Dr Huseyin Dogan (Principal Investigator) and Co-Investigators: Dr Paul Whittington, Professor Keith Phalp, Dr Nan Jiang and Dr Benjamin Gorman from the Faculty of Science & Technology have recently completed a 9 month, £90,000 externally funded project to develop the Authentibility Pass Proof of Concept. Authentibility Pass (www.authentibility.com) is an Android application for people with disabilities to communicate their authentication and accessibility requirements to organisations, including higher education institutions, non-profit organisations and financial institutions. On 18th February, the team had the opportunity to demonstrate the solution to potential investors. Our team was one of the four teams to be selected for a 20 minutes discussion with Matt Warmen MP, Minister of Digital Infrastructure.
The funding was awarded through the Cyber Academic Startup Accelerator Programme (CyberASAP) from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in collaboration with Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network. The programme assists academics in UK Universities to commercialise cyber security ideas, by providing expertise knowledge and support. Lesley Hutchins (Research Commercialisation Manager, RDS) has provided us with valuable commercialisation support throughout the project.
During the initial 4 months, we developed our value proposition and conducted market validation. We identified that people with disabilities can encounter barriers due to web security and privacy technologies, preventing them from registering for services and leading to frustration. We also found that they often need to repeatedly inform organisations of their authentication and accessibility requirements.
Requirements only need to be entered once into the application, which can then be sent securely to multiple organisations via token-based authentication to an organisation’s database. Authentibility Pass also comprises a database system, web interface and an Application Programming Interface for organisations with existing databases. We believe that Authentibility Pass will assist organisations to comply with accessibility and equality regulations, whilst increasing the awareness of customer requirements.
Authentibility Pass builds on the knowledge obtained during Dr Paul Whittington’s PhD and Postdoctoral Research (supervised by Dr Huseyin Dogan and Professor Keith Phalp) and the development of the SmartAbility Framework. This CyberASAP project supports the BU2025 Assistive Technology Strategic Investment Area. The CyberASAP events are usually held in London, but due to COVID-19 we have participated in Zoom bootcamps and workshops during the past 9 months, organised by the Knowledge Transfer Network.
We are planning to develop the Proof of Concept into a commercial product, customised to suit specific organisations. It will be a ‘Software as a Service’ with annual subscriptions for the application and API. In the future, we anticipate adopting volume licensing for financial institutions and forming a spin-out company from BU to disseminate Authentibility Pass.
The dissemination of Authentibility Pass and potential adoption by higher education institutions, schools, non-profit organisations, SMEs and financial institutions, will generate impact for our assistive technology research.