat in terms of its quality and overall reliability.”