INTERVIEW: Todd Mozer, CEO, Sensory

INTERVIEW: Todd Mozer, CEO, Sensory

Sensory’s TrulySecure 2.0 technology combines face and voice biometrics.

FindBiometrics is on its way to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2016, and Sensory, Inc. will be exhibiting there. Peter O’Neill, president of FindBiometrics, recently had the opportunity to speak with Todd Mozer, CEO of Sensory in advance of this year’s MWC. The conversation is focused around the recently launched TrulySecure 2.0, that product’s special advantages, the perks of multimodal biometric solutions, and Sensory’s success over the past five years.


Peter O’Neill, President, Mobile ID World: You recently launched TrulySecure 2.0 with both face and voice, can you please tell us about this?

Todd Mozer, CEO, Sensory: TrulySecure is one of the three members of our product line which includes TrulyHandsfree, TrulyNatural and TrulySecure. TrulySecure is focused on biometric authentication and it combines the state of the art in speaker verification with face authentication. TrulySecure runs on embedded platforms like mobile phones. We are not trying to run it in the cloud, we are trying to run it on device so that makes it both FIDO compliant and reduces the risk of personal data through a cloud connection.

With TrulySecure 2.0 we have advanced our technology by accumulating a lot of data. The TrulySecure 1.0 release represented an application release that we call AppLock which you can find in the Android store if you search for “AppLock by Sensory”. When we released AppLock we gave it away for free and there was no advertising. It was an awesome product for consumers, and for Sensory it was a means of collecting a lot of data on faces using mobile phones for authentication in real world scenarios. With 2.0 we have taken all that data (we have had I think something like 40,000 downloads at this point in time) and we have been able to use it to analyze what is working and what isn’t working and apply what is called a Deep Learning approach using Convolutional Neural Networks to improve the accuracy of our face authentication.

In parallel, we did a lot of changes to the speaker verification to improve the technology in real world usage, like background noise and reverberant conditions. It has been a wonderful thing to collect data on the audio too because we can now tell what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, and we can train better neural nets, and we can apply better statistical approaches to make TrulySecure the most accurate face/voice biometric possible.

FB: I had an opportunity to see this in action at the latest Money 20/20 show and what impressed me was that it was so fast and user friendly, is that one of the key advantages that you are finding with this new release?

Sensory: Absolutely. When we, as consumers, used other biometrics we found that we often turned them off because they were either too intrusive and difficult to use or that they didn’t work that well. What we tried to do with TrulySecure was make something that was very accurate but at the same time very user friendly. It is a hard combination because there is usually a trade-off between ease of use and accuracy, and that’s why we focussed on the face and voice biometrics as we viewed them as naturally more convenient. We have gotten the accuracy to be really, really good and we have got the user friendliness to be awesome; the training time takes about 10 seconds so training is very, very fast and then usage is usually within a second.

FB: What would you say are some of the other advantages of this over, let’s say, single modality biometric technologies? I know for example anti-spoofing is a key concern these days in the industry.

Sensory: Yes, there are a number of different advantages that we have in TrulySecure. We talked about the speed advantage but another component of the convenience is that you don’t really need to do something awkward with your phone. It is a single-hand operation where you just hold your phone—you don’t need to use two hands, you don’t need to put it up close to a certain part of your face or your body, you just look at it and/or speak your passphrase and it immediately authenticates. So it is convenient as well as fast.

By combining both voice and face together we get another whole set of advantages. Pretty much every biometric has its fatal flaw. With fingerprint its dirt or oils or dryness, with speech it’s high noise environments, and with face it’s lighting issues. By combining biometrics together we have a very robust solution that will really work in pretty much any environment or any sort of usage case even if the user isn’t that cooperative. So, it is nice. Some of our customers are considering combining fingerprint with TrulySecure, so you really get the best of all worlds! On the anti-spoofing front we have done a bunch of other things to make it very difficult to spoof with photographs or recordings. We can also do application level approaches to prevent spoofing like forcing the person to say a specific word or to do something with their face, these kinds of randomly requested actions that can’t be prepared for in advance can make it  virtually impossible to spoof.

FB: Has this been a good year for your company?

Sensory: Yes we have been on a really nice roll over I would say the past four or five years. We just got back from CES and it was an awesome show for us. We had more than 20 companies that were showing our technologies in various booths and hotel suites. Our compounded annual growth rate over the last five years has been in the double digits and we have been profitable about four of those five years. So business is really quite good for Sensory. On the patent front, we now have over 30 patents issued with about 20 more applied for. On the TrulySecure side we have a whole lot of interest from both the mobile phone companies as well as certain vertical market segments like banking that want to do applications with TrulySecure. In fact we just signed our first deal for a major bank that has over two million app users that will soon be TrulySecure banking users. So we are seeing interest in a lot of different areas including vertical markets like Enterprise, Banking and Medical beyond our traditional consumer electronics focus.

FB: Consumer electronics is a real growth area and the vertical markets that you mentioned—financial and healthcare—they are both big. And we are also seeing the enterprise market really becoming one of those critical areas.

You’ll also be at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will you be exhibiting there?

Sensory: We have a large number of handset customers and platform partners that will be exhibiting and showing Sensory technologies at Mobile World Congress. In fact four of the five top handset companies have now licensed Sensory technologies.

FB: Well I look forward to seeing you in Barcelona and thank you very much for talking with us today.

Sensory: Thank you. Peter.