Waldo, the digital life certificate

Waldo is the alternative way for SVB customers to digitally deliver a life certificate. We built Waldo together with the SVB and the winner of the hackathon. We have tested Waldo with real customers in 5 different countries where customers have delivered a real life certificate but digitally!


Waldo stands for Worldwide Alternative Life Certificate for a Digital Government. This is the title that we have given internally to this project. This immediately gave a nice association with Where is Waldo, more about this later.

Why did Waldo arise?

The Social Insurance Bank (SVB) has customers who no longer live in the Netherlands, but who are entitled to benefits. Because they live in another country, it is not always visible what the living situation of these customers is and whether they are still alive.

Customers abroad are therefore sent a form by post every year, which they must use to go to a competent authority. The form is filled in, signed and stamped at this agency. The customer sends the form to the SVB again, after which the payment is continued. If no form can be submitted, the payment will be stopped.

This is a very cumbersome process for customers and should be able to do differently with all kinds of new technologies at this time.


How did Waldo arise?

Waldo was created during the hackathon that the SVB organized together with UWV in October 2017. The case of 'invent an alternative digital life certificate' was submitted there. The winner (TimeSeries) built a working concept during the hackathon, in which a person entitled could, among other things, use face recognition to prove that he / she was alive.

In order to test the hypotheses as well as possible, an approach has been chosen in which the client knows that it is a test, but actually goes through the process of submitting a life certificate. Data based on actual behavior is stronger than hypothetical data. The commonly used methodology for doing this is Lean Startup, which works towards a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
View more about Lean startup and MVP

Experimenting in a test garden

We tested the possibility of using Waldo through an ID check, face recognition and speech recognition with 372 customers from 5 different countries: Portugal, Canada, Curaçao, Turkey and Thailand. If you want to know which steps the customer went through, watch the following video: https://youtu.be/xler9ML8gYE


Of the 372 customers, 48 tried to submit a life certificate via Waldo. 22 customers succeeded and it took 23 minutes on average. The oldest customer who succeeded in submitting a life certificate via Waldo is 79. This gave us a good impression that this target group could digitally submit a life certificate.

What now?

All results from this process have been shared with the SVB. The decision was taken to continue with the development of a digital life certificate!
We will look at how this can best be continued as soon as possible. At Novum we are naturally very happy with this result!

Where is Waldo?

Where is Waldo is a fun puzzle. This too has become a lot easier with new technology.
Watch the following video: 

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