FindBiometrics President Peter O’Neill recently had the chance to speak with Joey Pritikin, VP Marketing and Product Management at Tascent. The conversation begins with a review of Tascent’s history before shifting to an in depth look at the company’s InSight One and Tascent M6 multimodal biometrics solutions. The following interview provides an expert view of the biometrics border control and mobile authentication markets, touching on Tascent’s global deployments and finishing with a glimpse of what lies ahead for the company.
Peter O’Neill, President, FindBiometrics (FB): Tascent has quite a lot of experience in the biometric industry. Can you please tell our readers more about the genesis of the company?
Joey Pritikin VP Marketing and Product Management, Tascent: Tascent develops and deploys biometric identity products and solutions that excel in challenging real-world environments. The company was founded in 2015, following the acquisition of AOptix Technologies’ Identity Solutions business unit. This gives Tascent a nine-year heritage in iris recognition, specifically multimodal high-throughput and mobile biometrics.
FB: You just announced the launch of InSight One, your latest iris and face recognition system. Can you tell us how it works?
Tascent: InSight One is the first in a new generation of iris-recognition systems. It captures unsurpassed dual-iris and face biometric images at a comfortable standoff distance, while presenting a sophisticated appearance that is equally at home in airports, border control checkpoints and government offices.
InSight One uses a customizable high-resolution graphic LCD, a fully automated capture process and a large capture zone to collect best-in-class biometric images. It offers a simple, intuitive user interface that anyone can operate with minimal instruction and no prior technical knowledge.
In sum, InSight One is the only biometric device that is fast, accurate and easy to use in challenging real-world environments. With the launch of InSight One, we’re able to increase throughput and accuracy, while at the same time improving the experience for users. We’re already seeing strong demand from airports around the world, government agencies and commercial organizations.
FB: We know InSight Duo is the predecessor of InSight One. Can you tell us where it is being used and how many people worldwide you are processing today?
Tascent: In developing InSight One, we were able to build on the broad experience of our previous generation product, Tascent InSight Duo, that processes tens of millions of people every year.
Currently, over 200 InSight Duo systems are deployed at all the terminals in Dubai Airport, enabling automated biometric immigration and in-line enrollment for 35 million passengers a year.
InSight Duo has also been deployed at London Gatwick to facilitate travel and reduce queuing times for thousands of travellers entering the UK each day. According to a UK Department for Transport survey of 4,000 Gatwick passengers in early 2016, 96 percent said they were very or fairly satisfied with security screening, with the shortest perceived queue time of any other major UK airport at just five minutes.
FB: Mobility has been a major growth area for biometrics. I am familiar with your very cool Tascent M6 unit. Can you review how this works with the iPhone 6 and some of the features?
Tascent: Made for iPhone, Tascent M6 is a hardware accessory that seamlessly integrates with the iPhone 6 or 6s, including the Tascent Mobile App and SDK. It provides multimodal biometric capabilities for iris, fingerprint, face, and voice recognition. The iPhone platform is ideal for a mobile biometric device, given the significant investment from Apple into the design, processing power, camera technology, and UI. The intuitive interface is familiar for users – expectations for mobile devices are defined by smartphones, so we use that with Tascent Mobile App. We use the phone’s camera for face recognition – it’s already one of the best in the world. To that we add an FBI-certified fingerprint scanner, which is much larger and higher resolution than the iPhone’s, making it more reliable and easier for those being identified. Iris capture uses our own specialized camera housed in a rugged outer shell. Tascent M6 meets rigorous standards set by Apple MFi, the FBI, and CE so it’s suitable for deployment by government organizations, law enforcement, and ultra-secure commercial settings. Security is paramount so the device carries FIPS 104-2 certification.
FB: What vertical markets are you focusing on for this product – Tascent M6?
Tascent: Tascent M6 provides multimodal (iris, fingerprint, face and voice) recognition in a mobile form factor, so it’s applicable in a variety of settings. It delivers enrollment-quality images in a compact device, replacing the need for jump kits and desktops full of hardware, making enrollment for travel and identity programs fast, cost-effective, and easy to deploy. Its rugged form factor and intuitive interface also make it ideal for difficult real-world environments where operators need to focus on helping people, who in turn need a quick, simple, and reliable way to identify themselves. For instance, where people may not have their identification papers, such as a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis, Tascent M6 is being used to ensure people are identified and get the support they need.
Tascent M6 is also being used by law enforcement agencies, since it is FBI-certified, for accurate identification of people in the field. If there’s an incident, officers need to quickly identify all parties and know exactly who they are dealing with for the safety of all.
Similarly, in the commercial sector, Tascent M6 is being used to ensure people have access to the right services and resources. This could be as simple as allowing access onto a bus or plane, but also for enrollment of employees into company programs, and restricting access to ultra-secure areas, such as research labs.
FB: Let’s focus in on the airport vertical. I know you have some insight as to how biometrics could greatly assist the flow and experience of air travel. Please share your thoughts with us.
Tascent: For years, air travel has been tainted by the frustration and inconvenience of long lines from security to immigration. We see biometrics changing that experience in a positive way. By eliminating the hassle of a boarding pass and reducing queuing time, biometrics has the ability to streamline the passenger journey, thereby making air travel enjoyable again.
Through our deployments of InSight Duo in international airports, including London Gatwick and Dubai, air travel is streamlined into a hassle-free experience. InSight One enables quick, touchless identity authentication that cuts down transit and immigration time. This allows travelers to spend more time enjoying their air travel experience, and less time waiting in lines. Meanwhile, Tascent M6 offers a convenient, integrated mobile enrollment capability, facilitating broader use of biometrics by helping people register for travel programs outside of fixed office locations. It’s exciting to consider what these new capabilities can do to provide seamless identity and improve the traveler experience, and we’re pleased to be a part of efforts to deliver enjoyable, hassle-free air travel around the world.
FB: The Biometric Industry is growing so rapidly now in many areas – finance, payments, retail, travel, etc. – what are some of the challenges we as an industry face with this rapid expansion?
Tascent: We’re entering a phase of mass adoption and acceptance of biometrics, not just for identification but for improving our day-to-day lives. People are getting more comfortable with biometrics as they use fingerprint and facial recognition to access their smartphones.
But with that acceptance and adoption comes great responsibilities in terms of accuracy, usability and privacy. If biometric systems are to be used more broadly, they need to be accurate. That’s one of the reasons we’re excited about iris recognition, which is 100,000 times more accurate than facial recognition.
The industry has made great strides in terms of usability. Biometric identification needs to be effortless for the user, whether it’s at an airport, a secure facility or in the field. These are often stressful environments – and biometrics has the potential to make the process easier, making sure people get access to the places and resources they need.
Finally, privacy and security are important. Biometrics will make the world safer and easier to navigate. Identity is the cornerstone of trust. The identity chain needs to be secure and reliable, and respect the privacy rights of each individual.
FB: What can we expect next from Tascent?
Tascent: We have two guiding principles when it comes to our biometric systems – they must be outstandingly accurate and effortlessly simple for people to use. So, you’ll see our products set the bar for speed, accuracy, ease of use, and aesthetics. That’s why they are used to identify tens of millions of people each year.
We feel biometrics is extending beyond traditional markets, such as border security and law enforcement, into the commercial sector. So you’ll see continual innovations and integrated services aimed at making that experience superior for commercial sector customers. Of course, these same innovations will equally improve the traditional sectors as well.
The speed, accuracy, and form factor of InSight One, mean we’re now rolling out new programs that enable iris and multimodal biometrics to be used in ways which weren’t possible or practical before.