Date : 4/5/2011
by FindBiometrics

MohammedMurad.jpg [FB]
Would you please update our readers on the latest product developments at Iris ID?          

[Iris ID]
Peter, as you’re aware, we have been engaged in bringing new technologies to the market in the iris-based biometrics for a long while now, in fact since 1997. Within the last few years we have been making some tremendous headway where we have taken a product that used to be rather large in size and have made it compact to help address the mobility market demands. At present, we’re approaching the design of our new products with a view to making them as compact as is possible without losing any user interfacing, convenience that we’ve become known for. Our aim is to make an easy and user-friendly product for the individual to use; along with our systems integrators who do installation and servicing, and end users who administer and monitor it on a regular basis. 

The iCAM 7000 series products that we are announcing will have all of the features that we are aiming for; a product that provides interactive user-interface along with information gathering and provision to the user, i.e.—with the mechanism of an LCD screen. We are producing these products into targeted and vertically focused applications, such as access control or time and attendance and other identity management applications.   We are very aware that the iris market is expanding rapidly in certain segments and the needs are great, especially in the areas of workforce management and time and attendance.

You mentioned that you’re releasing some new products at the ISC Show that is beginning this week in Las Vegas; could you please tell us about those?

[Iris ID]
The new units are plug-compatible replacements for the widely used iCAM 4000 and offer significantly more features, applications, and integration flexibility than previous models. Based on our field-proven IrisAccess® systems, the world’s most advanced and deployed iris recognition platform, the new cameras are designed to meet the diverse needs for speed, accuracy, and value in today’s demanding biometric identification environment and continue to set the industry standard for iris recognition technology. Again, this particular product that we are announcing is actually a series of products; it’s a whole line up of devices. Therefore, we will be unveiling one or two versions of the product at ISC and there is a lot more to come, in that it will address multiple vertical markets.   It is a device that simultaneously captures both eyes, it has a high resolution 5M pixel camera, which will allow you to take a photo; we plan to provide a highly powered LED flash so that you can take an ICAO compliant picture that can be placed on a government ID card, a corporate ID card, or any form of identification document. 

We will provide a computing functionality within the device; this is focused towards integrators and solution providers in order that they may compose a solution that is specifically tailored to particular market segment. It will be tailored to their exact needs, where they will be able to take the messages that they want to deliver to the user while they are entering a facility through the LCD panel screen—it’s a touch panel—and it will be integrated with a smart-card technology and will be able to support all the latest technologies.   In the first go-round we’re going to be supporting HID iCLASS, DESFire, and MiFARE and CAC-compliant cards, and that is where our technology is moving forward. In the future, we will be supporting other formats such as Falica technology which is very popular in Japan. 

We have put the best of the breed of technologies in the device; we have taken care of all of it. We have addressed the concerns of the installers and integrators; how do they install it onto a wall as a walk-up device where installation is made very simple, it could be either a recessed or flush mount, both types will be addressed. It’s an Ethernet TCP/IP based product. It will have a USB interface so that the administrator can go in and manage that particular device individually and also be able to monitor it over the network. We can drive the management of the technology by other mobile systems, such as smart phones and hand held computers.

Well, it sounds exactly like what we hear the market asking for, Mohammed; a product that has the ability to use a device such as yours and be able to easily marry it with current application demands. It certainly sounds as though you’ve been busy speaking with your partners to determine exactly what they require.

[Iris ID]
That’s correct; and for example, when we were developing this device, we had a great many conversations with major access control providers, such as Lenel, Honeywell, and the G.E.s of the world. Taking all the information that we collected, along with their concerns and their kudos for what they liked in our previous products, and we’ve compiled it together in this new product.   We were told by pretty much everyone that they liked the fact that our device—the iCAM 4000, which is the predecessor of the iCAM 7000 that we’re announcing, has a fantastic user-interface, where you look into the device and the device actually talks back to the user, it doesn’t matter what region of the world you’re in or what language you’re speaking, it has the amber and green lights that indicates you are within the correct distance from the camera and that it has you tracked and will take a picture of your eye. It seems that other technologies do not make it as simple for the end-user to be able to capture their iris images.

Would you please talk to us a little bit about your involvement with the Indian UID project that is currently going on?

