Physical Access & Enterprise Month: Is Contactless The Key?

With another ISC West conference and exhibition behind us, we are once again looking to the future of biometric access control with fresh eyes. The annual Las Vegas security conference is renowned for setting the biometric benchmark when it comes to access control trends every year, and last week one topic stood out as a major point of industry interest: contactless authentication.

It’s no surprise that contactless is enjoying the spotlight. The biometrics industry as a whole is under the influence of a renewed consumer enthusiasm for facial recognition thanks to the 2017 announcement of Apple’s Face ID 3D facial recognition. But contactless biometric physical access is more than just consumer-grade hype; the benefits of contactless biometrics in physical access scenarios are very real and very appealing for the enterprise looking to catch up with the times and make the inevitable biometric upgrade.

Multimodal Availability

Physical Access & Enterprise Month: Is Contactless The Key?At first glance, to say contactless is key looks a bit like pigeonholing. For years the mainstream perception of contactless biometrics, for the most part, extended to facial recognition. But today’s contactless biometrics landscape is a diverse multimodal space. Face is still a core modality, but iris, voice, physical behavior and even fingerprint scanning are all readily available for contactless deployments.

At ISC West, FindBiometrics got the lowdown on two new physical access products that demonstrate the diversity of the vertical in question. Princeton Identity’s IOM Access200 scanner was launched just in time to be showcased in Vegas last week. A door access unit which leverages iris and face recognition that can integrate with most existing security infrastructures, the wall mounted device has applications everywhere from corporate and college campuses to correctional facilities and beyond.

At the IDEMIA booth, meanwhile, FindBiometrics President Peter O’Neill was on hand to receive a demonstration of the new MorphoWave Compact – a smaller version of the MorphoWave Tower contactless finger reader. Gary Jones, VP at IDEMIA, spoke to the new solution’s efficacy in an exclusive audio interview with FindBiometrics:

“We were able to get a 86 percent reduction in size, and a 93 percent reduction in weight of the overall product, at the same time maintain the same speed and image quality in the optical system,” said Jones.

Of course, face is still a big deal in the contactless access space, versatile enough to combine with other long-distance metrics as we see with the FST Biometrics IMID Access solution which adds gait biometrics and the option of voice recognition to the seamless access control arena. Further to that, there’s also no discounting the consumer enthusiasm effect, as large scale enterprise solutions continue to integrate mobile based access supporting Face ID and its competing facial recognition technologies.

Listen to all of our live audio interviews from ISC West 2018

Crowd Control

Physical Access & Enterprise Month: Is Contactless The Key?The reason contactless is so appealing comes down to the long standing biometric maxim of greater convenience with unmatched security. In the best case scenario, as far as convenience is concerned, biometric access can be so frictionless the user doesn’t even know security mechanisms are in place unless they lack the proper credentials and are faced with a closed door.

The frictionless experience is especially important in high throughput environments. Contactless biometrics can be deployed at turnstiles, allowing for the smoothest personnel flow this side of an open door. Israel’s HydroLife Centre health club uses this type of contactless biometric security courtesy of the aforementioned IMID system from FST. Posted at the entrance to the club, the turnstiles unlock as a registered visitor approaches.

And it’s more than just convenience at stake. Accessibility is important too. Brevillier Village, a Pensylvanian retirement home, adopted Princeton Identity’s iris reading technology in order to better serve residents with special needs, who were unable to easily use the PIN pad locks on the facility’s doors.

Everything in its Right Niche

Physical Access & Enterprise Month: Is Contactless The Key?It is naive, of course, to think contactless biometrics will fully replace the contact-based counterparts wholesale. Biometric padlocks are ergonomically suited for fingerprint sensors, extreme workplaces that require ruggedized hardware to secure facilities may pick contact-based solutions for durability reasons, environments that require face-obstructing safety gear and gloves may best be served by biometric wearables. Just like in the consumer world, multimodal choice is king when it comes to providing the end user the best experience possible.

But contactless biometrics have carved out a significant niche in physical access, and enterprises are better served for it. When it comes to accessibility and frictionless security, now is the time to make the biometric security upgrade that best suits a given enterprise’s needs.


Stay posted to FindBiometrics throughout April as we continue to bring you Physical Access & Enterprise Month featured content. Sign up for our upcoming webinar, Efficiency, Security and Trust in The Biometric Enterprise to learn everything there is to know about this dynamic market.

Physical Access & Enterprise Month is made possible by our sponsors: Princeton Identity and BioConnect.

April 19, 2018 – by Peter B. Counter