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Seeing your face everywhere

Seeing your face everywhere

Editor / Provider: Christine Chien, a&s International | Updated: 6/12/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

Seeing the noninvasive, face-capturing benefits, different verticals are incorporating face recognition into their settings, acting as access control devices or identification tools. In each different setting, users must be perfectly aware of their environments and the dynamics surrounding it. Users need to know that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Each environment requires its own customized settings and calibrations in order to guarantee maximum accuracy and security.

Most of the time, a correct selection, planning, installation and configuration of the cameras in a given scenario drastically reduce the sources of failure, said Carles Fernández Tena, R&D Project Manager of Herta Security. Common failures are also caused by incorrectly operating the system, such as the wrong adjustments of parameters and thresholds, or enrolling subjects with low-quality images. “In this regard, some sophisticated facial recognition systems currently incorporate automatic quality control modules and self-healing techniques to detect and rectify such misuses,” Fernández further explained.

The biggest problems are related to the lack of knowledge from users which can create frustration and anxiety, turning what could be a quick process into a time-consuming task. “The use of graphic aids, including video animations, can drastically improve the overall experience,” said Marc Spiegel, Regional Head of APAC at Vision-Box.

Matters of privacy can be an area of high concern for some users; this accentuates the importance of educating users on how biometric templates are stored, as they are often misled and think their data are open to theft. “Sometimes, users fear their biometric information will be stolen, but chances of that are unlikely because their raw data is actually configured to a digital code and saved in the database, instead of just the raw data,” asserted Raj Venkat, VP of Cards and Credentials at Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.

City Surveillance
Employing facial recognition alleviates the work load of operators by simply sending out an alarm once a wanted criminal or target has been identified from the crowd. India's safe city project intends to cover several of its cities extensively by surveillance systems that can recognize faces and detect wanted criminals or terrorists, and flag off a centralized control room. Other surveillance systems put up by the police, other agencies and third parties, such as hotels and retail multiplexes, will be integrated as “databases.”

Even though the Tsarnaev brothers, responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing, were actually in the FBI database, the facial recognition software failed to recognize the perpetrators due to the poor picture quality of their faces that were mostly angled away. With rising awareness and installations of HD cameras, facial recognition for similar situations in the future will prove to be much more successful.

Law enforcement agencies can further take advantage of mobile devices, such as handhelds or smartphones, performing recognition on-the-go to further facilitate accuracy improvements and calibrations.

Event Security
Large-scale, open events — often sports-related — are prone to terrorist attacks; employing the right level of security measures is crucial. The capacious area increases the difficulty for the human eye to make out specific targets among the sea of faces. By utilizing facial recognition, security guards will be able to locate those on the blacklist or VIP list at an accelerated rate.

The upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup, scheduled to take place in Brazil, portrays the scenario perfectly. The country was determined to make the tournament “one of the most protected sports events in history,” shelling out US$900 million for the event. With the hefty fund, the country bought US military robots, Israeli-made drones, high-tech surveillance, and facial recognition glasses that can capture up to 400 images per second to be stored in a database of up to 13 million faces. The system is designed to match known criminals and terrorists. Currently, the guards are already being trained to properly operate these devices.

Airports and Border Control
Not only are facial biometrics used as part of the identifying process for national IDs and biometric passports, they are used in airports and border control as well. Now, biometric recognition is incorporated into solutions that are “designed to automate the secure and fast flow of passengers through restricted areas such as security and border checkpoints,” said Jim Slevin, Aviation Business Unit Manager at Human Recognition Systems (HRS). Recently, HRS deployed its system at Edinburgh Airport to assess the flow of passenger traffic through its security screening area to help address the bottleneck queues, though it was initially used as a performance measurement tool that anonymously measures how long people spend in queues and dwell areas of the airport.

“The same solutions when designed sympathetically can offer benefits for both security and passenger differentiation — the ability to identify and tailor journeys on an individual traveler basis,” Slevin added. Facial biometrics are used in airports to facilitate the passenger's check-in to departure experience. After recognizing passengers who are enrolled in the service, texts will be sent to the passenger and guide them through the process of self check-in and baggage drop-off, all the way until the passenger arrives at the correct departure terminal and goes through the gates. Enrolled passengers are often frequent flyers who are offered this opportunity as a part of the perks, in a sense, treated like VIPs by being able to avoid long wait time.

Other e-gates allow for integrated or a combination of facial, fingerprint and iris recognition, and can be used at any country entry/exit point, Spiegel added.

Retail, Banking and Gaming
Operators will be able to analyze their customers based on their facial expression. Retailers will be able to register and create a watch list for shoplifters or VIPs. Shoplifters will be immediately escorted out of the stores when they are identified, while VIPs will be treated with the greatest shopping experience that can be provided. “As soon as you walk into Macy's and get to a certain area, they already know what you like and your buying preferences. I think there will be a lot of great technologies introduced in the next five years!” said Mizan Rahman, founder and CEO of M2SYS.

