Interview with Mark Clifton, President, Products and Solutions Division, SRI InternationalIris biometrics company SRI International has been making some big waves this year, most recently at Mobile World Congress last month when it announced that Samsung will be integrating its eye scanning technology into mobile devices, validating long standing rumors that the OEM would be commercializing the authentication modality. Of course, mobility is only application for iris biometrics. SRI has a strong presence in the physical access and border control markets as well.
To this end, in advance of next week’s ISC West event, FindBiometrics president Peter O’Neill spoke with Mark Clifton, president of SRI’s Products and Solutions Division. The conversation starts with the big Samsung news, then moves to other applications of the company’s Iris on the Move technology, including some new SRI solutions, one of which is being introduced at ISC West.
Peter O’Neill, President, FindBiometrics (FB): I’d like to start off by hearing the just released news regarding Samsung. This is big news, please tell us about this?
Mark Clifton, President, Products and Solutions Division, SRI International (SRI): Well this is probably the first production enterprise tablet with embedded iris capability that performs enrolment as well as authentication for the user of the tablet. It can be used for accessing the tablet, opening applications or for verifying transactions, based on user-specific permissions. It can also be used with an attachment that enables users to enrol and identify other people. Imagine, for example, nurses could verify themselves and their patients to access medical history, drug prescriptions, and insurance information on the tablet—reducing error, risk and fraud. Other practical uses range from time and attendance for security guards and mobile workers to enhanced customer service for travelers.
The unit is in production and we think it has some fantastic applications across the biometrics industry. But it also does another thing, it really drives down the cost of iris authentication for a range of new applications.
FB: Is that because of the volume that would be involved with something like this Mark?
SRI: I give Samsung all the credit in the world because they are the mass producers of hardware and they know how to drive the cost to make it viable for a broader market. That was what they were able to do with this tablet.
FB: Your Iris on the Move or IOM technology is now being used in many different types of products, can you tell us about the range of these?
SRI: From tablets to walk through portals we bring the ease of use, all lighting conditions and high throughput applications all the way up the chain. We were actually just in Dubai at the Future of Borders conference with our partner emaratech where we announced a new product called eyen. It is a passport reader as well as a face and iris scanner. It performs simultaneous document and iris scans to quickly verify travelers’ identity when integrated with border gates.
Also at ISC West, SRI and KT&C will be introducing KEES™, an iris recognition door lock powered by IOM technology. The KEES smart lock brings the security and convenience of iris biometrics to the residential marketplace. It is going to be in the SIA New Product Showcase at ISC West, along with the iris-embedded tablet.
FB: Iris on the Move has been in the marketplace for several years. Why is this technology so popular?
SRI: I think it is because we have made it easy to use Peter. Typically iris technology has not been convenient; trying to align your eyes or put them close to the camera is intrusive. So people in general haven’t adopted it. But when you make it easy to use and it is very convenient and it has accurate, reliable authentication capabilities, I think those are the things that have been driving adoption. And very recently, with these announcements with Samsung for the tablet and KT&C for the KEES door lock, we are making iris recognition cost-competitive with fingerprint.
FB: Mark, I look forward to seeing some of these new products at ISC West which is occurring April 14-16th in Las Vegas.
SRI: Look forward to seeing you there Peter.