Amsterdam Café Culture as a Leading Indicator of Cross Border Commerce

While having dinner recently in an Amsterdam cafe I took note of the high level of multicultural activity around me. The waiters were a combination of Turkish, Malaysian and Eastern European. I heard three distinct languages being spoken that I could understand with a number of others that I could not. As Friedman would say “The World is Flat” and getting flatter all the time.

Amsterdam is of course a major hub of global tourism for varied reasons and while the “smoking” establishments are shrinking and the “red light” district has been shrunk in half (I read this in the local media and have no personal knowledge of either!) the people are still coming (yes the Rijksmuseum is cool I do have personal knowledge of that one – see photograph below). Cross border commerce is in full swing given the global traffic from tourism and employment.

While on the same trip I sat in a meeting at a technology company that provides online international document verification. A key use of their technology is to digitally scan identification documents using a smart device and then verify the information. They cover over 20 different countries and hundreds of document types. Why is this cool? Think about the restaurant I mentioned and the workers there. Normally the act of verification of international work documents can be a painful, paper intensive process for employers and employees. Moreover, failure to comply with the laws can result in fines and legal troubles. If an employer can snap a photo of ID and documents and immediately get back a thumbs up or thumbs down on an prospective employees work document the background check process becomes super efficient.

At GDC we created the business to provide the back end ability to parse, standardize, fuzzy match and verify global name, address and identity information using our Worldview platform. The right tool for the right task.

Returning to the restaurant and the wait staff analogy, another cross border area of growth is the payment remittance market. A number of international guest workers send money back to their home countries to provide for their families. The growth of global cross border remittances has accelerated at the same high growth rate of global online commerce. In order to use money transfer services and mobile banking technologies, global identification technologies must be used to confirm sender information. Again using our Worldview platform behind the scenes vendors are able to standardize and match information such as name and address and then confirm the validity of it in real time. This allows for vendors and users to not have to constantly provide their documents and spend time waiting while those documents are verified.

So as I finished my meal with an espresso at the Amsterdam cafe, I saw a broad landscape of markets to serve and a bright horizon ahead helping the world improve its ability to Get Stuff Done in timely and effective manner using the vast location and identity data that we offer. Yeah, that’s definitely cool.