Managing Director, SEAMFIX, Mr. Chimezie Emewulu, spoke to Emma Okonji on the benefits of BioRegistra in digitizing data capture and archiving for organizational growth. Excerpts:
Your company SEAMFIX, recently launched a new data management solution called BioRegistra. What is the solution all about and what does it seek to address?
BioRegistra is a platform for all forms of registrations that are designed to capture data for various reasons. So the platform helps people in digitizing their data, which is critical for business growth. People acquire data because they need the information captured in the data to do a lot of things.
The need to digitize data in the first instance will enable custodians of data to see their data real-time and make the best of the decision, based on the information they have at hand. BioRegistra can capture all forms of demographic data, including fingerprint and facial capture. We were motivated to design and create the BioRegistra based on the request we got from customers who felt the need for a solution that can capture data accurately and safely store such data for future use. Over the years. SEAMFIX has been involved in data capturing for various organizations and it was based on our pedigree that customers came to us to seek for a solution that will address their business needs.
So we decided to create the BioRegistra, which is a generic platform that captures all manners of data from where people and businesses could source information from.
So with the ready platform, businesses will roll out much faster since every single data they need to promote their business, is already captured.
What is the cost implication of the solution for customers?
The cost implication is very minimal and it is almost free because businesses do no longer need to build their own data center to begin business. Again, customers pay according to what they use on the platform. It is easy to deploy since it is mobile device-based and most people have mobile phones that are connected to the internet. So the solution can be on the mobile phone, or on any device that is not mobile.
So how does it operate and what specific challenges does it address?
BioRegistra was designed to help businesses do more and achieve more. A lot of businesses that spend time capturing and analyzing data will find our solution very helpful. So it is a platform used for direct data acquisition such that the user does not need to start any form of reconciliation and that is a lot of value added for the customer. So SEAMFIX is adding value to the Nigerian economy, through its solutions that support businesses.
What is the advantage of the solution to customers?
Any customer that keys into the solution, gets the business transacted earlier than estimated. It helps to make quick and on the spot assessment and the decision making is faster once they have the data. It also helps to address a lot of reconciliatory issues with customers’ businesses. Again they do not need to invest in data, neither will they have to get worried about losing their data, since their data is securely kept. It is an enterprise portal system that provides business owners with access to data, anytime any day.
What kind of support does SEAMFIX offer the society where it operates?
We have a lot of internship programmes where we develop a lot of talents and we do a lot of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes to further add value to businesses. We are in partnership with the Education Society Council in Enugu State and we partnered them to provide educational materials, and classroom infrastructure and renovation, among others.
Data explosion is on the increase and the volume of communication is moving from voice to data. What is your take on data growth in Nigeria?
There has been tremendous growth in data across all sectors of the Nigerian economy, but the issue on ground is that most of the data are not digitally archived for the future. In the education sector, most schools, including tertiary institutions still keep data in hard copies of papers instead of in electronic form, which I refer to as digital archiving. University of Nigeria, Nsukka for instance, until last year, had all its students data in physical hard copies, which could be lost to fire outbreak or even insects at any given time, but when the school authority invited us to help them out, we took all the physical copies of students’ results, certificates, and other academic records and digitised them, after which we ran analysis on them to find out the courses that students passed the most and courses that students failed the most. So the school is now able to know, within seconds, the number of students that graduated with first class, second class upper, second class lower and third class in a particular year, a situation that takes them months to analyze before we were introduced to the school system. So the consciousness of digitally archiving data is gradually gaining grounds in most sectors of the economy.
Most organizations still host their data outside the country for fear of data loss due to insecurity. How can you raise the confidence of organizations to begin to capture data in Nigeria and host same in Nigeria?
With our solution, which is cloud-based, customers do not need to entertain fears about generating data and hosting such data in Nigeria because our solution comes with high level of security protection.
Most data generated in Nigeria, operate in silos, but there is a need to harmonize the various data into a single data platform. What is your take on this?
SEAMFIX is worried that several data in Nigeria operate in silos and we are interested in harmonizing such data into a single platform for easy access if given the opportunity to do so. Again, we have the capacity to harmonize existing government data that are seated in various offices, but my worry is that government may not want to give such task to a homegrown company like SEAMFIX, despite the fact that we are capable of achieving a good result if given the opportunity. If allowed to do so, I am assuring the federal government, state and local governments that SEAMFIX will always deliver in record-breaking time.
Most times organizations need solutions that could clean up their existing data that may have been wrongly captured. Do you have solutions for that?
