StoneLock GM discusses privacy features in biometric property technology as market heats up

StoneLock GM discusses privacy features in biometric property technology as market heats up

The market for face biometrics as part of “property technology” or “proptech” is heating up, with new solutions, deployments, and of course, the controversy that seems to follow any use of facial recognition outside of smartphones.

Yanik Brunet, general manager of StoneLock, tells Biometric Update in an email that most properties are currently vulnerable to hacks like counterfeiting and credential sharing, and deploying new technologies can make access more convenient for residents, as well as more secure. The company launched a new enterprise product based on infrared image capturing and matching in August, providing biometric recognition technology StoneLock refers to as “faceless.”

Not everyone is convinced of the benefits, however, as the new Anti-Eviction Mapping Project from the AI Now Institute allows tenants to identify their buildings as using “proptech,” and what kind of technology is in use.

Business Insider reports that proptech is made up of technology for surveillance and technology for “speculation,” but those categorizations are not universally accepted.

When asked about concerns around entrenched biases or increased power imbalances, Brunet answers, “StoneLock is not a surveillance system — it provides secure and opt-in authentication of users for access control with the use of privacy-hardened facial recognition technology that does not discern between gender, race, age or ethnicity.”

“The StoneLock GO’s proprietary algorithm replaces an enrolled user’s face with a mathematical representation and does not store photos or videos of its users,” he continues. “Consequently, its ‘faceless’ recognition ushers in a new era of accuracy, reliability and trust as it protects user privacy.”

Brunet says StoneLock Go does not “see” age, race or gender, and user attributes have no effect on the technology’s ability to verify them.

A glance at the map shows the use of GateGuard cameras with facial recognition at a property in Manhattan, as one of 13 documented applications of facial recognition at residential buildings in the U.S. The map also shows locations with keyless entry, smart meters, phone apps and lock boxes.

The proptech market is continuing to expand in terms of solutions available, as Amazon has launched a new service for property managers to allow them to deploy Alexa services throughout a property without individual residents subscribing, TechCrunch writes.

Alexa for Residential allows property managers to create custom Alexa skills for each unit, enables residents to make maintenance requests and reserve amenities, and provides a rent-payment service. Residents with their own accounts can link building systems to their own Echo device to take advantage of other Alexa features.

The residential service deletes voice recordings each day, and property managers have no access to personal data. Smart home integrators Iotas, Stratis and Sentient Property Services will be among the first to offer the service.

Amazon partnered with Zego, now a PayLease subsidiary, to launch Alexa services to 30,000 apartments in 2018, according to TechCrunch.

The publication notes that the National Apartment Association says 84 percent of renters would like an apartment with smart home amenities, and 61 percent would pay a monthly fee for a digital voice assistant, though that was before the economic wrecking-ball of COVID-19.

Asked about competition from tech giants like Amazon, Brunet is confidant in his company’s solutions.

“StoneLock GO is the leading ‘faceless’ biometric solution for the post COVID-19 economy providing easy to use touchless authentication of users, that seamlessly integrates with leading access control providers,” he writes. “StoneLock is purpose built for access control and protects user privacy.”

Smart building deployments supporting facial recognition announced

A long-term agreement to build a “Digital Community” with facial recognition security systems has been signed by GigNet and residential community Puerto Adventures, according to a company announcement. TrueFace will provide the facial biometrics capability.

The project will also include high definition television services and high-speed internet access, in a deployment the companies say is the first of its kind in the Mexican Caribbean.

“Trueface is excited to partner with GigNet to deliver a higher degree of security and safety to Puerto Aventuras by enabling contactless people access control through facial recognition,” said Trueface Founder and CEO Shaun Moore.

Biometric facial recognition is also supported by the new smart tower from Vorboss which was recently installed at a London property.

Vorboss was contracted by AXA IM – Real Assets to deliver 100Gbps connectivity for the 62-story building at 22 Bishopsgate, which supports facial recognition, environmental sensors, and advanced energy usage analytics.

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