editors pick top 2012 product launches

December 25, 2012 - 

Around this time each year, the editors at recognize some of the best new biometric devices that have been launched this year and that have had, in our estimation, the biggest impact on the industry as a whole.

One of the most comprehensive and interesting set of product releases this year, in our opinion, came from Cross Match Technologies.  Cross Match bills itself as a leading provider of high-quality interoperable biometric identity management systems, applications and services.  After our editors examined a series of their new products at the 2012 Biometric Consortium Conference & Biometric Technology Expo in Tampa this autumn, we are inclined to agree with that assessment.

We were very impressed with the firm’s launch of its new Web-based biometric software application called WEBS, which which was announced in this August.

As we reported, WEBS is the first completely Web-based approach for the collection and management of biometric enrollment data. It is uniquely suited to address the pressing concerns associated with today’s biometric implementations, including security, privacy, and total cost of ownership.

The WEBS architecture leverages a secure, central server that interfaces with workstations, thin client terminals, or enabled network devices at remote enrollment sites. This unique approach simplifies installation, streamlines implementation, and provides a single touch-point for application administration, maintenance, and updates − ultimately, saving time, improving productivity, and reducing costs.

WEBS is particularly attractive for customers managing disperse enrollment sites or who are seeking to easily and cost effectively scale their biometric operations and simplify IT management and maintenance. The WEBS architecture is designed to support the addition of future capabilities and enhancements, thereby providing IT and security managers a flexible, customizable biometric solutions platform. editors were also impressed by Cross Match’s new version of its Guardian line of fingerprint scanners at the Biometric Consortium Conference & Expo.

The original version of the device is still in use by the Department of Homeland Security for its U.S. VISIT program.

Both new Guardian and Guardian IP scanners incorporate “FlexFlat” and “FlexRoll” capture modes, providing a more user-friendly way to capture both flat and rolled fingers anywhere on the platen. In addition, a new optical design allows for high quality image capture regardless of whether a subject’s hands are wet or dry. The Guardian’s new intelligent user interface and screen intuitively prompt a user through all necessary steps by indicating finger sequence, placement, and pressure; ensuring the rapid and accurate capture of high quality records every time.

With a revolutionary new user interface, enhanced optical design, and more flexible capture modes, the new Guardian and Guardian IP deliver a completely self-guided ten-print fingerprint capture process that represents a new level of adaptability to real world use. The Guardian IP connects directly to the network, eliminating the need for a local computer and operating system. Deployed with a server-based application, this approach provides a secure, scalable, and cost effective approach to biometric implementations.  Both new devices can integrate into the firm’s WEBS platform, providing unprecedented security and privacy, and a scalable and low maintenance approach to biometric implementations. editors were also impressed this summer by the release of the Tactivo smart card and finger print reader solution for the iPhone and iPad, from Precise Biometrics.

The Tactivo soultion offers unprecedented strong authentication options in a convenient enclosed iPhone case. Tactivo works with smart card and fingerprint recognition implemented separately or combined. Designed as a sleek, singular smart case, Tactivo maintains access to iPhone and iPad buttons and connectors, including the ability to charge and synchronize the phone or tablet without removing the case.

Using Tactivo, organizations can provide employees in the field with enhanced biometric applications through their mobile Apple device. Tactivo also allows for passwords, data and other sensitive information to be securely stored onto any iPhone and iPad through its interface.

Precise Biometrics’ devices have been well received by the marketplace.  By autumn, reported that Thursby Software Systems ( and an additional recognized partner together placed orders for over 1,000 Tactivo units for delivery by the end of the 2012.

The device, which gained MFi approval and certification from Apple, also has obtained FCC, CE Marking, and GSA FIPS-201 approved product listings.  In an exclusive interview with Michael Harris, CTO for Precise Biometrics, we learned that Tactivo devices were the first products with the ability to harden iPhones and iPads to an acceptable grade of security for the U.S. government.  The firm expects to extend the Tactivo to more smartphone brands. editors have also been extremely impressed with the release of RapidHIT, the system developed by IntegenX Inc. and Promega Corporation, that allows law enforcement to produce DNA profiles for human identification from mouth swabs and other human samples in the field, in an extremely short time period, sometimes within two hours.

We have described the RapidHIT service as a breakthrough sample-to-profile biometric system because allows DNA analysis at the point of collection, such as an arrest or detention, setting a new standard in the usage of DNA profiles as an actionable biometric.

By contrast, human DNA samples currently must be transported or shipped to laboratories that rely on highly trained technicians using multiple instruments for analyses taking 10 to 14 hours, with access to results delayed up to 30 days or more. editors were excited to report about the system’s official release to the U.S. market this autumn. According to the company, benefits of this system include: the ability to ensure only those guilty of their crimes are convicted; the easy identification of victims and criminals; and a reduction of the strain on resources devoted to questionably-effective intuitive crime-solving methods.

Our list of this year’s most impressive product offerings would be incomplete if we did not mention the InSight Duo airport security offering from AOptix Technologies.  While released in 2011, AOptix Technologies did demonstrate its InSight Duo product offering for at the 2012 Biometric Consortium Conference & Biometric Technology Expo. editors were impressed with the device’s form factor. InSight Duo delivers the combined power of iris and face biometrics in a single, slim device. And with a capture time of six seconds for standards compliant face and dual iris images, at a distance of two meters, InSight Duo delivers outstanding performance without slowing high airport throughput.

InSight Duo is particularly well suited for enrollment and authentication applications, including registered or trusted traveler programs and expedited processing at immigration or airport security checkpoints, where speed and accuracy are critical. Because the InSight Duo is fully automated, it is simple and intuitive even for non-technical or non-acclimated users, and can help streamline otherwise complicated processing.

We feel that any user-friendly technology, that enhances the airport experience is worth mentioning, even if the product was released a year earlier.  The incredible depth and breath of these and a whole range of other biometric products and services offers editors optimism that the industry is posed for incredible growth in 2013.

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About Rawlson King

Rawlson O’Neil King is a contributing editor at and is an experienced communications professional, management consultant, trade journalist and author who recently published a book about control and electronic networks and who has written numerous articles in trade publications and academic journals about smart home and building technologies. Follow him @rawlsonking2.