Innovative Technology has enabled face-based access control for teachers and staff at the St. Alban’s Catholic Primary School in Warrington, England. The school first started trialing Innovative Technology’s ICU Pro biometric solution in 2021.
Like other biometric access solutions, ICU Pro uses facial recognition to verify the identities of registered employees when they try to enter a building. Employees are first asked to submit their face to the ICU database, and the ICU system will convert that template to a large number that represents that individual. The next time that employee approaches the door, a camera will capture a new image, and that image will similarly be converted to a number and cross-referenced with the database to generate a match.
The St. Alban’s installation was only used for employee access control, and was not used to store any student information. That distinguishes it from biometric identification systems that have deployed elsewhere in the UK, such as the CRB Cunninghams system that was used for student school lunch payments in North Ayrshire. That program was eventually abandoned in response to pushback from privacy advocates.
The ICU Pro system, on the other hand, was designed with an eye toward privacy. Innovative Technology noted that its FaceID numbers cannot be converted back to a real face, which gives people a relative amount of anonymity within the database. ICU also does not store any other identifying information. All data collected during authentication is deleted once the process is complete, and all processing is done locally on the ICU hardware (rather than in the cloud). In that regard, the system can function entirely offline, without any kind of internet connection.
ICU is a contactless access control system, and is therefore likely to appeal to organizations that are searching for a more hygienic access control option during the pandemic. The solution negates the need for a PIN, or for staff cards that can be difficult to use when someone’s hands are full. With ICU, doors instead open automatically once a teacher’s identity has been verified.
Innovative Technology joined the Age Verification Providers Association back in April. The company also released an ICU Lite USB device in June to enable biometric authentication at kiosks and self-checkout terminals.
January 27, 2022 – by Eric Weiss