A European driver licensing agency turns to IBM to design and help implement its next-generation driving license production operations.
IBM devised a flexible, secure, resilient and efficient end-to-end solution for transforming production operations in anticipation of rolling out a new security-rich driver's license.
The government of a European country had raised concerns about the security of its existing driver's license, citing an increase in counterfeiting and identity fraud. The last remaining security feature had been compromised and the existing equipment used to produce the licenses was reaching its "end of life." The licensing agency needed to upgrade its operation to accommodate changing security requirements and increasing volume. At the same time, it wished to position itself as the provider of future government card services requiring a later addition of a chip with no visual change.
Working in partnership through IBM Research Services, experts from IBM Research-Zurich and Global Business Services (GBS) addressed the client's needs in two primary fields. The first area involved the individual technology components required for the production of a high-security, government-issued document, including document and process security considerations, data preparation and secure data and material flow as well as machine selection and integration. The second area involved operational process design, which included redesigning existing process flows to best integrate state of the art production technology. Since the work began, more than 17 million driver’s licenses have been produced, and residence permit cards with embedded biometric technology have been introduced.
What IBM did
IBM designed the license upgrade with an eye toward addressing requirements for: flexibility—allowing it to react to changes or new business; resilience—helping the agency meet its operational service level requirements; security—boosting public confidence in the agency as an identity provider; and efficiency—enabling it to reduce costs.
The project provided the client with a complete end-to-end technical architecture, including the production equipment, the workflow software, the infrastructure, the card specification, as well as provisions for quality and security management. The IBM Research team spent 16 months doing extensive industry research, including visits to all the major card and machinery suppliers, and then collaborated with GBS consultants to devise the solution.
In an effort to address the agency's need for flexibility, efficiency and resilience, the IBM solution decoupled the process of producing the licenses and their associated counterparts. Rather than producing the two components in tandem, as was previously done, IBM recommended producing the licenses and counterparts in parallel using IBM Infoprint Workflow solution to manage reconciliation. By decoupling the production process, individual printers and mailing machines could be combined as needed, so that if one printer jammed or became disabled it did not affect mailer throughput. The IBM Infoprint Workflow solution provided additional flexibility to the client because it could be expanded to integrate more complex production machinery.
To produce high quality portraits for the new licenses using existing license images, IBM developed a high performance image enhancement engine that applies a dynamic series of enhancement steps to each image. The end result is one of the largest card personalization plants in the world that has produced more than 17 million driver’s licenses since the project’s inception.
In 2008, the client used the IBM technology to produce a biometric residence permit card that incorporates the Extended Access Control standard for protecting the cardholder’s biometric information stored on the chip.
IBM's expertise in multiple areas—from data security to workflow management to the mechanics of card production—provided the agency with an end-to-end solution that underscores IBM's position at the forefront of Identity Card/Driving License Smartcard development—an expertise that likely will be in great demand as other countries engage in similar efforts.