The BioRegistra solution that we just launched has the capabilities to clean up all existing data of organizations that were improperly captured. The solution is able to carry out deep facial analysis of photographs of people that had long been captured and identify whether the earlier registration captured the picture very well. The analysis will detect errors in registration and flag it down to identify it. Once that is detected, the person could be invited for re-capturing.
How will your solution enhance quality data capturing for organizations that are known for quality?
In data capturing, quality is key, and three major things could lead to quality. They are the demographics capturing, the fingerprint capturing and the facial capturing. In capturing demographics, we need to consider the regular patterns of some names and validate them, and this will help to easily identify wrong names. For the facial capturing, we consider the analysis and validation of the photo at the point of capture to ascertain the real photo of the person involved. We are also able to capture data offline and that makes it easier for data capturing in areas where there is no internet connection. For the fingerprint, we also consider capturing the exact template size that will enable the creation of a template for identification purpose. Our solution ensures that the right quality fingerprint is captured and stored in the right format for easy conversion.
How cost-effective is your solution, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)?
Our solution is extremely cost-effective, both for SMEs and big enterprises, and this is so because customers pay for what they use and the burden of getting the infrastructure to capture organizational data, is completely removed from the organization, and this, of course, allows them to face their core businesses. What they need do is to pay per capture and that makes it less expensive for customers. All we need to know at SEAMFIX is about the volume of data that the organization wants to capture and in record time, we get it done for the customer.
How do you address downtime in an organization, using your solution?
We have uptime objective of 99.997per cent, which is a very high signal level for any business to thrive on. A lot of time, we maintain high-level uptime in our data capturing and management.
Is your solution secured and easily assessable?
Our solution is highly secured and easily assessable because of the high-quality features embedded in it. It has a high level of encryption that makes it highly secured and it is user-friendly, such that customers can adopt it and use it with ease. Again the backend has a lot of fireworks that makes it even more secured.
The federal government is particular about local content development. What amount of local content is embedded in your solution?
The BioRegistra we just launched, has 100 percent local content. It was developed by Nigerians and the solution was developed from the beginning to the end with local materials and by local software developers. Again, the company is managed by Nigerians and the staff comprises young Nigerians.
You started SEAMFIX about 10 years ago from a three bedroom flat with N75,000, but today it has grown into millions of naira investments. What has been the challenges and prospects?
There has been a lot of challenges ranging from personal experience and from the government side of it. Funding used to be a major challenge at a time but we were able to overcome it through resilience and perseverance. A lot of customers who did not understand what we were doing, tried to discourage us, but we remained resolute and committed to our goals. Another challenge we had was that of mentorship but it was also resolved when we met some good industry players who understood our dreams and aspirations and they stood by us. We had challenges of infrastructure and we had to provide internet connectivity for ourselves by investing in fiber cable laying, which often times they are destroyed by the government during road construction.
How will you rate customers’ acceptability and adaptability to the BioRegistra solution?
Acceptance rate is growing as customers get to understand the unique features of our solution. The solution is also app-based and could be downloaded from the Google Play Store and it comes with an education menu that teaches people how to apply it in their various businesses. The site is very flexible and has a lot of training materials that customer could use for self-training. The solution will be quite useful for internal revenue generation because it captures right data that will address revenue loss in organizations.
The Executive Director, Seamfix Nigeria Limited, Mr. Chibuzor Onuorah, speaks on the national identity system and the company’s new data management solution in this interview with IFE OGUNFUWA
The National Identity Management Commission has been doing some work in the area of data capturing but many Nigerians have not been able to obtain their National Identification Number. What solutions do you think should be deployed to get the expected results?
There is quite a lot that has gone under the bridge. The NIMC is making some excellent strides right now. If I were there, it is what they are doing now that I would be doing; which is to consolidate the various databases from the security and identify perspectives. It is okay for organizations to have their silos of data. That will never go away. Even countries that have social security number still have various companies having their own data but from the identity perspective, a country should have a central identity and I think NIMC is doing a wonderful job by collating this. The more they push for the collation of these databases, to match the identity in the SIM registration system or BVN system, the better. From the operational perspective, I want to believe that since they have started collating these data, they are putting measures in place for the operational part, which is the distribution and getting people to have these ID cards as well as the replacement of missing ID cards. For any system, you must build and then maintain. If you tar a road and five years later you don’t introduce an operational process, you will not maintain it. For the technology aspect which we are privy to, the consolidation of the databases is the way to go.
We have problems with trackable identity in Nigeria. Is your company looking at partnering security agencies to investigate crime perpetrators using your platform?