Banks will be able to use facial recognition for identifying criminals in order to prevent robberies. Customers can also be identified for better services and accessing ATMs and safety deposit boxes. As for online transactions, Facebanx has developed a new online facial recognition solution that will enable banks, payment processors, and insurance and ID verification companies to dramatically reduce fraud and ID theft. Users simply need to add their face to their account via the camera from their electronic device, such as a mobile phone or laptop webcam. Each individual's face is recorded by a video stream (rather than stills), and the technology compares the multiple images taken throughout the recording to confirm the person is real and not a spoof by a photo.

In the gaming sector, a few years back, certain Canadian and Singaporean casinos started to use facial recognition to track down and identify gamblers who have put themselves on a self-exclusion list. The facial recognition software instantly scans photographs taken by a dedicated camera as visitors pass by a security desk, looking for matches with pictures of gamblers who have put themselves on the self-exclusion list. If a match is found, a silent alarm goes off, the matching photos pop up on a computer screen, and security guards compare them. Once the guard verifies the match between the visitor and the image on the screen, they will ask for the identification of the individual before escorting him or her from the facility. For those who have not been placed on the list, their photographs are instantly discarded. The cameras with facial recognition are also used for identifying VIPs, cheaters, as well as authorized personnel in the cashiers and vaults.

Facial recognition for automobiles has been heavily researched and tested so it can be incorporated into onboard cameras in order to track the driver's pupils and facial orientation to detect head movement, eye direction and blinking patterns. If the system senses the driver is about to fall asleep, it will issue an alert for drivers to pull over to the side of the road. For driver convenience, BMWs use facial recognition to adjust to each driver's customized settings, such as steering wheel height, seat position, mirrors, and even turn on his or her favorite radio station. However, there are some problems to tackle, such as where to best position the camera to capture the face again immediately after being obstructed by the driver's hands and steering wheel. Adapting to changing lighting conditions is no small feat either, since cameras have to be able to continuously capture the driver's face even as she drives through a tunnel, into the sunset or after dark.

Biometrics face off

Biometrics face off

Editor / Provider: Christine Chien, a&s International | Updated: 6/11/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

According to MarketsandMarkets research, global biometrics market revenues are anticipated to reach US$20 billion by 2018. Increasing security requirements for public security such as border control management, national identity cards, e-passports, Internet and network access, and financial transactions are acting as growth drivers. As of now, fingerprint is the most commonly adopted form of biometrics, but face recognition will most likely become its successor in the years to come.

The global biometrics market is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 22.9 percent, as compared to the facial recognition market growth of 27.7 percent during the period of 2013 to 2018. Over the next six years, facial recognition is predicted to become highly pervasive, ubiquitous across its ecosystem, and penetrating the market to a huge extent, according to MarketsandMarkets.

Facial recognition, one of the oldest forms of biometrics, had been slow to gain widespread adoption due to the problems in accuracy and reliability often found in its algorithms. However, the dynamics revolving around the use of facial recognition is changing, as government officials and commercial sectors are starting to realize the convenience in using facial biometrics for various purposes. Its appeal stems from the contactless, noninvasive nature when capturing and recognizing an individual, but also from its similarity to how humans recognize each other — through the face.

Because of its enhanced accuracy, flexibility of being used in all environments, and the public's higher tolerance for it, the speed of adoption shall only accelerate.

Main Purposes
For one-to-one identification, face images are used in combination with video surveillance in a controlled situation. Ideal sources of controlled environment for image capture include motor vehicle agencies, visa and passport agencies, mug shots, background checks, and surveillance cameras placed at “choke points.”

For one-to-many identification, facial recognition algorithms have experienced noticeable improvements through continuous attempts to address commonly associated problems in uncontrolled environments.

“Facial biometrics is one of the most promising technologies to be widely adopted and more generally affordable in the short future, given that capturing of samples can be done at relatively long distances and without any participation on the subject's part,” said Gary Lee, International Business Development Manager at Herta Security. With the ability to operate from afar, facial recognition is used to conduct passive recognition where no real cooperation is needed from subjects to detect and collect their faces in a real-time surveillance video — and start the match against databases of unwanted personnel or the “blacklist.” Areas with large crowds, heavy traffic and high throughput will be more effective if a separate mode of recognition can be incorporated into the surveillance solutions to further ensure maximum accuracy.

