The eSign regional operation centre, promoted as the "most advanced commercial data encryption" facility outside the US, is backed by its affiliate VeriSign, a provider of authentication, validation and payment solutions.
"The number-one issue among top IT executives in getting to the new online world is how to move the old-world components of trust into the digital environment," said Stratton Sclavos, VeriSign's CEO, at the centre's opening.
"In the physical business world, envelopes ensure privacy, credentials ensure identity, signatures and receipts confirm transactions, and directories tell us who is a member of a community," Sclavos said, adding that ecommerce nevertheless offered better protection through technology such as encryption, digital certificates and digital signatures and receipts.
Sclavos also commented that analysts' predictions that ecommerce will grow from $US150 billion in 1999 to $1.5 trillion globally by 2003 will not happen unless issues to do with trust in ecommerce interactions are resolved.
Besides Melbourne, VeriSign has invested in setting up similar operation centres in the US, UK, France and Japan. The company has a minority stake in eSign.
Sclavos said that the company chose to set up an operation centre in Melbourne because of the market's uptake of new technologies, including ecommerce, and the federal and Victorian governments' proactive stance in encouraging ecommerce.eSign was also recently granted entry-level accreditation by the government's Public Key Authority, which allows the company to provide government agencies with public key infrastructure services for its online activities.