At Seamfix, we view ourselves as enablers for businesses and people, to help them do their business well. For instance, we have a security company today that has signed up for BioRegistra. They are utilizing the platform to track and manage their members of staff so that as they outsource the security workers around the country, they are able to track them. We empower them to do this. We won’t do these ourselves because we are not a security outfit. Our hope is that one day, our national security agencies like the Nigerian Police Force may find BioRegistra a veritable tool, to either come to utilize or request the security company’s platform. For us, our own interest is to provide an enabling platform and tools to do their business.
What are the important features of a trackable identity system?
To have a trackable identity, we must have a uniquely identifiable identity. And to have something unique, you have to ensure that you have a centralized system; and you have been able to ensure that within that centralized database, the information occurs only once. That is part of the work the NIMC is doing now and that is the first step. If you get that first step right, you can properly track the lifecycle of that identity as it interacts through various aspects of the system. But our forte is to empower organizations to do their business better. If it means capturing human information or verifying that information against an identity database, so be it.
What is your new product, BioRegistra, about?
BioRegistra is a cloud-based data capture and management solution. It is a solution that enables anyone from anywhere in the world to set up a captured project, specify what they would like captured no matter how complex or simple it is-fingerprints or facial-and define the process for how they want the data captured as well as set up their agents if they need one. BioRegistra also allows them to capture this data from a computer whether online or offline. As soon as the app detects an Internet connection, it synchronizes the data. With that data captured from different locations, it tags the data with the location they are captured from so that the administrator of the data can log into the administrative consul and begin to make sense of the data.
Does it allow users to analyze their data?
As long as you have defined the data in your form and it is captured, you can analyze it. For example, if at the end of the year, you want to have a Christmas party, you can log into your platform and the data will let you know that 70 percent of people live around Ikorodu in Lagos State and the other 30 percent live elsewhere. The system has the capacity to design custom report if you want and we have our dedicated personnel to assist in doing this.
Is there provision for harmonization of data of the same person logged on to the platform by different organizations?
There are two people that matter in these- the users whose data have been captured and the company the users have given consent to. If your data ends up on our platform for any reason, you have given permission to the organization to use it. Based on that promise, asking companies to share data will be a difficult thing because we have to protect the sanctity of customer information. However, we can give users the right to allow some other companies requesting for their data to give the data available on the platform, although this is not available today, it is something being considered.
BioRegistra is cloud-based state of the art platform developed for individuals, corporates, and government, among others to assist them to capture data, store the data, and have access to the data at any time they desire.
The innovative data capture and data management platform, allows a fully automated process that guarantees seamless execution of all KYC business processes, thus enabling faster customer on-boarding and increasing customer satisfaction.
Speaking during the launch, Chimezie Emewulu, SEAMFIX MD, reiterated that BioRegistra was conceptualized to deal with the challenges of accurate data management. Nigeria’s major challenge is gathering needed data for accurate needs and assessment. With BioRegistra, this challenge is history as the platform can be used to capture all forms of data – animate or inanimate.
BioRegistra provides data validation and all-time accessibility from any part of the world. The intelligent quarantine engine is designed to detect fraudulent and fictitious records and prevent them from being processed. In terms of security, the captured data is hosted on a world-class, secure, reliable and trusted cloud platform, so you have no reason to worry about information safety.
Seamfix calls on government and companies to start making data-driven decisions for improved efficiency and this cannot happen if data is still locked in files and paper archives. Traditionally, we fill paper-based forms in loads of situations when we are applying for different things; from our letter of identification at the local government areas to affidavits at courts to even marriage registries. BioRegistra eliminates this manual process because it enables capture of data into a central database with real-time analysis.
It is better, more efficient and cost-effective.
“BioRegistra is a demonstration of the customer-centric approach adopted by the company to ensure that users derive maximum value from the platform.” – Chibuzor Onwurah, Executive Director of SEAMFIX stated as he unveiled the product to the audience.
In today’s business climate, insightful data is king. Informed decisions are made based on data. BioRegistra is designed to deliver this insightful data into the hands of discerning individuals, corporate organizations, and governments in real time.
Seamfix achieved yet another milestone on August 21, 2017, when BioRegistra, our unique data capture platform, was deployed for capturing the data of 2000 reinstated staff of Local Government and SUBEB in Katsina State. These staff members had been disengaged by the previous administration of the State, and upon reinstatement, the authorities decided to automate their data capture. BioRegistra partnered with Skye Bank to render this service.
BioRegistra is an innovative identity management platform that enables individuals and corporate organizations capture and retrieve any form of information – biometric configurations (textual biodata, fingerprints, portraits), security configurations, accounting records, etc. Using BioRegistra, the captured information is saved on the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. The flexibility and dynamism of the platform make BioRegistra easily adaptable for specific identity management needs.
