As my children have got a little older they seem to have already passed the ‘why stage’. In one sense I don’t miss that stage – many parents will understand! However, I would be wrong to be pleased by the end of their many why questions.
Why is usually the most interesting question to ask, and indeed to be asked.
We can spend an inordinate amount of time trying to answer who, what, when and how for our products. Who should buy MTrust? What will they use it for? What benefits does it bring? When is it available? How much does it cost?
So in a change of tack I want to answer, from a personal perspective, why HRS built MTrust - our cloud based Identity Management solution.
So why did we do it?
First of all let’s be clear, we built MTrust because we wholeheartedly believed it was a commercially viable product. To pretend otherwise would be just that, pretence. Whilst not entirely altruistic the story of why is, thankfully, deeper.
My first true involvement in airport access control was in 1989/1990 as part of an engineering team implementing what was at the time the largest multi-site access control system in the UK, being deployed as part of a suite of security measures in response to Pan Am Flight 103 and its bombing over Lockerbie.
Having remained working in Aviation, fast forward 15 years and I found myself working again in the access control arena though by that time as a security lead with, amongst other responsibilities, policy accountability across seven UK Airport ID centres. Some of the most conscientious individuals in the field of aviation security that I have ever come across staffed those ID Centres. However, I often felt a process burdened by a regulatory and policy regime that had grown in complexity and size over the years handcuffed the teams.
The process was, and in many cases still is, paper-based, laborious, slow and the nature of the distributed workload meant its true cost and pain, whilst recognised, was not tackled. Many people had sight of how poor the end-to-end process was (pre-employment through to airside working), yet no one body had any accountability to improve that process; all carried the unnecessary pain.
For a number of reasons when I worked inside airports (a story for another time), I was not able to fully re-engineer the airport ID pass process, with only incremental improvements being made. When I left direct employment within airports and moved to HRS it was an area of unfinished business that was to become the birth of MTrust.
We have developed MTrust to answer the three main historic whys:
Why is there no sense of community for airport passes?
Airports have not historically viewed any competitive advantage from improving the end-to-end access control process. The result is an acceptance of regulatory requirements being met in the 21st Century by 20th Century paper-based processes. Even when electronic methods are used for some aspects of the process, they are limited in reach and often still require multiple re-keying of information. That information remains in poor quality and often out of date silos that are impossible to share across the aviation community. As a key example, moving staff from one airport to another normally involves completing the process from scratch at the second airport.
Why is there no full scale attack on process waste?
I am yet to meet anyone involved in the ID Pass Application process who does not find some or most of it as an administrative headache, with rework, repetition and repetition (do you see what I did there) accepted as the norm. Beyond the economic drain from waste (pun intended) many involved will seek to find short cuts, it is a part of human nature. That can lead to loopholes or unintended security risks not being mitigated against.
Why is there no cognisance of customer service?
Airports, as a generalisation, recognise that 99.9% of passengers passing through their airports pose no intended security risk to their airport or aircraft operating from the airport. The same is true for staff members. However, the ID pass process has offered poor customer service and it is not unusual for members of airport ID schemes to be wary of complaining too hard, lest their applications are viewed suspiciously. Thankfully forward thinking airports are now realising that helping their airlines, other on-airport partners and themselves operate more efficiently and enabling all to grow is strategically important.
The advent of secure Cloud processing and storage has allowed us to build and deploy MTrust in a way that benefits all parties in the end-to-end process whilst ensuring the principle of user pays - through transaction based pricing – can be adopted for the benefit of all without the cost of change being a burden to the few.
We have built a community platform for all airports and all companies operating at airports to benefit from.
This is at the heart of MTrust and will always be so.