Real-time facial recognition and remote biometrics combine in Idemia NSS’ ‘installation of the future’
At the United States Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Hunstville, Alabama, there is a three-mile backup of cars trying to get onto base every morning. The frustration and loss of time for people entering the base is matched by resources the Army must dedicate to sorting through the lengthy line of government personnel and contractors, but Idemia NSS (National Security Solutions) CEO Andrew Boyd tells Biometric Update in an interview that biometrics can help address the potential problems with the situation, which can be even more serious once personnel make it through the gates.
“And then I can go wherever I want to on the base, and no one tracks me,” he says. “I drive to wherever I want to go, I look at whatever I want to look at.”
Access control processes at different U.S. military bases and installations vary widely, as do the related security concerns. Typically, visitors without a PIV or CAC will visit a guardhouse or a visitor control environment, and as Boyd says, hopefully they have been identified by name or social security number by that point. From the main gate, the visitor is often directed to a certain building, where a wait of anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour can likely be expected.
At some bases, information will be typed directly into the system as provided verbally by the visitor, sometimes the visitor will have to fill out up to five pages of documents as part of the screening process. Like all manual processes, this can also lead to people being forgotten about, or lost along the way.
Once approved, visitors go to a certain building, knock on the door, and wait for someone to let them in.
All the various segmented parts of the journey make the process inefficient, and provide no tracking capability.
“Some of the more forward-leaning customers out of the air force, the army and the navy right now are starting to think about; ‘wait a minute, isn’t there a way to do frictionless entry?’” Boyd reports.
Idemia NSS recently won an OTA to provide the government with a different and disruptive solution, sponsored by the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX program. The company developed a suite of technologies, consisting of I2 Embedded, I2 Access, and I2 Verify, which overhaul the process, starting with remote registration that can be carried out from home, and work together to enable what Idemia NSS calls “the installation of the future.”
Not only does this streamline access control and permissions processes, it also gives base operators the capacity to identify the occupants of a car speeding into the base at 80mph with facial recognition. The frictionless biometric entrance capability also works with tracking on base, provides a way to let someone into a building without keeping them waiting out in the rain, and even access into digital environment.
Idemia NSS Senior Solutions Engineer Stanley Lagrenade demonstrated the ID document capture, automatic information-capturing, and selfie biometrics of the I2 Verify mobile enrollment app. By moving identification processes forward, traffic can also be directed in ways that avoid bottlenecks, such as by sending preregistered visitors through a fast lane. As they approach the base, vehicles and people are scanned with biometrics, thermal and infrared cameras from different angles.
Lagrenade also showed off the automatic license plate and facial recognition capabilities of the system from the company’s lab in Virginia, among the various systems that can replace legacy identification systems without requiring major changes to the base’s existing infrastructure.
“What we’ve done is essentially we’ve digitized that base,” Lagrenade tells Biometric Update.
That includes some special capabilities. “We do have a special polarized camera that will actually see through the window and pull images from both passenger and driver as well as occupants that are occupying the rear of the vehicle,” Lagrenade explains.
The algorithm is capable of identifying people based on partial face images, and Morphowave contactless hand biometrics can be added as a second biometric factor for extra security. The cameras also work in low-light, so provide same accuracy at night, according to the company, and monitoring guards receive automatic alerts, so they know when to open the gate, and when to initiate other responses.
In the case of a potential threat, part of the base can be locked down based on situational awareness and the edge biometric capabilities of the I2 Embedded technology.
“Edge embedded systems utilize the micromatcher component of MBSS (Multi Biometric Search Services), a lighter plugin that still allows the use of the matching algorithms,” explains Boyd. “With the micromatcher, we can watchlist up to 20k. In cases where it’s needed, we have the option to use remote MBSS. We can create templates off of the GPU and can get matches in as little as 60 milliseconds.”
“As we start to gather more information about potential bad actors, that information is communicated across the bases, further hardening your level of security, as well as continuing to build profile that will allow you to safely and securely run your base,” says Lagrenade.
The system also communicates with the broader base network, and in this way can be used for checks against larger databases.
“You can go out to a larger database that’s controlled by the FBI or DoD as well, but we have a highly responsive evaluation of whether or not that person’s friend or foe within the first ten feet, twenty feet of their drive,” Boyd explains.
The I2 Platform coordinates the real-time facial recognition and access control capabilities with entity or identity resolution, and the mobile app even includes an optional extension for a payment information page if wanted, to capture info for a tie-in to a facility snack bar for biometric payments.
“It’s comprehensive,” Boyd summarizes. “And you can further go in, and if you need to now enter the digital environment, you can go into the device with whatever your PIV is, with your face registered, and you can go into a device network and then cloud as well. So what we have is a solution that goes end-to-end, that takes you from the physical world into digital, back to physical and digital again. We’re trying to make it very easy and user-friendly to do that. And it sure beats sitting in the guard shack for an hour and wondering if they know who you are.”
Remote, advanced vetting and identity resolution, and layered biometrics on the base, connected to edge-enabled devices and the base’s network, allow individuals to be tracked around the premises, and utilize situational awareness to enhance security or initiate further action, such as an authentication challenge, or dispatching personnel, in real-time.
Base operators can choose among the security capabilities the I2 Platform provides based on the risks the base faces.
“It’s kind of like a menu where you get to choose what risk level you’re trying to mitigate,” Boyd says. The company takes a collaborative approach with customers to ensure the Installation of the Future capabilities selected are tailored for the security posture of each specific government installation, determining whether the customer’s priorities fall under the umbrellas of observation and identification or identification and access control.
The company is currently in talks with 3 air force bases, and having discussions with 1 army base and 1 marine corps base, they say, around what part of the architecture they are interested in, and the risks they want to harden their security against.
access management | authentication | biometric identification | biometrics | biometrics at the edge | digital identity | facial recognition | IDEMIA | Idemia NSS | identity verification | real-time biometrics | U.S. Army