Vision in Volumes
SVP of Global Engineering at HID Global discusses accomplishment, goals, and what he thinks the future holds for the trusted identity
- By Lindsay Page
- Nov 01, 2016
HID Global is a force to be reckoned
with. Headquartered in
Austin, Texas, the company is
a leader in access control, biometrics, RFID tags, embedded
solutions, asset tracking, and the list goes on
and on. A visit to their facility leaves guests in awe of
the sheer size, expertise and preparation that goes into
operating a company of such caliber.
The company also manufactures products such as
the ID cards, printers and readers that everyone in
the security industry and beyond can easily recognize.
The company has been around since 1991, when it
first started as Hughes Identification Devices, a subsidiary
of Hughes Aircraft. Changing their name to
HID in 1995 was a game changer, making their brand
among the top security companies in the world. And
none of that success would be possible without the
power of the engineering team.
Enter in Darren Learmonth, senior vice president
of Global Engineering. Just like HID Global, his
presence in the security industry cannot be ignored.
He is friendly, personable, and refreshingly down to
earth, and yet there is this intelligence and influence
that radiates from him. Simply put, he knows his stuff.
It could be said that Learmonth was destined to
work in the security industry. He was sponsored by
British Telecom in the United Kingdom to go to university.
After a few career changes postgraduate, his
first real foray into security was when he began working
for Cogent Defence (later becoming EADS) in the
UK. Once there, he was hired to create an operating
system that could run on custom hardware which
would be delivered to the British government.
Fast forward to 2013, and this is when Learmonth
began his career with HID. It didn’t take long for him
to realize this was the perfect place for him. By January
2016, he was promoted to Senior Vice President
of Global Engineering. This meant he would have to
move his family from the UK to Austin, Texas. He
was up for the challenge and is thriving in his new
role. Quickly gaining a reputation as a visionary for
the company, he is determined to make HID Global
Taking charge of a team of 450 engineers located
in several different countries sounds daunting, but
Learmonth hits the ground running.
Since becoming SVP, he’s started a new initiative he
calls Innovation Days. This is where he gives each and
every engineer one day at an engineering site to focus on
nothing but creating something new. It’s a break from
their ordinary routine and has been very successful.
“We’ve transformed HID Global this year through
innovation,” Learmonth said. “Each engineer has a
chance to deliver something new within 24 hours, and
it’s become an explosion of creativity with nearly 100
new ideas so far. It’s been transformative.”
One of the biggest accomplishments for Learmonth
with HID Global has been the move to mobile,
which was first rolled out in 2014 with HID Mobile
Access. This solution allows mobile devices to be used
for access control. He wants to see that move of trusted
identities to mobile devices taken much further.
“I think combining access cards, IDs and passports
all on one really cool, neat solution has to be
the future,” Learmonth said.
The future of mobile and trusted identities means
that we can have our driver’s license, passport, even
our season pass to an amusement park all on our
phones. There would be no need for having the actual
card on hand. Even more amazing is the complete
protection of our privacy. For example, if we were
trying to buy alcohol at a liquor store and the cashier
wanted to see ID, our phone would display only our
picture and age. Our address and other information
would be left unseen, completely secure.
And, that’s only the beginning. At a time when
we want the world at our fingertips, there is relief
in knowing that companies such as HID Global are
working hard to secure our trusted identities.
Perhaps even more reassuring, however, is also
knowing that there are people out there who are
creating new innovations in helping achieve that
goal of privacy and security. People such as Darren
Learmonth. His passion, expertise and vision for the
future speak volumes about who he is as a person.
It’ll be interesting to see where he takes HID Global
This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Security Today.