When it comes down to identifying an individual against an entire or multiple databases, facial recognition drastically enhances the chances of locating a match. Database will continue to expand, not only because of the likes of the FBI's billion-dollar next-generation identity program, but with the help of social media and retail sites where users upload images for a virtual makeover. This allows operators to access dozens of photos of individuals from varying angles and settings. The growing computational powers ameliorate the process of scanning these massive databases.

Challenges and Limitations
As with all technology, using biometric devices and solutions has challenges and limitations, whether it is due to the algorithm itself or operational errors. Carles Fernández Tena, R&D Project Manager of Herta Security, mentioned some improvements on the way. “One will be the ability to process very high-resolution imagery in real time. This will result in higher image quality for identification, more opportunities for matching the short apparition of a subject against the database, increased bandwidth capacity for processing either a greater number of channels or larger frames with the same resources, and the development of more sophisticated algorithms that are not currently possible due to the existing computational limitations.”

Some other problems include the cost of employing facial recognition devices or software. The technology in search applications usually faces more challenging conditions such as lower resolutions, variability in pose and expression, changing illumination and larger occlusions, which result in higher costs. “Depending on the reliability and functionalities of access control systems, their price range is typically between hundreds and a few thousands of dollars,” Lee stated. According to Alf Chang, Senior Consultant at a&s, current cameras can detect faces up to six or seven meters. Identifying individuals from a long distance can be problematic if the cameras do not have high enough resolution. If users wish to detect or identify individuals from farther away, they must invest in cameras with higher resolutions.

2-D vs. 3-D
3-D recognition is the newest form of facial recognition to have emerged over recent years; however, the debate on its use continues to exist. By employing 3-D recognition, it is able to address some of the common problems faced by regular 2-D recognition, such as lighting and facial angle, and provides additional information to facial analysis. In turn, this could lead to more accurate recognition.

"The basic idea with 3-D facial recognition is that a biometric template based on unique geometry of a person's face can be readily stored on a database, for access control, and compared with a ‘live' analysis to identify the person in question,” said Anna Stebleva, VP of Business Development at Artec Group. “3-D facial recognition is fast, contactless and accurate, and this combination of features caters fully to the needs of the access control market today.”

As of now, 3-D facial recognition is still in the research stage for the most part. “Very few applications are actually incorporating the use of 3-D facial recognition. Capturing and storage of 3-D templates are more complicated than with 2-D technology. It is also an expensive approach for access control or any other applications, so it still remains a technology in search of a true application event,” according to Jim Slevin, Aviation Business Unit Manager at Human Recognition Systems, who thinks 3-D can be extraneous for regular access control and one-to-one verification, but remains attractive for forensics and postevent analysis of surveillance footage.

“The main limitation of 3-D technology is the very high cost and limited working range of the sensors required to make it accurate enough,” Fernández said. “This breaks with some of the traditionally attractive characteristics of 2-D facial biometrics: long-distance operability, multiple identifications in crowds, and relatively cheap deployments in distributed architectures, given that cameras have become a commodity.”

Some also believe that 2-D and 3-D can coexist. “In uncontrolled environments, 3-D can address some of the problems. 2-D, with some of the advancements we've had, like something as simple as IR-based images, has already advanced a lot and are already doing well,” said Mizan Rahman, founder and CEO of M2SYS. “We may not need to replace all of the 2-D systems, and they will continue to exist in some capacity. 3-D is more effective because it is not constrained by end-user training; 3-D systems are able to handle unexpected environmental conditions.”

Safran/MorphoTrust releases inmate identification system

Safran/MorphoTrust releases inmate identification system

Editor / Provider: MorphoTrust | Updated: 6/6/2013 | Article type: Security 50

MorphoTrust USA (Safran), a  U.S. provider of identity solutions and services, recently released the newest version of its inmate identification, enrollment and tracking solution, Offender ID. Offender ID 3.1 offers new security features, including fingerprint and face biometric capture as well as searchable aliases. In addition, new integration and support features allow law enforcement to maximize current technology resources.

MorphoTrust Offender ID is an advanced inmate identity management and tracking system incorporating iris, fingerprint and facial recognition technology for fast and accurate identification. Critical processes, including booking and release, are quickly and securely executed preventing inmates from falsifying their identities, with no increase in staff. The solution integrates into an existing jail management or mug shot system, such as those provided by Morpho, or can operate as a standalone biometric and biographic repository. A complete offender identification process is available for operators to book and release subjects, create audit trails of subject enrollments and identifications, query records with text-based biographic searches and generate fully customizable reports.

“Accurate, efficient tracking of inmates helps prison officials protect the safety of their facilities and personnel, and prevents dangerous mistakes as inmates are moved and released,” said Bob Eckel, CEO of MorphoTrust. “The newest version of MorphoTrust Offender ID complements the live scan devices and other solutions available through Morpho, making these processes even safer and easier for agencies to implement.”

