BEIRUT: From working in the family printing business to leading an international technology investment group, the Lebanese chairman and CEO of Resource Group Hisham Itani, ventures into the world of technology and innovation with formidable determination.
Itani always looked for ways to expand and innovate the business. Soon enough, he started offering customized digital security solutions and scaling up for the region through smartcard manufacturing. This step allowed the security-printing family business, Inkript, to become one of the leading smartcard manufacturers in the Middle East and Africa. Later, with the business expansion, the company turned into a reputable digital security and biometric identification provider.
“The main leap was when I started investing in Research and Development (R&D) which took the business to new levels. It allowed the company to grow into a digital security solutions provider catering to telecom and financial institutions as well as governments,” explained Itani.
As the business evolved and garnered a strong base in the market, Itani expanded into different new verticals which he thereafter consolidated into a technology investment group and a business incubator Resource Group.
The Group focuses on investments in R&D, new technologies, entrepreneurship, and talents which are essential components that shaped Itani’s business into what it is today.
This was translated in many awarded complex projects in Lebanon and the region, along with regional and international recognitions throughout the years.
“With the advent of new technologies, it has become crucial to establish automated processes and procedures, secure data and networks, and safeguard identities to thrive on a national level and provide a seamless citizen experience,” Itani mentioned. “And this is at the core of what we do today at Resource Group as we continue to pave the way for digital transformation.”
Contributions to Lebanon
Through Resource Group, Itani streamlines the businesses in line with the overall strategy of driving digital transformation in Lebanon and the region. Several projects are undertaken in Lebanon under the Group through its subsidiaries, thus boosting the Lebanese economical wheel and supporting the technology sector.
Support to Lebanon’s infrastructure
Through the Group’s subsidiary Serta, the fiber optic national deployment project contributes to the development of the infrastructure in Lebanon; taking into consideration that high-speed internet opens numerous new business opportunities for companies and individuals, and eases the way for the growth of new ideas and disruptive technologies.
Introduction of secure biometric identification solutions
Inkript supports the Lebanese government on the biometric passport project by streamlining governmental operations. The new Lebanese biometric passport now provides more security and helps safeguard citizens’ identities.
“It also placed Lebanon side by side with 120 countries whose standards comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) biometric standards”, Itani added.
This has certainly given a sense of pride in the Lebanese people and helped improve the country’s image abroad.
Automation of the road traffic authority
The e-vehicle project supports the road traffic authority in Lebanon to combat fraud and enhance road safety through secure identification.
“In this line, the project contributes to the modernization of the existing infrastructure, tangible improvements in the end product, and the elimination of fraudulent actions related to the vehicle registration card, driving license, vehicle plates, and the RFID tags (stickers),” argued Itani.
Itani believes that the current COVID-19 pandemic is demonstrating how technology is vital to improve the well-being of citizens and is a path towards finding solutions to exit this challenging time in a calculated and efficient manner.
Overall, Itani examines promising opportunities ahead as the company focuses on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Both are poised to create exciting new possibilities and to become embedded in the Lebanese daily lives, especially from a business optimization perspective across industries.
“We are aiming at working on further automation projects in the African continent that will directly and positively impact the citizen experience. Through new identification and e-commerce solutions, the business environment in the African markets will thrive, the technology infrastructure will improve, and multiple business opportunities will open up," Itani said in regards to operations outside Lebanon.
On a personal level, Itani believes in the continuous knowledge investment and in the constant flow of ideas. Therefore, he is currently pursuing an Executive Master’s degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at HEC Paris. He considers this as another exciting milestone that will benefit his teams at Resource Group.
“We all work together to create an impact through what we do, and the more investment I make in myself and my team, the more we become a reference for operational excellence, dedication, and innovation,” Itani mentioned. “I remain passionate about digital technology and its endless possibilities. I will choose innovation every time; and will look at every challenge that comes along as an opportunity.”
Itani has recently been recognized by the global publication CEO Today at the CEO Today Middle East Awards 2020, for his achievements in the technology sector in the Middle East.
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