Consortium wins EU visa contract
BRUSSELS — The European Commission Directorate General for Home Affairs has awarded a consortium of Accenture, Morpho (Safran) and HP, a contract to maintain the European Visa Information System (VIS). The contract is for three years with a possible one-year extension to a maximum value of €70 million (approx.US$93 million).
The project will support the exchange of visa data across border management authorities by ensuring the processing capacity of the system and the availability of high levels of search and matching capabilities required for visa applications. The VIS systemwent live, on schedule, in October 2011 and has since experienced increased usage by consulates in non-EU countries and external border crossing points of Schengen states.
“Accenture has in-depth experience working with border agencies around the world in helping them meet the challenges of managing the growing numbers of travelers and increased visa application complexity,” said Mark Crego who leads Accenture’s global Border and Identity Management business. “We are pleased to have been chosen by the European Commission to lead this consortium of suppliers over the coming years.”
As consortium lead, Accenture will assume overall project responsibilities, overseeing the integration of functional, technical and operational maintenance to the VIS, and Morpho will provide biometric matching services. Accenture and Morpho (as the Bridge Consortium) have worked with the European Commission since 2007 on the development and support of the biometric matching engine of the VIS.
“Morpho is proud to have been chosen, once again, to supply the biometric matching services for the VIS,” said Jean-Paul Jainsky, chairman and chief executive officer of Morpho. “Biometrics has become a key element for effective border management, and as the world leader in biometric technology, we are committed to developing state-of-the-art solutions to meet the current and emerging needs of this market.”
HP has worked with the European Commission since 2005, deploying the HP Converged Infrastructure solution and associated technology services for the VIS as well as the archiving and back-up solution. Under the new contract, there is the potential for additional HP network support with associated consulting and IT support services. Subcontractors to Accenture are Daon and WCC Smart Search and Match who will provide IT support and services.
Border security and citizen protection is becoming increasingly important,” stated Peter Ryan, senior vice president and managing director, HP EMEA. “HP’s mission-critical Converged Infrastructure is key to delivering multi-national IT projects in the public safety domain.”
VIS is at the core of the visa application process to the Schengen area and enables Schengen States to store and exchange alphanumeric and biometric data relating to visa applications of third-country citizens. As a subcomponent of VIS, a Biometric Matching System (BMS) enables the accurate identification of visa applicants through matching biometric data, such as fingerprints, to identities to establish and verify visa applications.