The Missouri Sheriffs' Association (MSA) and the Missouri Police Chiefs Association are currently using MorphoTrust Offender ID in their statewide offender identification system. Booking, tracking and release of inmates now takes place in a context of statewide connectivity, so that agencies in each local jurisdiction have accurate and up-to-date information at all times about the true identity of offenders, their criminal history, their current status and their physical whereabouts as they make their way through the criminal justice system.

“Giving law enforcement the ability to access information in a timely manner is key to protecting officers on the street as well as the public they serve. If we cannot verify a criminal's whereabouts, we cannot act,” said Mick Covington, executive director of the MSA. “As Missouri moves forward in coordinating affordable solutions for information sharing, we have identified MorphoTrust as the foundation upon which we can build and expand our ability to reach the ultimate goal of providing real-time information at the fingertips of officers on the street.”

Abu Dhabi seaport and industrial zone set sail to advanced access management

Abu Dhabi seaport and industrial zone set sail to advanced access management

Editor / Provider: CEM Systems | Updated: 5/31/2013 | Article type: Infrastructure

The Khalifia Port and Industrial Zone (KPIZ) in Abu Dhabi recently deployed CEM Systems, a Tyco Security Products company, access control and gate management system to secure its perimeters. The access control system consists of 700 card readers and fingerprint readers, portable card readers, and more than 300 PoE door interface units (DIU), were installed by Tyco Fire & Security in United Arab Emirates.

Khalifa Port was officially opened in December 2012. The port is crucial to the Abu Dhabi Ports Company megaproject which includes Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi. Featuring the latest technology and designed to accommodate the world's largest ships. Upon completion of all construction phases, the port will be at an estimated size equivalent to two-thirds of Singapore.

“This was an exciting yet challenging project for CEM who delivered not one but two systems for the port; the access control system and a highly customized gate management system, providing high level integration to multiple port security systems to ensure the monitoring and control of vehicles coming onsite,” said Philip Verner, Regional Sales Director, EMEA, CEM.

The gate management solution integrates with a number of third party systems all interfaced to ensure multiple checks are made before a vehicle can enter site. The driver first swipes their card then passive or active long range RFID tags are used on trucks and light vehicles and then finally ALPR recognition is utilized and the gate opens. “Khalifa Port required a highly secure and flexible access control system, which could be used for more than just access control” said Craig Menzies, Security Division Manager, UAE, Tyco Fire & Security.

The multi-technology IP card readers installed at the port are IP 66 rated to protect against dust and water. The reader features a keypad for additional PIN code security, and features an internal database for offline card validation. The database holds up to 200,000 card holder records internally and up to 8,000 records offline. This means that should communication be temporarily lost at the seaport, staff can still validate cards throughout the port at all times.

Fingerprint readers will also be installed on critical doors/areas throughout the port. For high security areas users will be prompted for three identity checks (card, PIN and biometric verification) using one device. Being such a large and expansive site, the port required mobile security. The portable reader is ideal for roaming security. The reader can be used at remote port sites or temporary entrances which have no power during the construction phases. 

PoE DIUs was chosen by the port authorities to ensure cabling was kept to a minimum. The DIU utilizes PoE technology to power readers and heavy duty maglocks on two doors. This created sizable cost savings on the project as it eliminated the need to fit mains power supplies/ fused spurs above each door. The security management system was also used to its maximum efficiency taking advantage of software applications such as alarm event display, visual image pass ID badging system and visitor management module

Changing tides

Changing tides

Editor / Provider: John Shi, a&s Editorial Director | Updated: 5/29/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

With the successful conclusion of the three major international physical security trade shows ISC, SECUTECH, and IFSEC this year, new waves of change rippling through the industry were reflected at the show floors. Here are some major trends observed at the exhibitions:

1. Regional market shifts
The US security market is rebounding especially in the education and government vertical markets, with school administrators and parents being especially supportive of security investments. The stabilization of the US economy and the conclusion of the presidential elections, has contributed to the increase of security budgets. In contrast, the European market appears to be more conservative. Nevertheless, Northern Europe, Germany, and Eastern Europe markets still remain promising. The Middle East's security demands are driven by its continual infrastructure investments. There is also a higher quota for IP applications in this region, as the technology has not been implemented in the past.

2. High-end market saturation
Affected by tightened security budgets and a highly competitive market, the security industry's high-end market is gradually becoming saturated. Manufacturers have taken two extreme approaches, with some climbing upwards to even more sophisticated markets, such as Genetec's migration from VMS to solution-based projects, or Nice Systems promotion of PSIM products highlighting event management capacities. Others have chosen to move into entry-mid level markets, for instance Milestone Systems's release of Arcus, an entry-level VMS that can be embedded into cameras or NVRs. Axis Communications has also released cameras with front-end storage and back-end cloud services, while many other companies have promoted price/performance ratio products.

