IE11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

DMV 'Looking At Everything,' Officials Say in Vendor Dialogue

Californians face an Oct. 1, 2020, deadline to obtain the federally mandated Real ID, and the agency responsible for leading that effort has issued a call for vendor solutions to make it happen.

The Real ID deadline is just over 11 months away, and the state agency responsible for ensuring Californians are able to obtain the federally mandated identification card in time intends to partner with vendors in earnest this year and next to make sure that happens.

Officials from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the California Department of Technology (CDT), and City Innovate, which manages Startup in Residence, talked top priorities first on Thursday at the premiere DMV Vendor Day. Those were a timely, effective delivery of Real ID, the federally required ID for Californians who want to fly domestically and enter secure federal facilities; doubling DMV’s capacity to serve residents; migrating the agency off paper; and creating “interim/end” solutions to help it transition away from legacy infrastructure. But a series of answers to vendor questions made clear these are far from the agency’s only interests — or the only areas where work is already underway:

• Asked whether “hard technology gaps” already prevent the agency from accomplishing certain technology goals in about 11 months, ahead of the Oct. 1, 2020, Real ID deadline, DMV Director Steve Gordon said no, with a qualifier. The agency is not going to “re-engineer our Assembler code, do a rewrite over the next couple of months,” the director said.

“But we’re looking for the creativity of this group to say, ‘Well, how else would you … attack that problem?’ I think there’s a lot of really creative ways to attack that problem beyond rewriting the Assembler base. Yes, we’re looking at everything and yes, there’s some things off the table, but don’t worry about that,” Gordon said. DMV has published a website where vendors can submit concepts or solutions. Submissions are due Nov. 1. Vendors whose ideas meet DMV’s criteria will be notified the week of Nov. 4 and invited to a Vendor Pitch Day. That day, or days, will be during the week of Nov. 11. Invited vendors will each have 15 minutes to pitch their solutions.

• Document processing is likely DMV’s biggest pressure point in Real ID, Ajay Gupta, DMV special adviser on technology transformation, said — indicating “taking the photo, (and) doing the knowledge test” rank high as well. Document processing, he said, takes 3 to 3.5 minutes per person.

DMV has provided about 6.08 million Real IDs to residents since January 2018, Chief Deputy Director Kathleen Webb said. The agency wants vendors to help it slash field office transaction times, now around 35 minutes due to manual verification processes, to under 7 minutes. That 35-minute processing time is essentially an average, Gupta said, adding that DMV hopes to better prepare customers by “providing more virtual tools, more process improvements” and “more self-service in advance” of field office visits.

• Not surprisingly, online transactions are the most cost-effective for the agency, which began offering residents the ability to pay with credit cards at its Davis field office earlier this month. Field office transactions are the least cost-effective due to personnel costs, Webb said, most likely followed by transactions conducted through business partners like the Automobile Club of America and at DMV Now kiosks.

• DMV has considered concepts like identity capture and management to make the Real ID process more efficient, Gordon said. The agency is “negotiating” on certain federal requirements that could potentially also improve that process, Gupta said. It’s also looking closely at requirements that residents “present their documentation” at field offices — and working with multiple other states to determine whether there’s a way to create an “almost complete virtual experience” despite hard-and-fast requirements pertaining to photographs and fingerprints.

• DMV plans to use “multiple channels” to target hard-to-reach populations, Gordon said, noting it currently has implemented SMS only to let field office visitors know when their time at the window is nigh. But the department is open to doing more with digital channels.

• The agency continues to analyze Real ID processing times, for better insight on how they may vary day to day or hour to hour — and is seeking private-sector assistance there, too. Somewhat similarly, DMV has also worked with experience data and done analysis based on demographics and the types of services customers sought.

Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.