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Aware discusses new software development kit INQUIRE


In an exclusive interview with BiometricUpdate.com, David Benini, Vice President of Marketing at Aware, Inc., provided some insight about INQUIRE, its new software development kit, which it will be debuting at the Global Identity Summit in Tampa.

Aware provides biometrics software for law enforcement, border management, and defense. Products include SDKs, applications, mobile, and a middleware platform. They perform biometric autocapture, hardware abstraction, data formatting, workflow, and matching, for fingerprint, face, and iris.

What is INQUIRE?

INformation QUality and Identity Resolution Engine (INQUIRE) is a new SDK from Aware that is used to analyze and process text-based identity data. The result of several years of research and development, INQUIRE can be thought of as a toolbox of algorithms that perform intelligent comparisons of text strings found in identity data, such as names, addresses, identity numbers, and soft biometrics. These comparisons enable searching, matching, linking, and filtering of identity records, the results of which are then applied in aggregate towards complex tasks including data integrity assurance, identity resolution, link analysis, biometric search filtering, and others.

Can you describe the benefits of text-based identity data in biometric systems?

David Benini

The text-based portion of identity data is very informative, even in biometric databases, and so it lends itself to many useful tasks that are complementary to biometric search and match. For example, identity data containing biometrics cannot be used reliably if it contains errors. Consider two or more identity records that have very similar text-based content but non-matching biometrics; this indicates a potential error that should be investigated. INQUIRE can be used in concert with biometrics on a large scale to automatically detect and help fix these kinds of identity data integrity problems.

Another example applies text-based data together with biometrics to detect fraud. Consider a biometric search performed as part of an onboarding process to see if an applicant for a new account has been a customer before. If there’s a biometric hit but the identity data returned is materially different than what the applicant is now providing, it would be prudent to investigate further, either to prevent potential fraud or simply to ensure the integrity of the data. Again, INQUIRE can provide a degree of automation in this process.

INQUIRE can also be useful for investigative tasks. In a process called “identity resolution,” INQUIRE can be used to aggregate identity data from multiple disparate data sources to create a single, holistic view of an individual. INQUIRE can also be used for “link analysis,” which can reveal relationships between individuals and events that are not necessarily otherwise obvious. Finally, INQUIRE can be used for pre- and post-filtering of biometric search results. Biometric matching performance can be improved if identity records known to be of no interest can be automatically excluded from the search, perhaps even in an iterative fashion.

How does the INQUIRE SDK differ from other products available in the marketplace?

Most notably different about INQUIRE is the very fact that it is an SDK and not a “platform.” As an SDK, INQUIRE allows a solution provider such as a system integrator to use it to differentiate their own solution. But more importantly, it allows them to incorporate text analytics functions discretely into their solutions’ workflows at a granular level, in contrast to integrating with a black-box platform at a high level. Every customer’s identity data is inherently unique and poses unique problems, so it can be useful to customize functionality at a low level to address unique requirements. Furthermore, identity data is inherently private and sensitive. Using INQUIRE as an SDK can avoid the need to expose sensitive data to a black-box system and its support staff.

INQUIRE is also different in that it is optimized for identity data containing biometrics. Used in concert with biometric algorithms such as those provided in Aware’s Nexa fingerprint, face, and iris matching SDKs, text analytics adds a complementary dimension to identity data management that not only helps ensure the accuracy and reliability of identity data, but enables new ways to use the data more effectively.

What will Aware be demonstrating at the Global Identity Summit in Tampa next week?

The first Global Identity Summit is a great event to introduce INQUIRE. In the same way that the event, which was formerly called the Biometrics Consortium Conference, is now exploring identity challenges beyond biometrics, INQUIRE extends the capabilities of Aware’s products to address broader identity-related applications.

In Tampa, Aware will be demonstrating a software application that illustrates several use cases of the INQUIRE SDK. We will show how INQUIRE resolves multiple disparate databases of “encounters” into a single database of “identities” that are each created based on which encounters are determined to be associated with each identity. These identities can then be fuzzy searched, with results that include a match score for each of the top match candidates. The user can then perform link analysis that graphically shows which of their selected identities are related to each other and how.

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