3. No new technologies
There has been a lack of major developments in video surveillance technology and products. Instead, video surveillance cameras have turned to more functions, easy-installation, user-friendly, and maintenance-friendly.

4. Diverse back-end storage
Unlike the CCTV era, where DVRs was the only storage method, there are now five different types of storages—storing directly on camera memory cards (decentralized system), server grade storage, NAS, embedded NVR, cloud-based storage or services. How these storages technologies will evolve in the future is worth following up on.

5. Access control shines
Similar to the video surveillance industry three to five years ago, the access control sector is quickly shifting towards IP. Besides integration demands, of special interest is the integration of new technologies, for instance, wireless door locks that are easy to install, RFID technology for asset management or employee management, biometric identification (including fingerprint, facial and iris), identity management for government and financial industries, and lastly NFC. The introduction of these technologies will urge the upgrade of access control devices, and drive market adaption, especially in universities, hospitals, and government agencies.

6. HD demand evident
IP-based video surveillance has established itself as the mainstream technology in U.S, due to good IP infrastructure and mature cloud services. However, labor remains expensive in U.S, which is why IP over coaxial cable solutions is still highly popular. SDI technology is still in the minority, but there is still market for the product. Some have observed the lack of Internet concepts among most engineering companies and no Internet maintenance at the end-user level. Compared to the limitations of HD-SDI transmission, storage, and costs for one cable per camera, Taiwan IC company's ccHDtv solution can connect 16 cameras over 500 meters.

Major European security markets that have made large investments in CCTV in the past, such as UK, Germany and France, are more keen on HD-SDI. Although, UK's acceptance for IP technology has increased since last year, demands for HD-SDI remain high. Recently London upgraded 4 million analog cameras to HD.

7. Civilian security
The rapid growth of smartphones and hand held devices has propelled the demand for home security and cloud-services. Companies trying to tap into the home market include telecommunication companies, Internet companies, civilian cloud-based services, and security companies. The targeted users are homeowners and SMBs, which is expected to spur large demands for entry-level surveillance cameras, and even impact 4-channel DVR manufacturers market and distribution channels.

8. Chinese manufacturers
Hikvision Digital Technology's performance in many countries reflects the results of setting up local branches, while Dahua Technology has invested heavily at major security trade shows, greatly increasing its visibility.

9. Asian manufacturers
Asian manufacturers have increased their presence at international trade shows, by staging independent exhibition booths or joining country pavilions.

10. US analog market
Although analog video surveillance has a 70 percent market share in U.S, profits remain extremely low. Will it be possible for a professional manufacturer to take on this highly standardized field in the future?

11. Smart buildings and safe cities
IP integration has brought forth two major technologies, smart buildings (energy efficient and green) and safe cities. Compared to Taiwan, most countries safe cities have developed at a much slower pace and at a smaller scale.

12. Factors accelerating change
Challenges in product value and IP network applications is accelerating industry changes, whether it is the reshuffling of major security component manufacturers and the rise of Hilsilcon; the restructuring of foreign companies and traditional distribution channels; the convergence of IT channels that are rapidly entering the security market; or Asian manufacturing companies in China, Taiwan and South Korea that are facing pricing or technology reshuffling and replacements.

13. Fierce competition
As China's cheap products pour into the international market, the result is most companies have earned little. Domestic sales account for most of Hikvision and Dahua's profits.

Value-added biometrics

Value-added biometrics

Editor / Provider: Compiled by a&s International | Updated: 5/28/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

In science fiction, biometric identification represents a futuristic icon. Today, biometrics have become more commonplace, with mobile devices incorporating biometric authentication to replace weaker security measures, such as passwords. Many have turned to biometrics not only for the added security and accountability, but also for the value-added services and limitless possibilities.

Homeless Service Management
In the U.S., one recent application demonstrates the development of a centrally managed homeless management information system (HMIS). It helps manage data on homeless individuals and analyzes who received services in order to pinpoint demand. However, tracking and managing homeless individuals require a great amount of labor as they lack fixed addresses. Before, the only way to track them was through signature-based sign-in forms when they entered homeless shelters. However, these hand-written forms were prone to fraud, which led to more work and waste in resources. To address this problem, Bergen County — part of the New York City metropolitan area and the most populous county in New Jersey — turned to fingerprint systems for its Department of Human Services for more accurate identification and efficient data management to manage part of its homeless service program.

