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U.S. Hotel Pioneers Iris Biometric Solution

U.S. Hotel Pioneers Iris Biometric Solution

Boston's Nine Zero Hotel is the first hotel in the world to use iris recognition technology. The biometric scan solution was provided by LG Electronics.

The system is installed in the hotel's US$3,000-a-night Cloud Nine penthouse suite, revealed General Manager Jimmy Hord, and is also used as
a back-of-house security system.

The accuracy and reputation of iris scan solutions led to the hotel's choice of the technology, said Tom DeWinter, Manager of Business Development, LG Iris Technology, LG Electronics USA. "One-to-many capability allows access and identification. The LG iris software will support thousands of users with limits based on software purchased. Moreover, ease of use allows fast image acquisition, ability to verify in multiple languages, and ability to interface with any existing security technology."

When guests check in at the lobby, a hotel employee takes a photo of their iris. This involves an auto-focus camera similar to a home camcorder operated in normal indoor lighting. The individual looks at the iris camera from a distance of between 8 and 14 inches. The LG camera adjusts, and takes images of the iris. These images are converted into unique templates which are associated with an identification number.

Images are not stored only templates are, which can be deleted as requested. Templates are encrypted; however, the template is not in a format that can be used to gain access at the door without the individual looking at the iris camera. The solution reduces cost of issuing cards or PIN numbers, which can be shared or lost by employees. Furthermore, convenience of cardless door entry and security can be significant: Assuring VIPs that no one can enter who is not registered can increase peace of mind.

"Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group," which owns the luxury Massachusetts property, "is always exploring the most technologically advanced solutions and amenities for their guests," said Hord. "This is part of the guest lifestyle experience at Kimpton. An iris scan system is therefore a marketable amenity for the hotel. The cost of an iris scan system can be three times as high as that of a card-based access control system, but the technologically is usually deployed in very specific areas where the benefit can be realized."

The LG system also identifies employees accessing the premises through the employee/vendor entrance. "This is also a one-to-many application, and the maximum number of employees can be pre-determined, starting at 2,500 people to well into several hundreds of thousands, if requested," said DeWinter. The solution can also grant and deny access based on time and days, for flexible work schedules."

"Guests appreciate the high level of security the system provides," said Hord. "Originally, it was installed specifically for this very reason. It has since become a fun way to access the suite there is always the wow factor with the system. Guests who are on business appreciate a room that is not accessible to housekeeping while they are conducting meetings in their suite."

LG is in discussions with Kimpton to upgrade and expand the technology, based on the success of the technology. LG expects that other hotels will adopt the technology as the price of deployment has been reduced and IP-configurable solutions now allow easy network and communications across several locations.

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