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We are very proud to announce the launch of Elicencesecure as the latest addition to our portfolio of multi-media products.

From our many years of working with developing nations in southern Africa we understand the serious problem of counterfeiting and forgery within the industries that play an important part in these countries’ economies. As specialists in data security, we have been working on a solution that will help combat this insidious problem and help to alleviate the threat caused to life and livelihood, put a stop to the use of child labour and reduce the damage being done to the environment and wildlife.

Industries such as diamond and precious metals mining, tourism, wildlife parks and conservation have been exploited by forgery and counterfeit experts for many years; despite the continued efforts of governments and professionals within these industries, the problem has persisted because the tools and strategies to stop the problem have just not been robust enough to deter those with criminal intent – the determination of these people to protect their illegal trade and the huge profits they can make is very hard to beat. But we are confident that this is about to change.

The technology we have designed for Elicencesecure allows for high security features to be integrated into both print and digital licences and certificates, making it extremely hard for them to be forged, and the latest validation technology allows for full track and trace capability and validation from anywhere in the world from any device. It’s this comprehensive level of security that underpins the security of the documents – there is no door left ajar that can be prised open by the wrong person.

As with all Smith & Ouzman’s multi-media products, Elicencesecure is designed to be easy to use; the technology is extremely advanced but the user experience is straightforward to understand and operate; that’s why it works.

ACES magazine is always a cracking read for anyone in the business community of East Sussex and with a three-page feature on Smith & Ouzman’s secure print services, we reckon the latest issue is unmissable!

Smith & Ouzman’s Dinah Ouzman and Adam Jeacock met up with ACES’ Ian Trevett to talk about the many print security services we can offer to local businesses, including secure document storage and how we can help businesses comply with the imminent new GDPR data protection laws.

Smith & Ouzman is recognised internationally as a leader of security print services but we have been part of Eastbourne’s business community since 1955 and have long-standing working relationships with many businesses in the Sussex area. If you think your business could benefit from increased security measures for your sensitive documents and records, we would be delighted to hear from you.

ACES is the official magazine for the Alliance of Chambers of Commerce in East Sussex, published by the Platinum Publishing Group.

Click here to read our feature.

These days most people are pretty switched on about the safe disposal of personal documents such as utility bills and bank statements, anything that could be used for identity fraud or clearing out your bank account. But are we so careful when it comes to fraud within the workplace? Possibly not.

The trouble with the people who commit this kind of crime is that you can’t spot them; they could be an employee or a colleague, as unlikely as that may seem. The fraudster who commits crimes by forging your signature or hacking your email can look exactly the same as anyone else.

If your confidential waste is just going into your office recycling bin it’s easy pickings for anyone who has a mind to. Even if you are shredding your documents and have them collected by a waste disposal company, without an audit trail and certificate of destruction, you have no proof of what happens to your waste after it leaves your premises.

Put simply, if you are responsible for the safe keeping of your company’s confidential documents you are responsible for their safe disposal too. The introduction of the new Europe-wide General Data Protection Regulation in May this year means that anyone who holds personal data for clients and customers must comply with the new rules or run the risk of large fines if found to be in breach. Don’t put yourself at risk – act now to ensure your processes are fully compliant with best practice and with GDPR.

Our confidential shredding service with audit trail and certificate of destruction is the most secure way of complying with your legal obligation to protect any data you hold about your clients and employees. It’s also a great way of reducing your company’s environmental footprint and meeting your sustainability targets.

We can provide this service as a one-off or on a regular basis according to your needs. We can collect from your premises or you can deliver your document to us, the choice is entirely yours.

We really enjoyed meeting other local businesses at NetXP at the East Sussex National in Uckfield on Thursday 1st March where we talked about how straightforward and affordable it is for businesses to protect themselves from the risk of fraud and counterfeiting. If you didn’t make it, do get in touch at any time for more information.

Thanks to everyone who visited our stand at the AEA Conference in Blackpool this year. Once again, it was a very stimulating event and a great opportunity to connect with old friends and make new acquaintances. We hope that those of you who took away one of our smart compact branded umbrellas found them useful when leaving the venue! We still have some in reserve so please do get in touch if you missed out and would like to receive one of your own.

Thanks also to everyone who entered our prize draw to win one of two £150 experience day gift vouchers. We had lots of entries but there could only be two winners, so congratulations to them… you know who you are! We’re looking forward to seeing some great photos of them enjoying their big day out, whether it’s whizzing round a racetrack or something more sedate.

The Conference, as always, offered a great opportunity to have an informal chat to delegates and find out more about their requirements and what specific expectations they have in their Elections supplier.

A hot topic for everyone this year – and we really mean everyone! – is GDPR, which comes into effect throughout Europe on 25th May this year. The new General Data Protection Regulation is obligatory, not optional, so it’s very important that you understand how it affects you and your team. If you didn’t pick up our newsletter from our stand at the Conference covering this topic, please do get in touch; you can also click on the link below which will take you to our online GDPR presentation.