Each individual who wishes to come for a meal or access the shelter for the first time is asked for a fingerprint scan on an Internet-based platform deployed in the caseworker's computer. The fingerprint file will be stored in a single fingerprint database under the country's data center for client identification at their subsequent accesses, to allow for quicker entry by placing their fingers on the sensor. In the same manner, user access to the system is also guarded by the technology where system operators are also required to be fingerprinted to log in. The database system is based on Fulcrum Biometrics' modular development framework and managed by Eyemetric Identity Systems, a biometric solution provider. The system was designed to operate independently from New Jersey's HMIS while maintaining automated information exchange with the federal system to keep both databases updated. Furthermore, the database has restricted interoperability and cannot be checked against any law enforcement databases. “To meet this requirement, the application is configured not to save the raw fingerprint images. The system only saves the fingerprint template required for matching and client identification,” said Ray Bolling, cofounder and President of Eyemetric.

The system has helped the department efficiently document the use of other services such as showers, caseworker appointments, and computer and telephone use. Bergen County's system has been running as a pilot since 2009, serving as a test case statewide and nationwide. The adoption of biometrics in social services is expected to expand. “The first step in delivering social benefits is to identify clients,” Bolling stressed. “Given current conditions, it is time to explore new ways of delivering services more effectively and efficiently while remaining humane and respectful to clients. Biometric identification is the ideal means to meet that challenge.”

Self-Service License Renewal
Self-service is largely praised for time and labor savings. In some parts of the world, automated machines are gradually taking over in restaurants and movie theaters where, traditionally, the presence of service attendants was required. In the U.S., self-service has entered the public service sector. Since the early 2000s, US citizens have been able to conduct online driver's license renewals, although they are still required to visit the motor vehicle office to have their photos and signatures taken, depending on the state.

In 2009, Mississippi became the first state to deploy self-service driver's license renewal/replacement kiosks with a photography function that incorporates a facial biometric identification system. Cooperating with MorphoTrust USA (a Safran Group company), the Mississippi Department of Public Safety adopted a system that streamlined the licensing operations and reduced customer wait time. Mississippi is followed by a number of states, including Delaware, Indiana, Alabama and more. Tennessee deployed its self-service solutions in the beginning of 2013.

Such kiosks help initiate the applicant enrolment process and enable self-service and cashless transactions; one can make payment on the machine with a credit/debit card. Customers are guided through a series of prompts and are asked to securely enter personal information on the kiosks' touch screen menus. For identity theft prevention, the facial recognition technology and image verification software are embedded in each kiosk. The machine will take a photo of the applicant, and the software matches it against with the existing photos in the database networked with state driver's license records to verify the person's identity. After the identity confirmation, an interim receipt will be printed out for temporary use until the secure card is mailed out from the central issuance facility.

“This new technology makes the renewal and replacement process simple, and gives Mississippians the option of visiting one of our driver services' buildings or one of the kiosk machines,” said the Mississippi Department of Public Safety in a prepared announcement. Bill Gibbons, Commissioner of Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, agreed in an interview with MorphoTrust: “In some cases, we're saving our customers a nearly 20-mile drive plus the time spent waiting in line by placing our kiosks in locations that are convenient to them.”

Enhanced Airport Experience
On top of the stress from organizing trips, many travelers dread the long lines at the airport check-in counter. Trying to navigate the airport causes more headaches, taking all the joy out of a not-yet-begun journey. While compromising security for speed is not an option, many airports have reexamined the bottlenecks and turned to technology to speed up the processing of travelers. They automate procedures and take care of the chores that ground crew used to handle.

Gatwick Airport is the second largest and busiest international airport in London. According to its website, 34.2 million passengers passed through it in 2012 alone. Aiming to reduce queues generated by heavy foot traffic and ensure each passenger is treated like a special guest, the airport recently tested the use of biometric and analytic technology to personalize and improve travel experience. HRS Systems, a British biometric solution provider, was approached to help demonstrate this capability.

According to HRS, the concept of the trial was based on what travelers wanted from airports in the future and the airport's customer-focused commitments — to create a more personalized airport experience. The journey begins when travelers are identified using facial recognition upon their arrival at the parking barrier. The barrier is then opened after the verification, which triggers the system to send an email or text via the Gatwick mobile app to the traveler's cellular phone and guide them to the parking space reserved for them. “The modality of the biometrics used may vary; for simplicity's sake, the concept used facial biometrics via strategically placed cameras to identify the traveler. It then checks this ‘template' against the database and opens the barrier once a positive match has been made,” said Ian Cushion, Marketing Manager at HRS. “The database is based on frequent registered passengers who are already known to the airport with an existing biometric and user profile enroled in the airport system.”

A series of personalized guidance messages following the first are set to be delivered to the traveler's smartphone along the way. Once they enter the terminal, the app sends another message to notify the passenger of their flight information and the location of their check-in counter, along with a general welcome message. “This welcome can be personalized to advise the traveler of any events or offers that are currently running that they may be interested in based on their previously stored profile,” added Cushion.