BioRegistra is a product of Seamfix, and so this is significant for the brand. The capture in Katsina was recorded as smooth, peaceful and safe. Honourable Abdul Kadir Zakka, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, visited the project site on the first day and commended the efforts of the BioRegistra team.
from left to right: Bashir Surajo Gambo (Bdm Skye Katsina), Abubakar I. Masari Director common Service, Hon. Abdul Kadir Zakka Commissioner for local Govt and chieftaincy matters, Ebuka Oguno, Lawal Shuaibu Mani Ministry’s PRO, Skye Bank Staff
One of the things usually unaccounted for in government, and often the source of outrage by the masses, is a number of resources spent (wasted) in public administration. Sometimes it appears there is a certain pleasure derivable from duplicating offices and processes to the detriment of the masses. The line between the portfolio of one government officer/office and another is sometimes not clearly defined in Nigeria, which results in repetition of processes and activities.
Take for instance the idea of processing through immigration and customs and other government offices before traveling outside the country or entering it. The documentation usually required by each of these organizations is the same and as such, there can be a central database that is accessible to such concerned organizations. Such database would also be accessible in the long-term so that a person does not have to start processing or showing all the documentation over and over again each time he or she wants to travel.
Maintaining a database like this makes it easier for government organizations to store and access information in a central location, accessible to all concerned, and this saves time that can be used more productively. It also saves up a cost for the government and citizens.
In Nigeria, for example, some things are done so repeatedly they begin to wear people down. One is forced to ask if there is some sort of pleasure we derive from stress? Go to schools and see how repetitive the registration process can be. Go to government offices and see how records are filed and lost. But we cannot remain like this, not in our world where automation has made life much easier.
Some of these problems can easily be solved by BioRegistra which has features that enable easy and flexible data capture anytime and anywhere for the convenience of both the government agencies and the people. Data captured on BioRegistra is stored in the cloud and can be accessed anytime and from anywhere, making it a viable data capture solution to harmonize the repetitive activities of some agencies of the government. Once information about a particular individual is stored and shared with relevant organizations, it can be easily accessed by any of them from anywhere.
Life is that easy. There is no need to make it more complicated and more stressful than it should be.
Have you ever walked into a tailor’s shop and you were confronted with the sorry sight of the tailor turning the shop upside down in search of measurements for making a client’s outfit? It can be a pitiable sight, ehn? You would see the frustration on his face, the worry, and stress of trying to find that small piece of paper on which he jotted down the measurements, the sweat. It can be really agonizing searching for information you need very badly, even worse when that information can make you lose a client.
But that is only one out of so many cases. What about schools that misplace students’ information? I remember a story once told of a certain university in Southeastern Nigeria where students were made to re-register during their third year because the school could not find the students’ records anymore. It was unbelievable, totally unbelievable in this day and age.
But we do not have to wait for bad things to happen before we swing into action. We can plan for them and even mitigate them before they occur. After all, prevention, they say, is better than cure.
From the tailor who misplaces measurements to school management authorities that lose students’ information, to even parents who do not take due diligence to keep appropriate files for their nannies, house-helps, drivers and next-of-kins, everyone essentially, there is need to efficiently manage all kinds of data.
In our world of information overload and population explosion, there has never been more need for an efficient identity management system such as BioRegistra. There should be no more excuses for data loss or misplacement. No more excuses of missing files. No more excuses of errors and loopholes caused by negligence on the part of data handlers. We can do something before the situation becomes malignant. We do not have to wait for a disaster to happen before taking safety measures because prevention will always be better than cure.
Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) are generally considered by economists as an integral part of the story for Africa’s fast rising socio-economically. The FMCG is also arguably one the largest industries globally, thriving on meeting consumers constantly changing needs. Thus, product surveys are constantly done, studying the market for Customer Knowledge/preference, to enable targeted manufacture and distribution of goods. Achieving this customer knowledge involves doing Below-the-line marketing, surveys, questionnaires, etc.
The Challenge of the market is the limited platforms available today are expensive and not easily configurable to meet the exact needs of each of these FMCGs. Thus they engage more in below-the-line-marketing. One of the major characteristics of below-the-line marketing is the engagement of customers on a one to one basis and the engagement with people in rural areas. These FMCGs always end up with systems which must be connected to the internet to use, thereby making it difficult for them to connect with those in the rural areas.
Furthermore, some of these FMCGs will prefer to migrate these data after capture to their 3rd party analytic systems for further analysis but cannot; as what is available wouldn’t permit data transfer and retrieval using APIs.