As a company at the leading edge of innovation in the field of sensitive documentation and secure data management, Smith & Ouzman’s continuous development work means our customers can feel assured and confident that they are protected beyond GDPR legislation. Our technology allows you to manage and process your customers’ personal data and sensitive information according to best practice but without the risk of exposure to fraud, counterfeiting or reputational damage.

Think of Smith & Ouzman as your trusted data security partner, a GDPR compliant data processor. If you would like to find out more about GDPR and data security you can download our presentation from our website or contact us on enquiries@smith-ouzman.com.

As we get ready to make the journey north to Blackpool for the 2018 AEA Conference we’ve been reminding ourselves of the issues that were on the agenda at last year’s conference in Brighton and looking at how the landscape has shifted within electoral services.

One issue that generated a lot of discussion last year was the role that social media plays in the voting experience for young people – this proved to be quite a hot topic. The general consensus of young people’s experience in exercising their democratic rights was not a positive one – so why is that? and what can be done to change this trend?

A lack of interest in politics is definitely not the reason; after all, the Oxford Dictionaries 2017 word of the year is ‘youthquake’, defined as “a significant cultural, political or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people”. In many countries, 2017 was a year of political change where young people tipped the balance of power, but why did they feel the need to tweet their disgruntlement with the voting process?

The pre-digital world is fast fading into the past – today, a 21-year-old voter has never known a world without Google and in just eight years’ time new voters will have never known a world without an iPhone, so it’s not a surprise that when these young voters are presented with a piece of paper and a pencil tied to a wall with a piece of string to cast their vote, they find it all a little disaffecting.

It appears that many aspects of the current voting process seem alien to them, from the registration process to voting day itself, so it’s easy to see why they would tweet about their voting experience in a negative manner. It takes time to build trust and confidence with unfamiliar procedures.

It’s easy to be reactive and look to correct misguided tweets, but maybe the answer is to look at how we engage with our young society prior to elections. The official recognition of ‘youthquake’ is proof that young people are definitely not apathetic or disengaged, as they are sometimes portrayed by older generations, and the fact that the youth turnout at the 2017 General Election was the highest since 1992 backs up the buzzword, but many seem to be somewhat disillusioned with party politics and simply don’t feel the connection that has characterised the voting habits of the UK of recent times.

In this tech rich world, those in control of the voting process perhaps need to be more proactive in their approach to the next generation. Whether it’s an iPhone or a pencil we use, what we need to be encouraging is our right to vote in our democracy and that’s always going to be something worth protecting.

2017 was quite a year for politics, both at home and abroad, and many things happened which seemed unlikely this time last year, but it’s the prospect of the unexpected that keeps us all on our toes. Can the world take another year of political change and intrigue? Of course it can!


Source: Did you feel the earth move this year? The ‘Youthquake’ effect on voting on Emerge//Secure

The rise and rise of democracy

Posted by Adam Jeacock on December 12, 2017

December is always a time for reflection and as we approach the end of 2017 and look back over what’s happened around the world this year, anyone could be forgiven for feeling despondent about what democracy really means.

Political polarisation and the rise of populism create a danger for democracy and threaten transparency and trust. In many countries, including the UK and the US, more or less half the population did not get the result they wanted when they cast their votes recently, which has created division and instability.

But it would be wrong to buy into this world view. The reality is that over the past four decades democracy across the globe has risen to a post-war high and a comparison of a map of the world’s democratic and autocratic countries from 1976 and 2016 shows a very different picture¹.

For Zimbabwe, the 2018 elections should bring what the country has been waiting for, and although the recent changes in leadership are no guarantee of reform, it is a time of great hope for the country.

The right to vote is fundamental to our society and in the UK we expect the voting process to run smoothly with no mishaps; the same should be the case for every nation, no matter how new they are to the procedure, but this needs the support of specialist companies such as Smith & Ouzman to provide the framework that sits behind free and fair elections. For democracy to work strict procedures need to be adhered to and that’s why best practice for the procurement of electoral services is so vital.

Smith & Ouzman has a long tradition of working with election bodies and government departments around the world and continues to support overseas financial, educational and election markets with vigour, ensuring best practice is followed and supporting all parties involved.

So the message to take into 2018 is that democracy is an upward trend that we should remember when the negative news stories from around the globe seem to make the concept of world peace an impossible dream.

We would like to wish the people of Zimbabwe every success, stability and growth for the years ahead

¹ www.pewresesarch.org

Source: The rise and rise of democracy on Emerge//Secure

Our New Website and Why We Love It

Posted by James Holford on September 8, 2017

We’re excited to announce that our new, hugely revamped, website is live. The updated site has been re-thought from the ground up to make it easier to understand the scope of our business offerings and to help you find the sector of our business you require.

It boasts a new, contemporary look, structural changes and a whole host of smaller but impactful changes, all of which will make your experience easier and more enjoyable.