Based on the traveler's stored profile and previous purchases, the system feeds personalized adverts as they travel through the airport. In addition, the airport also plans to deploy iris recognition technology that is currently under live trial at the airport's auto-boarding system. “At check-in, travelers use designated self-service bag drops to deposit their hold luggage and enroll themselves biometrically via unobtrusive iris recognition.” Cushion said. “Enroled travelers can then utilize automated self-service gates to board the aircraft through a combination of iris recognition and presenting a valid boarding card.”

The trial demonstration is part of a US$1.8 billion investment program to modernize Gatwick Airport's facilities and improve the overall passenger experience. In 2012, Gatwick Airport won the Best Security and Immigration Experience Award for improvement on its security and immigration process and the implementation of biometrics.

The next killer app for NFC will not be mobile payments

The next killer app for NFC will not be mobile payments

Editor / Provider: Smart Card Alliance | Updated: 5/20/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

With half a billion NFC-enabled handsets expected to hit the market in the next year, according to an ABI Research report released in March 2013, industry experts agreed that the major first step to broad NFC adoption has been accomplished. But discussion and debate continued as to what the killer app will be to get the technology to take off. Experts concurred in a recent meeting that the next NFC application might not even be mobile payments anymore.

Applications like wine tracking and device pairing that fulfill unmet needs and simplify activities may be the “world-winning NFC solutions,” according to Koichi Tagawa of Sony and Chairman of the NFC Forum. In another example, Tagawa noted that Japanese airlines using NFC can board a 450-person plane in only 15 minutes, as opposed to the standard boarding process for a 150-person plane without NFC in 40 minutes.

Other experts agreed that loyalty programs and offers are great first steps for consumers to use NFC technology.

Lynne Barton, VP of Marketing with Jamba Juice, which has been participating in the Isis Mobile Wallet pilots, said that NFC creates “more meaningful and personal conversations with customers.” She said that she “sees a future with NFC, but it will take consumers a little bit of time to get there,” adding that coupons and offers are “the gateway” to get consumers using the technology.

Lydia Martinez, Store Marketing Specialist at Whole Foods, concurred that “for the short term, loyalty and the value of the couponing is the gateway for people.” She said that the appeal of NFC is to help “drive brand and drive loyalty while giving customers a faster experience.” Martinez described an upcoming holistic marketing campaign where NFC-enabled coupons and loyalty will work with in-store displays and social media to promote local farmers and producers.

NFC should “create, communicate and deliver value to customers,” said Mohamed Awad of Broadcom and Vice Chairman of the NFC Forum. He said that creating value for NFC is about “simplifying with the way we act with the more and more sophisticated set of microcontrollers around us.” To this end, Awad described several use cases where organizations are communicating the value of products to customers by differentiating with NFC, including smart home appliances, interactive games, travel services, opt-in magazine ads, and even tombstones.

Other experts discussed mobile security features that could allow consumers to become more confident in using their devices for more sensitive transactions. Sebastian Taveau, Validity's CTO, described a vision of fingerprint biometrics providing consumers with a fast and secure way to unlock the NFC applications on their mobile devices. Citing that 90 percent of user-generated passwords are vulnerable to hacking due to being stored centrally in the cloud, Siva Narendra, Tyfone CEO said, “Consumers demand convenience and expect security.” Narendra unveiled Tyfone's new Connected Smart Card that enables the secure storage and use of multiple IDs that can be placed in a microSD, a key-chain, an iPhone case, or a wearable device.

But while speakers and panelists didn't reach consensus on what the so-called “killer app” for NFC will be, speakers conveyed the great potential for NFC including mobile payments in the longer term. When asked the question “Is NFC dead?” compared to alternate technologies such as cloud payments, Glenbrook Partners Consultant Allen Weinberg stressed that all these technologies are still in the early days and it is too soon to make judgments on what mobile commerce technologies will be the winners and losers. “At the end of the day, we don't have a widespread, commercialized anything yet,” he said.

S. African mines undertake holistic approach to health, safety, HR and security compliance

S. African mines undertake holistic approach to health, safety, HR and security compliance

Editor / Provider: G4S | Updated: 5/13/2013 | Article type: Commercial Markets

About three years ago, G4S Secure Solutions South Africa (then under the Skycom banner), became involved with projects aimed at enhancing business support systems, especially in the HR and payroll sectors of South Africa mining operations business. Different projects were initiated and aimed at replacing outdated time and access management system with a new comprehensive access control system utilizing smart card readers, portable card readers, fingerprint readers, facial recognition and access control software.

