Interview with Gary G. Jones, Business Unit Director: Biometric Access & Time Solutions (BATS), SAFRAN MorphoTrak
ISC West begins tomorrow in Las Vegas and, in advance of the physical access control conference and exhibition, FindBiometrics president Peter O’Neill had a chance to speak with Gary Jones, the business unit director of Biometric Access and Time Solutions at MorphoTrak (Safran). The conversation begins with MorphoTrak’s prominent role in the physical access arena, moves on to discuss its Finger On the Fly technology, and finally what we can expect to see form the company at this year’s big access control event.
Peter O’Neill, President, FindBiometrics (FB): MorphoTrak has been a leader in the physical access area for quite some time, Gary. Will you provide our readers with a brief overview of your product lineup?
Gary Jones, MorphoTrak (M): Absolutely. I think what makes MorphoTrak unique is the breadth and depth of its product range. Along with our parent company Morpho, we are responsible for developing the core algorithms, maintaining them, and continuously improving them, as recorded by our first place performance in the NIST benchmark evaluations. We also span the entire manufacturing area. We manufacture the sensors themselves, all the way up to the finished products that would be mounted on a wall for access control. Full participation in the algorithm, software and manufacturing side is unique in the industry and gives us a unique advantage in how we tune our devices. But, in addition to the different elements and components we manufacture is the variety of packaged products that we can create, given all of these building blocks we control. This means that we have a very diverse product portfolio, ranging from OEM modules that other partners integrate into their own devices, to finished, off-the-shelf products that you can literally take out of the box and mount on a wall for access control or time and attendance. We also provide handheld devices that can be taken out into the field, such as tablets and pocket-sized devices that are used for biometric authentication. Of course, another very important area of our business is desktop devices that can be used for enrollment, single sign-on, or large scale identification programs.
FB: MorphoTrak introduced Finger On the Fly last year. It is quite an amazing product. Can you give us an update on this product?
M: Finger On the Fly is a very important technology for us. It has been in development for over seven years, and we have had tremendous feedback from showing it to the market in its current form in recent years. We have listened to our customers, and taken Finger On the Fly technology to the next level. This is specifically what we will be launching at ISC West, which is a product called MorphoWave™. MorphoWave is an access control-ready version of Finger On the Fly. It takes our very powerful touchless fingerprint technology and packages it in an off-the-shelf, essentially plug-and-play access control terminal that can behave just like any other access control device. MorphoWave can communicate with all of the industry-leading access control systems on the market with traditional interfaces like Weigand, RS485, Ethernet, and WiFi.
FB: I remember at last year’s ISC West show seeing Finger On the Fly and remembering ten years ago the type of technology that was available then and how far it has come. It is truly a remarkable product.
M: What makes it particularly interesting and impressive is the way in which it is able to acquire fingers, not just without contact in a touchless motion, but specifically at a very high speed, allowing the user to wave a hand very quickly over the scanner. Behind that speed and convenience is very powerful imaging technology, used not only to read the fingerprints, but also to determine the curvature of each and every finger. Not just general curvature but down to a great level of detail. We create a very accurate 3D modeling of each and every finger, and that is very important because, as you know, in traditional fingerprinting almost all systems are based on a contact methodology, where the finger is pressed flat onto a surface. With contactless acquisition, you need to be able to transfer that 3D acquisition to a normal two-dimensional surface for the purpose of interoperability, and to achieve very accurate matching. Finger On the Fly does all of these things at a very high speed. It has taken a lot of effort to get the right balance of technology and convenience to make sure that we offer an ergonomic user experience, and at the same time achieve very high levels of accuracy while we do this image processing, feature extraction, and matching.
FB: Well, I look forward to seeing the new changes to Finger On the Fly at ISC West in Las Vegas this week. What else will you be highlighting at this important event?
M: The other key aspect will be the integration of MorphoWave into our MorphoManager software, which is the management software that we use to communicate with all Morpho devices. What this means is that, as always, we want to offer our customers a great deal of flexibility. MorphoWave is ground breaking technology – it is extremely powerful. But we also realize that each device we provide can be tuned or adapted to specific needs or specific applications. What we strive to ensure is that our customers can quite literally mix and match any number of devices from our product portfolio and have them all communicate back to one central system. So another key release at ISC West is the new version of MorphoManager. This allows you to have MorphoWave on the same network as you would any of our traditional contact-based readers, such as Bioscrypt 4G, MorphoAccess products, and the award winning Sigma Series products as well. For example, in a situation where a customer’s building has both high-traffic and lower traffic areas, the customer would use something like MorphoWave in the high-traffic or very high security areas, but they might use one of the more traditional contact-based readers for lower traffic areas. Being able to mix these different products on one network is really quite important. That’s why the integration of MorphoWave into the MorphoManager software is another key release for us at the ISC West show.
FB: Gary, thank you very much for taking the time to chat with us today and I look forward to seeing you at ISC West tomorrow.
M: Likewise. Thank you very much, Peter.