The Eyes Have It
Corporate headquarters, distribution centers, construction sites — all are vulnerable to unauthorized intrusions. Some companies use identification cards to improve security, but biometric readers that scan the iris are beginning to speed up check-in and increase security for many businesses.
In April, Stanley Convergent Security Solutions (SCSS) partnered with Hoyos Corporation to introduce HBOX, a multi-modal biometric reader that scans users’ irises — at a distance while people are in motion — at the rate of about one person per second. This is unique in the marketplace, according to Christopher BenVau, senior vice president of national accounts for Naperville, Ill.-based SCSS.
Many people are familiar with Stanley tools, but that division represents only one-fourth of the company’s business in the retail sector, BenVau says. SCSS, part of Stanley Black & Decker, is the second-largest commercial security services company in the United States and a provider of security solutions around the world.
SCSS’s biometric product is more reliable than fingerprints, BenVau says, with an error rate of one in 10,000 trillion — second only to DNA. The human iris has about 2,000 points that vary from person to person. This high number of data points helps speed throughput; HBOX has a throughput of up to 50 people per minute and can be configured to serve different security needs with different throughput requirements.
“This is a big step forward,” BenVau says. “Before, products were not user-friendly. Now, people walk through the portal and glance up at the screen instead of using an access card.” The Hoyos reader “also confirms that an individual is alive so [someone] cannot take a photo and hold that up to the reader.”
EyeSwipe-Nano, a smaller version of HBOX technology, is used in venues like corporate headquarters and campus settings. It allows a 30-person-per-minute throughput and is scalable for high-person traffic environments. EyeSwipe-Mini also performs real-time iris recognition at a distance and has 15-person-per-minute throughput capability. This miniaturized version is used most often for access to critical building areas like vaults and server rooms.
Retail loss prevention professionals will be interested in several possibilities for using the technology, BenVau says. “It will be used at point of sale … as soon as the retail industry evolves from mag stripes.”
Biometrics can also reduce ID theft, he notes. “Now that iris technology is user-friendly we may see this in the near future at checkout.” The technology will be used, he says, in the distribution centers of retailers carrying high-value inventory or products that are easily concealed.