Solutions have seemed utopian until BioRegistra. BioRegistra is the Solution of Product Survey data collection.BioRegistra is a textual data capture system, that can be used online and offline, and allows data retrieval with its set of API.
What this means is that users can configure textual information, publish a link for users to fill out the form or do the data survey capture themselves using the windows and android capture apps. The owners of such published projects can then run a report of these captured records and view analytics from the portal. This enables them to make informed decisions easily.
Users are also able to capture data even in remote/rural areas where there are no network connections. This data comfortably sits on the device and gets synced to the backend whenever the user has a network. Data captured can then be easily integrated to other systems for further use, or reports generated and exported in multiple formats.
Questions on how this can work for your specific industry are welcome as comments. Also see more or contact us on BioRegistra.com
An Internet Service Provider involved in providing internet service to individuals, with location nationwide.
As a regulatory requirement, Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements had to be done for her customers before Internet source is supplied to them. This is to ensure they don’t fall foul of NCC regulation which requires that valid subscriber details are captured.
The challenge was the availability of a system that could easily help them configure what they needed to capture based on the KYC requirements, and also be sure that any detail captured by their field agents are valid and pass the NCC specifications.
There was also the need to ensure that these captured data could be retrieved in a format accepted by NCC and could also be integrated to their CRM for their subsequent Customer follow up and marketing activities easily.
BioRegistra’s core value is its ability to allow users dynamically configure forms that can then be used to register people and data generally. The ISP was set up and with its Registration feature, was used to capture her customers during sales.
BioRegistra also does a validation on biometric information real time; it validates that the portrait capture is a real face with both eyes open, no cap covering the face, etc, and also checks that the fingerprint quality is high. With this assurance, the ISP was able to send her field agents to capture subscribers when making sales, with the assurance that every captured record will be accepted by NCC.
With the set of APIs offered by BioRegistra, she was also able to conveniently and instantly retrieve the captured data to be used in other third party CRM systems and was also able to receive theses captured data in XML format, a format ready to be sent to the Communication regulatory body.
Security Services Companies offer different security services, one of which is recruiting and outsourcing security operatives to Individuals and Corporates. As part of its processes, they recruit staff, train and send them to other companies, and from time to time need to verify that personnel seen on site are actually recruited by them and not impersonators and that they attend work daily.
Here lies the challenge; recruiting these staff means their data needs to be captured and printed for ID card issuance. Also, identifying these operatives after they have been deployed can prove difficult as impersonators can easily assume the identity of an operative – the sites just assume the Security service company has replaced or added a new operative. Furthermore, it becomes a problem for these operatives to be tracked. At the end of the month, the Security service company is expected to submit a report of their operatives’ attendance. With sites scattered all over the country, it’s nearly impossible to always do physical checks and is inconsistent and inefficient too.
The simple solution to this is BioRegistra. BioRegistra’s registration, identification, time and attendance functionalities enable it to solve these problems easily.
With BioRegistra, Security service companies can create registration projects that can be used to capture all her operatives using the Android or Windows desktop capture apps. These data can then be retrieved using API to be printed on an ID card printer. The system also ensures that the quality of the captured portrait is checked real time to ensure it meets ID card standard.
Subsequently, users will be required to clock in and out of work every day using either their fingerprint, their live selfie or a unique ID assigned to them after they have been captured, this can then be run at the end of a month to get the report of their attendance from the BioRegistra portal regardless of their location.
In partnership with Skye Bank, we have successfully kicked off yet another Biocapture Exercise in Katsina State, the on-going biometric capture exercise in Katsina would aim to curb incidents of ghost workers and produce a clean nominal payroll for the State.
The execution of the biometric data capture in the state will eliminate fraudulent activities in the civil service and ascertain that salaries being allocated to civil servants are properly coordinated and disbursed efficiently to the appropriate persons.
The biometric capture exercise commenced on the 19th October, 2015 in all 3 Senatorial zones; Katsina North Zone (Daura), Katsina South Zone (Funtua) and Katsina Central Zone (Katsina) simultaneously.
Members of the following group will partake in the capture exercise:
Local Government Area (LGA)
Local Government Education Authority (LGEA)
Image below shows the commencement of the Biometric capture exercise in Bakori LGA
From left is Alhaji Maigari S. Danjuma (mni), Chairman for Verification in Funtua senatorial zone; followed by the State Chairman, Alhaji Usma M. Maska; followed by Chike Okafoeze (Seamfix Project Manager coordinating the Capture Exercise); followed by Abubakar M. Maska (Funtua zone committee member); followed by Alhaji Abdullahi Maikaka (committee member), and Alhaji Umaru Ismail Bakori (Education Secretary, Bakori LGEA)