Make vs. buy.
Businesses are often faced with the question of whether to buy a product or service from a third party, or make the product or service itself.
And airports are no exception to this.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), the entity that manages two of the airports in the Washington, DC area, needed a biometric boarding (biometric exit) solution. Such solutions allow passengers to skip the entire “pull out the paper ticket” process, or even the “pull out the smartphone airline app” process, and simply stand and let a camera capture a picture of the passenger’s face. While there are several companies that sell such solutions, MWAA decided to create its own solution, veriScan.
And once MWAA had implemented veriScan at its own airports, it started marketing the solution to other airports, and competing against other providers who were trying to sell their own solutions to airports.
Well, MWAA got out of the border product/service business last week when it participated in this announcement:
ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Pangiam, a technology-based security and travel services provider, announced today that it has acquired veriScan, an integrated biometric facial recognition system for airports and airlines, from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (“Airports Authority”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Pangiam is clearly the new kid on the block, since the company didn’t even exist in its current form a year ago. Late last year, AE Industrial Partners acquired and merged the decade-old Linkware and the newly-formed Pangian (PRE LLC) “to form a highly integrated travel solutions technology platform providing a more seamless and secure travel experience.”
But in a sense, Pangiam ISN’T new to the travel industry, once you read the biographies of many of the principals at the company.
- “Most recently (Kevin McAleenan) served as Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)….”
- “Prior to Pangiam, Patrick (Flanagan) held roles at U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Navy, the National Security Staff, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”
- “Dan (Tanciar) previously served as the Executive Director of Planning, Program Analysis, and Evaluation in the Office of Field Operations (OFO) at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).”
- “Prior to Pangiam, Andrew (Meehan) served as the principal adviser to the Acting Secretary for external affairs at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”
- “(Tom Plofchan) served as a National Security Advisor to the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory before entering government to serve as the Counterterrorism Advisor to the Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and as Counterterrorism Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”
So if you thought that veriScan was well-connected because it was offered by an airport authority, consider how well-connected it appears now because it is offered by a company filled with ex-DHS people.
Which in and of itself doesn’t necessarily indicate that the products work, but it does indicate some level of domain knowledge.
But will airports choose to buy the Pangiam veriScan solution…or make their own?