We started by thinking about our potential audiences and how they might want to find things on the site. In other words, we tried to view the website from their perspective rather than our own. This helped us to structure and write our content.

We thought how we could create the easiest navigation possible, given the scope of our business offerings.

We’ve used page animations and smooth scrolling to make viewing the site a nicer experience and work better on small devices. We have tried to create an ‘app-like’ experience.

We have built context specific contact forms into each section to help those wishing to get in touch with us and to help us help them more effectively.

All in all, we are very happy with the outcome and hope that you are too. Of course, we recognise that it is also a work in progress as all websites are, so we will continue to look for ways to improve it. We welcome any feedback.


Source: Our New Website and Why We Love It on Emerge//Secure

#SAAEA2017

Posted by Adam Jeacock on March 30, 2017

The 11th Southern Africa Association for Education Assessment Conference

The Malawi National Examination Board (MANEB) will be hosting the 11th annual conference of the Southern Africa Association for Education Assessment (SAAEA) at Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi, Malawi from 17th July to 19th July 2017.

Conference Theme:
“Promoting Excellence in Assessment for Quality Education”

Smith & Ouzman is partnering with MANEB and ICAM who are your hosts for #SAAEA2017. We have a proud heritage of assisting educational institution in Africa in the form of sponsorships for various conferences and we look forward to helping make #SAAEA2017 a huge success.

The below link contains all the information you need to attend the conference and we urge you all to join us in Malawi in July.

Supporting Documents for SAAEA Conference

Warren Sanders
International Sales Manager – Southern Africa

T: +44 (0) 1323 524 000
C: +44 (0) 7894 193 937
F: +44 (0) 1323 524 024
E: wrs@smith-ouzman.com

Smith & Ouzman’s Finance Director Peter Ellis has been confirmed as a member of the Bank of England Decision Maker Panel for Brexit implications.

The Bank of England acts as an advisory body to the Government and plays a key role in managing the economy. In the wake of the Brexit vote it has launched an important initiative to engage Finance Directors from across industries and around the country to be part of a Decision Maker Panel.

The purpose of the panel is to help the Bank understand the implications of Brexit for businesses on the ground. Peter will be telling the Bank what Brexit means for Smith & Ouzman on an on-going basis as the process of leaving the EU unfolds in the years ahead.

“This is a very important initiative and I am proud to be able to contribute to the process on behalf of Smith & Ouzman,” said Peter. “Obviously, it is important to stay aware of the risks and opportunities brought about by our leaving the EU. The Bank will be giving feedback to all participants about the collective impact of developments and policy decisions as they occur, so this is a two way process which can only benefit us as a company.”

Funding Ambulances in Kenya

Posted by Adam Jeacock on March 22, 2017

Seeing the arrival of these ambulances in Kenya is a positive conclusion to a very painful experience for all concerned at Smith & Ouzman; it had long been hoped that this might be the outcome of negotiations between the British and Kenyan governments.

Lessons have been learnt which have benefited Smith & Ouzman’s ongoing development, with new market leading bribery and corruption prevention management systems being put in place. Smith & Ouzman is also the first company in the security print industry to attain BS10500 accreditation (soon to become ISO37001).

We are sure that our experiences have helped open the eyes of many businesses involved in international trade to the pitfalls of trading in such difficult markets. Smith & Ouzman continues to support overseas financial, educational and election markets with renewed vigor, ensuring best practice is followed and supporting all parties involved. We would like to wish everyone involved in the running of the new fleet of ambulances every success and hope the fleet will give many years of reliable service.

Automated sorting equipment has streamlined mail sorting in the UK, but not without creating many challenges for Royal Mail, especially when processing card products such as poll cards.

At Smith & Ouzman we are currently working with Royal Mail to help them resolve these problems without changing the unit cost of the poll card product, thereby minimising the impact of change upon local authorities.

Two issues that cause rejections of poll cards within the feeding and sorting processes are the flat nature of card material and the dual address format printed on the face of the cards.

Sorting equipment is designed to deal with an envelope, something which contains air and as such is easily gripped and separated by the equipment feeders. Poll cards are flat, contain no air and are much harder for the equipment to grip and process. An additional problem is that most poll card providers use a guillotining process that causes fibre crossover which can result in multiple feeds or jams in the automated sorting machines.

Smith & Ouzman has designed an innovative process which removes any risk of fibre crossover to combat multiple feeds and jams. We are also testing a solution that introduces air between individual cards after cutting, but before final packaging.

The second issue that causes problems with successful poll card delivery is two addresses. The typical UK poll card design carries two addresses on the front, the polling address on the left and the delivery address on the right, which can confuse the sorting equipment and cause rejections.

In an attempt to improve address identification and reduce rejection, new layouts of the poll cards incorporating clear zones are being reviewed by Royal Mail, and we will adopt these recommendations when finalised.

We regard working closely with Royal Mail to resolve such issues as a vital part of establishing a clearer understanding of our clients’ requirements that will ensure that we deliver trouble free mail-pieces and on-time mailings.