[Iris ID] 
Absolutely; this is a project that I consider as once-in-a-life-time opportunity for an individual who is involved in the ID management space. We have been very fortunate that we have built technologies that have attracted great many integrators into using our product to respond to the needs of the Indian government. We were selected by several integrators who used our technologies to bid. To provide a short-list of people who responded to the RFP were, Accenture, Unisys, Sagem and a few others who were already using our technology since they were very impressed that we provided a very flexible architecture for them to embed that into their own overall solutions without having to invest of lot of their own resources in getting it to work as per the solution needs. So, we’re very excited to report that in UID we have been selected by two major providers; one is Accenture, which is providing a multi-model biometric solution to UID, and the other one is Sagem who is providing the multi-model engine to UID. We are very pleased, and have done multiple millions in transactions thus far, using our engine, with both of the venders and the results are very satisfying. We are very excited and continue to support their efforts. We have a fairly large team that is involved in getting their system up and running in India. I believe that the integrator and the customers will be very happy with things once they are up and running a hundred percent.

Excellent, it truly is an exciting product. I know that you’re also involved globally in many other kinds of deployments; would you be able to describe some of those for us?

[Iris ID]
Most certainly. Wherever Iris is being used, we are involved in one fashion or another in that deployment when it comes to the Middle Eastern countries and the Arabian Peninsula. We are in almost every country and are providing our technology for some form of immigration and deportation control.

We have also been involved in—and this goes back to last year—we were awarded, with UNISYS, a contract to create a national ID system in Mexico for a 110 million people. We are excited to report that it is up and running successfully; Unisys has started to create the ID cards, and are using the engine to manage the identities and ensure that the appropriate persons are enrolled in the system as Mexican citizens. This will then expand into other applications which will allow us to continue to grow our business in Mexico and other South American countries.  

We are also involved in several programs within the United States on a similar level; and when they do grow, it will become extremely big.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit on a panel at the NDIA conference, where we were talking about the future of biometrics, touching especially on mobile applications. We found that when it came to mobile technology, mobile payments in particular became a rather hot topic. Do you believe that perhaps Iris might be a solution in that particular area?

[Iris ID]
Definitely; we are very much aware that transaction authentication will be a very, very large requirement as we move forward, as you know, we all perform transactions on our mobile devices more and more frequently. People check their banking information, their credit card information; products are bought through the device, and our personal information is provided to other entities. However, at present there is still an unsecured hole because passwords are being used for the most part. Therefore, in order to provide a strong authentication solution, there is a need for a biometric solution. We need work out the form factor and user convenience.

There have been a great many solutions that have been proposed in the past, such as the use of fingerprinting or even facial recognition, but since not all biometrics will fit each individual, there is no concrete solution in place. As you know, large organizations such as AT&T have joined IBIA because they recognize that mobile devices will be requiring biometric authentication in the future.

It’s a pretty exciting time ahead for the industry when big players like that are involved in a very specific application.

[Iris ID]
Absolutely, most definitively. While we’re not quite there yet, at the same time, all the pieces are being put into place in order to complete the puzzle, so that we can provide strong authentication within mobile authentication applications. 

Now, Mohammed, where do you see the user experience for Iris technology as we head into the future?

[Iris ID]
It needs to be simple. Therefore, I may just have to look in the direction of the device and let the device figure out where my eyes are, and from there, quickly process that information that’ll provide the authentication. People are not looking for something that requires user adjustment or education to use the system.

We believe that when it comes to our technology, we need to be heading down the path where it’s simple and the user experience is easy and painless.

In your view, which vertical markets are going to be the drivers of Iris technology, let’s say in around three years time?

[Iris ID]
Well, we’re seeing a continued vertical growth when it comes to government business; there are a great many applications in that sector, for example, national ID programs, health programs and passports.

Additionally, we also believe, when it comes to our business, that the next big wave will be in the workforce management space. Companies are looking to be very competitive in the marketplace and that means they will be looking for ways to save every cent off of their bottom line and an area of waste that we continually hear of is payroll. It could be that they’re paying out wages when in fact there are errors, even just five to fifteen minutes per pay cheque adds up, and over time, it could equal millions of lost dollars for the corporation.   As a result, we believe that this area will become a rather large vertical for us. 

We also see access control as becoming another substantial vertical for us; people want to authenticate an individual when granting access to a facility while at the same time cutting out the layers of security staff that they’d have on their payrolls. Companies are looking to have unmanned buildings, while at the same time providing a reliable security blanket for their employees; it ensures that the authorized individuals are entering into those facilities and the facilities are also secured.

I appreciate you speaking with us today Mohammed and I look forward to seeing your new product line-up at the show this week.

[Iris ID]
Thanks Peter…see you at our exhibit area.
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