Mining in South Africa has been the driving force behind the history and development of Africa's most prestigious economy. Gold mining has accounted for 12 percent of the world's production in 2005, although the nation had produced as much as 30 percent of world output as recently as 1993. Despite declining production, South Africa's gold exports were valued at US$3.84 billion (£2.5 billion) in 2005. Almost 50 percent of the world's gold reserves are found in this country. Global mining houses and local mining companies throughout Africa employ well over 450,000 people across all the extraction sectors and platforms.

G4S was tasked with the provision of various hardware and software platforms tailored to the specific requirements of each business. These platforms were then integrated into the existing operations to provide site managers easy and efficient control over access, time recording Health and Safety requirements, movement patterns and environmental situations. The intention was to create software that allowed ease of use to both the end user and management. From the employee clocking into work to the HR team collating reports and gathering management information.

To keep out illegal miners, the solution introduces fingerprint technology to control access to mining facilities; proximity based card readers solutions for mass gatherings; facial recognition deployed for meal issuing and control at canteens plus various accommodation facilities; access control management of shift work or group access to mines as well as health management of workers.

In addition, the system also enables contractor management; visitor management; fuel management; inventory management by making sure workers receive the correct equipment. Through XTIME command and control software, the system can be integrated with building alarm and security systems. Video surveillance systems can also be integrated into the system.

As a direct outcome of the success of the initial projects with large multinational mining houses, a technology partnership was formed with G4S and a number of the big mining companies to develop well suited, efficient technology solutions in accordance to specific requirements at various global mining sites with the use of the time and access management systems. The high end security plant systems were also converted to XTIME which was custom developed for mining and industrial sector customers that had a need for a high security environment such as gold plants and high risk areas. The system handles full search facilities with intelligent routines which are set up by users of the system to cater for different conditions that occur in the plant. The graphical maps feature available provides control and situational awareness from a single screen. This ultimately results in the business being able to view the various platforms in one single view. The overall success of the solution across South Africa has led to implementations within other customer operations in Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia.


Precise Biometrics' iPad 4 sleeve approved by Apple for payment applications

Precise Biometrics' iPad 4 sleeve approved by Apple for payment applications

Editor / Provider: Precise Biometric | Updated: 5/6/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Tactivo is the first mobile smart card and fingerprint reader based on the new Lightning connector, which has been approved by Apple. This new version also supports payment chip cards.

Thomas Marschall, President and CEO of Precise Biometrics, says: “We are pleased to announce that Tactivo for iPad 4th Generation has been MFi approved by Apple and thereby is ready for global launch. We already have pending orders from both old and new Tactivo customers.”

Tactivo for iPad 4thGeneration is the first mobile smart card and fingerprint reader, based on the new Lightning connector, available in the market. It proves, once again, the market leading position Precise Biometrics has within this segment.

Together with apps and solutions from Precise Biometrics' partners, Tactivo enables government agencies and companies to maintain a high level of authentication and security when employees use mobile devices to access sensitive information. Tactivo supports both traditional smart cards, such as the US Government PIV and CAC cards, as well as payment chip cards.

Precise Biometrics releases 2013 Q1 financials

Precise Biometrics releases 2013 Q1 financials

Editor / Provider: Precise Biometrics | Updated: 5/1/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Precise Biometrics ,Interim report for the period January – March 2013
The group's net sales for the first quarter was US$ 2.56 million (SEK 16.8 million)
The group's operating result for the quarter was $ -0.15 million .
The group's net result for the quarter was -1.3.
Earnings per share for the first quarter was $ -0.00.
Available cash at the end of the quarter amounted to $ 1.17 million.

Important event during the quarter
A global provider of financial information services chooses Precise Biometrics as their new fingerprint algorithm vendor following a thorough test of the market. The customer is aiming to increase the performance of existing and forthcoming fingerprint enabled devices by using Precise Biometrics' technology.

One of the largest mobile Operators in the US has started selling Precise Biometrics' Tactivo The Operator has placed an initial order of 5,000 Tactivo units. The order has been delivered during March.

Precise Biometrics announced that the Company will shortly release Tactivo for Android. Development of Tactivo for Android and further mobile platforms is already in progress and will be launched end of Q2, with prototypes available for selected partners in May.

The credit facility that was obtained during the first quarter 2012 was re-paid in January 2013. The company utilized, before the repayment, $3.05 million of the credit facility of $4.57 million. Within the framework of the credit facility agreement, and until the end of May 2013, the company can obtain order financing.

The Board of Directors of Precise Biometrics has proposed the Annual General Meeting on April 23, 2013 to decide to undertake a rights issue with preferential rights for Precise Biometrics' shareholders of approximately $8.39 million. The rights issue is implemented to finance increased working capital due to new orders, continued development of Tactivo by increasing resources for production, product development and sales and marketing efforts worldwide. The rights issue is guaranteed up to a level of 70% of the rights issue, approximately $ 5.87 million.

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