Photo: Volker Döring
“What we are doing may sound like James Bond, but it has become reality”, says Qui-Ping Zeng, Managing Director, roguishly about his business idea. It is about fingerprint recognition systems, thus using fingers as replacements for keys, cards and passwords, in principle. The devices from IDENCOM can be installed in all types of doors, lockers and vaults, which can then be opened by scanning fingerprints. The time of searching for hours for the key or forgetting the password for the alarm system have become a thing of the past. One access system costs roughly 400 euros, meaning that James Bond is no longer the only one who can afford this innovative technology.
Zeng already had this idea for his company, when he was a student of information technology at the Berlin Fraunhofer Institut. “At that time, we developed fingerprint recognition systems for criminals for the police. Those were truly huge computers. Then I got the idea of making the whole thing smaller, miniaturizing it and making its usage simpler.” The Chinese man found his first employment position in Switzerland, where he continued working on the issue. After one year, he established IDENCOM. “I just had the prototype in my head and wanted to do something with it. Naturally, one needs courage, but the capital market was relatively open for innovative ideas and it was simply the right time. Put simply, it was very exciting time.” He summarized his idea on a couple of pages of paper and faxed them to companies throughout the world. Successfully. He received several offers and discovered his first customer, including the camera company, Polaroid, and the household technology company, Honeywell, who are still loyal to Zeng even today.
In 2002, Zeng moved himself and his company to Berlin.
“I was in beautiful Switzerland on Lake Zurich, but it was very difficult to find good engineers. Berlin, Charlottenburg in particular, is ideal by comparison. The proximity to the Fraunhofer Institut and the Technische Universität are responsible for this. Good people can be found here and nothing is missing.” In the meantime, the sympathetic company founder has spent half of his life in Germany, which he regards as his second home.
With certainty, the success of IDENCOM is also responsible for this. His fingerprint recognition systems have received multiple awards, not just because of their security and functionality, but also because of the successfully aesthetic designs.
Currently, Mr. Zeng is negotiating the use of his devices with the automobile industry and with a manufacturer, who would like to offer a secure suitcase for use at the next Olympic Games. The Era of the Key seems to be ending.