Exomi’s mobile authentication fights data breaches
Major data leaks are in the headlines almost daily. Finnish technology company Exomi taps into our mobile devices to safeguard our identities and information online.
Facebook, Uber, Yahoo and British Airways. These are just a few of the big companies hit by significant data breaches in recent years. While digitalisation offers many conveniences, it comes with an increased risk of compromised personal information. Exomi believes the key to protecting consumers’ identities online is better third-party login services.
“We have brought to the market a mobile identity platform, which enables consumers to use their mobile devices for authentication instead of needing separate usernames and passwords for different digital services,” explains Joakim Nylund, CEO at Exomi.
The platform, called Exomi Mobile Identity (XMI), is targeted at mobile operators. With XMI, operators can offer their customers a secure digital identity to log into all apps and web services and authorise transactions. Users can easily control which services they give authorisation to and revoke access any time they like without worrying about their data being sold to marketers or other companies.
In addition to appealing to privacy-concerned consumers, the platform helps to make operators compliant with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, which came into force in May 2018.
Timing is of the essence
Exomi may not be a familiar name to the masses, but the company has long (and eventful) roots in the telecoms industry. Parts of the company date back to 1984, while its focus on wireless technologies started in 1996. Since then, Exomi’s mobile messaging and data infrastructure products have been deployed in over 170 wireless networks.
A new chapter for the Espoo-based company started in 2010. This was when its current management bought out the company from US corporation RealNetworks, which had acquired Exomi in 2007. For the past seven years, the company has focused on developing new products. Further to XMI, it has introduced a new messaging service for mobile operators based on the GSM Association’s Rich Communications Service standard.
“It’s an alternative to the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger,” explains Nylund. “The platform has similar features but, when the messaging service is provided by a local operator, the users’ privacy is protected by the same laws that govern all other operator traffic and is not run through datacentres in the US.”
Exomi is not alone in the market, but its advantage comes from its long experience in the telecoms industry. For example, the XMI service has been developed in close collaboration with the company’s operator clients.
Timing is also on Exomi’s side. According to Nylund, European companies offering these services are few and far between, while GDPR and tightening local legislation have driven demand up for EU-based players.
“Being Finnish has a good ring to it everywhere,” Nylund says.” Finnish companies are considered reliable and trustworthy, while it may not be the same for our China- or US-based competitors.”
Despite Exomi’s Finnish roots, Europe is a fairly new market for the company. Nylund estimates that 95 per cent of the company’s turnover comes from abroad, but mostly from Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
“After the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s, investment was low in Europe and the US but not in Latin America. They had many competing network technologies from Europe and the US which we had experience in. This gave us an advantage there,” Nylund recalls. “Now we are building up our visibility in Europe, where we haven’t operated for a while.”
This geographical expansion also represents a new focus for Exomi. Now that the company has its mobile identity and messaging services on the market, it’s time for growth.
“We have focused on product development for many years. Now we want to invest in sales and marketing. There is a big market for our products,” Nylund concludes.