FRS Labs: Securing your Digital Identity

Shankar P Founder & CEO FRS Labs | Bio-metric Company | Insights Success

In establishing a person’s identity, the use of Biometrics technology seems to be unmatched. Consistently evolving, it has moved from just fingerprints used in forensic applications to face, veins, voice, gait, and even distinct heart rate to uniquely identify and authenticate individuals for all sorts of applications. And this unique characteristic – either individually or in combination – is now being widely used to create a secure way to safely verify a user for a variety of services. Capitalizing on the inimitable properties of biometrics is FRS Labs, an award-winning research and development company focused on digital identity verification (KYC) and customer onboarding solutions for consumers and businesses. Its flagship Atlas AI platform uses advanced deep learning and computer vision technologies for accurate ID scanning (OCR), face biometrics for authentication and video verification including voice biometrics for non-repudiation.
The Launch Pad
It all started in 2011 when the company built a fraud detection product in the telecom space in partnership with Vodafone Group. From detection, it moved to prevention with the launch of their prevention product Atreus which is still running. With the digital push in India, it looked at the entire onboarding process to both automate and digitize it.  Face and voice biometrics played out as its building blocks toward the Atlas AI platform and it added the OCR capability followed by video verifications. The latest addition to its armour is KYZO, a personal digital KYC vault that allows citizens to securely store their identities in their own device which can be shared online and offline easily. It’s a novel way to hold one’s physical IDs in digital form that can be shared online or offline seamlessly.
FRSLabs kept improvising with the help of feedback from early clients which helped it validate and refine the products. The insane hours that the team put in to make customers happy at early stages seem totally worthwhile looking at the rewards it is reaping right now. It has since won several competitions and is recognized across the globe. The first one from TiE Bangalore was special followed by the accelerators organized by the Canadian Government, Yes Bank and Societe Generale Bank. Most recently it won two back to back FinTech competitions in Abu Dhabi and Cairo for its innovative customer onboarding (KYC) solutions.
The Driving Force
At FRS Labs, Shankar P., the Founder and CEO is also the chief disruptor pushing engineers out of their comfort zones and setting the roadmap to take FRSLabs to serve a billion people by 2025. Many a time, the Engineers claim it’s too complex when they look at a bigger problem only to amaze themselves that they have a working product a year later – a simple approach of breaking everything down to smaller problems which then becomes within reach to solve. Shankar ironically doesn’t consider himself as a leader. He believes that small teams act as small movements driving change: certainly not in giant leaps, but one step at a time. He often tells, “There’s nothing wrong being slow, but we need to make fewer mistakes in order to be fast.”
Hurdles on the Way
Two key challenges for biometric applications are security and privacy. Taking the case of Aadhaar, which revolutionized the delivery of welfare and services through biometric authentication, it now takes just a few minutes to obtain a SIM card through biometric verification. However, it is done by the state with a central repository holding all of the biometric information – albeit with the highest possible protection. In the wrong hands, it can cause devastating economic and civil liberty issues for an entire nation. The company believes that despite the challenges, the opportunities are just too great to be brushed aside. And these opportunities will genuinely transform the lives of millions in the years to come. A billion people in the world currently lack a formal ID and about 3.5 billion people have some form of ID but have limited use in both online and offline world (ID4D Database). And with such large gaps, there is a lot that can be done and biometric technologies combined with privacy stands at the crosshair of an identity revolution.
Meanwhile, FRSLabs faces the other kind of challenge in the market, that of being a start-up. More often than not clients don’t fully understand the benefits of working with start-ups. One of the biggest advantages is that it jumps straight into the action, cutting across hierarchies. A single person acts as product specialist, coder, technical lead, project manager and so on to move things faster – the buck usually stops with one person who sorts things out for customers – despite the plethora of people and processes involved. And the decision making is also fairly fast; if a client needs something and if it fits within our overall roadmap, it gets done fairly quickly – and often for free. And customers usually get a lot more than what they pay for.
Envisioning Future
All that said, FRS Labs is making it a point to provide a safe and private digital identity, make it a public good and touch the lives of a billion people in the coming years. Shankar adds, “The population in 10 years will grow to 8.5 billion (UN report) with people in the age group 15 – 60 forming the largest demographic group. And over half the people (4.5 billion) do not have an identity or have one that can be used seamlessly oine and online, so there’s a long way to go to bridge the physical-digital divide. And this really is our vision

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