AB Spotlight: Vision-Box

13th February 2020

Marco Mormone

AB Spotlight: Vision-Box

Arca Blanca – the integrated consultancy and data company – has been named as a finalist at the MCA Awards 2020. In this series of short articles, a different partner from our business reflects on each of our four shortlisted nominations

Companies don’t get more international in intent and operation, than Vision-Box; a Portuguese pioneer in facial recognition technology. Vision-Box developed the world’s first eGate for commercial use and are the number one provider of biometric Automated Border Control Systems. Today, their technology is present in over 80 international airports.

In just six months, Vision-Box has transformed from being a product-based company to a platform-based company offering a technology solution for identification and entry systems. As their transformation partner, Arca Blanca realised a business realignment to a completely new Operating Model; ushering in greater efficiency and flexibility for Vision-Box’s national and regional offices, and a growth rate firmly on track to deliver upon its ambitious growth plan.

Arca Blanca exemplified consulting at its best – they rose to the high challenge we set ourselves and we are delighted with the outcome

— Chris Abbott, COO Vision-Box


Vision-Box’s travel hub clients were feeling the challenge of accommodating year-on-year increasing volumes of international travellers in aging infrastructures. Passenger experiences were suffering. Snaking lines through immigration did not a good user experience make.

Vision-Box had the solution; a new seamless travel solution platform requiring no human supervision from check-in to baggage drop, security control and boarding all enabled by facial recognition software. It had tested phenomenally well, but now Vision-Box needed to create a new operating model in which to sell and deliver it across its multiple territories simultaneously. In effect, moving from a product-based company to a platform-based company offering a technology solution for identification and entry systems.

For Vision-Box’s clients, seamless identity and entry systems were a win-win; they wouldn’t have to invest in new physical assets and hubs, (literally a billion-pound exercise) and they’d get to improve passenger flow and user experience.

They elements of this successful business transformation were:

A is for Alignment

Effecting change across five continents – whilst continuing to deliver critical identification and entry services is a daunting prospect. Each Vision-Box client faces their own regulatory requirements within their own nation-states, making the field of operation extremely sensitive and the margin for error zero. With the contribution of senior individuals in the organisation, and working closely with operations to understand, address and resolve their main challenges, the joint Vision Box and Arca Blanca transformation team worked with the local (national) entities to ensure alignment with the new direction, priorities to address and communication and engagement plans for every office.

Mediating local tensions within an international organisational

Vision-Box is a global organisation with a centralised production capacity, which makes managing conflicting priorities difficult. The new operating model needs to address this. Our answer was a decentralised matrix approach to accommodate the tensions, which are healthy to effective design and deployment of the platform for clients and allow for iterative feedback.

The key output was the creation of a transformation blueprint document, that could reference all Q&As and updates held during the design and implementation process and be available to all. Effectively a handbook for change.

Building capability

Arca Blanca’s approach was based on creating a lasting change capability within Vision-Box itself to ensure the results achieved would be sustainable. From the start, ownership of the transformation remained clearly with the business. Each workstream was led by Vision-Box people, supported by Arca Blanca consultants. Arca Blanca’s role was well understood – to drive, challenge, encourage, support and coach.


Just six months after the launch of the project, the new organisation structure was launched globally. Our operating model blueprint document became, in effect, Vision-Box’s bible, to which all questions were referred. Thanks to our joint working team and a relentless communication strategy, Vision-Box not only had their transformation plan, but an organisation with the discipline, rigour and the self-belief to deliver it.

The new model allowed the 13 offices to be more autonomous and responsive to their clients, to ultimately deliver the new market leading seamless travel platform solution.

Arca Blanca enabled Vision-Box to achieve the transformations goals that we had set ourselves. Their expertise, coupled with their passion, enthusiasm and commitment assisted my organisation in achieving new highs. They worked seamlessly with our transformation team to reach out across our diverse and dispersed organisation. They brought a rigorous, well- thought-out approach to provide structure to the changes needed that will enable Vision-Box to operate at a world-class level.

— Chris Abbott, COO Vision-Box

More in insights...

The power of “small data”

Read More