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Startup Alcatraz AI launches enterprise platform for frictionless access control with facial biometrics


Startup Alcatraz AI, which provides facial authentication for frictionless biometric access control for enterprises, has launched a full-stack platform with custom hardware deployed to the edge and software on-premises and in the cloud, Security Sales & Integration reports.

The Palo Alto-based company says it uses facial recognition, 3D sensing, and machine learning to authenticate employee faces as they enter a building, while checking for tailgaters. Alctraz AI’s patented self-enrollment technology associates faces and badges over time, and switches to face-only mode autonomously, never requiring a specific enrollment action by either administration or employees.

Alcatraz AI has raised $6 million dollars, according to the report, with Hardware Club, Ray Strata, JCI Ventures, Ruvento Ventures, and Hemi Ventures participating. The bulk of that (roughly $4 million) was raised in a seed round in June, 2018, according to Crunchbase. The company says existing fingerprint and iris-based access control systems increase friction by requiring employee interaction, but do not solve the problem of tailgating.

The company’s founders were inspired by their experience at Apple and NVIDIA.

“The idea was not born in a garage but instead at Apple, where we noticed that physical security, even at the tech leader’s campus, was done old school — with badges and guards at almost every door,” says Alcatraz CEO Vince Gaydarzhiev, according to SSI. “There are hundreds of projects being developed at the same time, requiring tens of thousands of employees to have different NDAs and various security levels, which means physical access to entry points is different for each employee, even if they work in the same larger team.”

Alcatraz AI’s system also avoids the logistical nightmare of calling up to thousand of employees to a human resources office to enroll their biometrics.

While the participants, media, and volunteers at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be screened with an access control system leveraging NEC facial recognition technology, most biometric enterprise building access systems still use other modalities, such as AMAG Technology’s Symmetry system, which recently integrated Suprema fingerprint readers.

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