Three major threats - ad blockers, ad bots and hackers - are compromising ad-based revenue models, says Inside Secure Chairman and Chief Executive Amedeo D’Angelo.
Can you provide in brief the formation and the early days of Inside Secure?
Inside Secure is a spin-off of Gemalto (at the time Gemplus) that occurred in 1995. The aim of the company was to build a series of Secure Microcontrollers with RFID interface to be used for transaction on Smart Cards. The company attracted a lot of interest from several stakeholders and built the whole product strategy and patent portfolio that would in 2005 create the base of development for the NFC industry.
How quickly did the company’s primary mission statement emerge, and how would you define that today?
The company emerged after 4 to 5 years as a security solution provider. It won 100% of the projects in US for a contactless payment card. The success of Inside Secure provoked huge reaction from the industry.
Major companies started to invest in contactless and created formidable competitors as NXP and Infineon building chips for the payment smart cards industry. Inside Secure was also one of the first providers of secured DRM of OTT solutions and secured the HBO Go launch for the Android and iOS app in 2011.
Security for mobile and connected devices is an area that is evolving rapidly all the time. How would you describe Inside Secure’s position in the space at the present time?
With more than two billion devices secured to date, we are capable of managing our customers’ growing security challenges in key markets such as connected car, IoT, entertainment or bank.
We now enrich our offering with services such as hosting strong authentication management for online service providers, or providing unique keys for semiconductor manufacturers or connected objects.
Which are the cornerstone solutions in the Inside Secure portfolio in 2018?
Our solutions allow broadcasters, content owners and mobile operators to provide a variety of purchasing and consumption models for premium multimedia content to consumers.
We have begun to combine our solutions to bring even more strategic value to help our customers grow their business safely. Our combined technologies across payments, content protection and strong authentication create slick and secure user experiences for the OTT content providers.
Inside Secure is launching a new solution that safeguards online advertising revenue at this year’s IBC. What can you tell us about the solution in advance of the show?
To prevent revenue loss, Inside Secure advertising protection solutions ensure the right ad content is viewed by the right audience. Additionally, they ensure the content distributors receive all the revenue they are entitled to.
In a typical online advertising system, the ad material is sent from the ad server to the end user’s device. Once the ad has been viewed, ad tracking information is sent back to the ad server, to ensure the distributor gets paid accordingly.
However, three major threats have been compromising this process. The first one is widespread commercial ad blockers that interfere with this tracking information and prevent it from ever reaching the tracking server.
Inside Secure advertising protection solutions, on the other hand, will help bypass the ad blockers, thereby guaranteeing delivery of ad tracking information and protecting the distributor’s revenue stream.
The second threat is ad bots or hackers reporting the same ad viewing several times, hence triggering overpayment from ad agencies and brands. Our solution will make sure that the ad is only reported once when it is viewed.
The third threat is malicious hackers replacing ad footage and tracking information with their own footage, hence getting paid in lieu of the legitimate distributors. By encrypting and authenticating the communication between the end user’s device and the ad server, our solution eliminates this problem.
More generally, what are the primary market factors, such as the growing cost of online piracy, that provide the backdrop to this new solution?
Today, the industry is facing a huge issue with ad blockers and hackers blocking or altering the ad tracking information. Without a solution to significantly thwart ad blocking, it is estimated that publishers alone will lose $75 billion by 2020, according to research published by Ovum.
How optimistic should advertisers be that the online piracy issue will ultimately be brought under control on an ongoing basis?
Advertisement companies can never be sure that the industry is under control [regarding security]. Due to the fact that huge revenues are at stake there will always be hackers trying to benefit and therefore keeping a constant pressure on the security industry to refine and increase the level of security in order to protect the content market and its stakeholders.
Our solution is already anticipating this need for warm update of the end-user’s device with the latest fixes to security threats by implementing a solution that updates security heuristics on devices over the air.
Apart from the aforementioned new solution, what else will you be highlighting at IBC2018?
We will release new watermarking solutions that enable video broadcaster to safely broadcast premium sport and other video content. Watermarking allows one to follow the content and identify the originator(s) of the unauthorised distribution.
In terms of your profile and international reach, what is the significance of IBC to Inside Secure?
IBC is for us a major event for media and entertainment technology, and we are a significant player in the field of content protection. All the major broadcasters will be there and this is a unique opportunity for us to introduce our latest innovations to them.
Finally, can you identify three milestones from your own career?
The three most important milestones for my career have been: the move from being European head of Samsung Semiconductor to president of Gemalto in 1991 (then Gemplus); taking the job of Ingenico CEO in 2005; and now being the Chairman and CEO of Inside Secure since September 2015.
Amedeo D’Angelo is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Inside Secure.