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Paravision appoints biometrics industry leader Benji Hutchinson president and COO

Paravision appoints biometrics industry leader Benji Hutchinson president and COO

Just months after being named the head of NEC National Security Systems, noted biometrics industry expert Benji Hutchinson has joined Paravision as its new president and chief operating officer.

Hutchinson will be tasked with scaling Paravision to meet what it sees as growing demand for ethically trained and conscientiously sold artificial intelligence.

Tascent Co-founder Joey Pritikin joined Paravision in 2019, and in early-2021 Elizabeth M. Adams took the role of Paravision’s chief AI ethics advisor.

Asked about the influx of well-known biometrics veterans Paravision CEO Doug Aley told Biometric Update in an email: “This is a really exciting time for Paravision, and indeed a period of growth for the company. We’re fortunate to have built a world-class team and product that have made us a partner of choice for leading identity services and solutions providers around the world. Now, as we are seeing increasing market traction across a range of use cases, we are in a position to further invest in the team and product to better serve our partners.”

Paravision recently raised $23 million, and said at the time it planned to use the proceeds in part to build up its team.

In addition to experience with NEC, and previously Idemia, where he focused on national security accounts, Hutchinson currently chairs the Security Industry Association’s (SIA’s) Identity and Biometric Technical Advisory Board (IBTAB) and sits on the advisory board of Purdue University’s International Center for Biometric Research. He also brings experience to Paravision from service earlier in his career consulting for the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of State and intelligence community on biometric standards and identity technology.

Asked by Biometric Update if his appointment signals an intention on the part of Paravision to win more U.S. federal government business and large-scale deployments, Hutchinson affirmed an intention to grow the business across the public and private sectors, within the domestic U.S. market and internationally.

“We are proud of our national security customers, and at the same time a majority of our business lies in the commercial sector and global markets and we expect that to continue. Equally, while we are passionate about delivering world-class facial recognition technology in an ethical and responsible way, my appointment is also reflective of a vision that extends beyond facial recognition to other AI-powered computer vision capabilities,” Hutchinson elaborates.

“We are uniquely positioned as an American company, from Silicon Valley, focused on AI and computer vision to advance the state of the art around biometric technologies.  This fresh approach attracted me to the company.  Paravision is also committed to the responsible roll out of our technologies.  We take a proactive approach based on ethical principles on privacy, that every employee must sign and follow upon on-boarding.  We also follow a process to ensure we do not take on new business with customers who aim to misuse the technology.  We’re very proud of these core values.”

Paravision published a set of AI Principles around the same time as Adams’ appointment, as it endeavors to establish facial recognition leadership beyond technical capability.

“Our goal at Paravision is to be a global leader in facial recognition, computer vision, and related technologies,” Aley explained to Biometric Update. “And in this space, leadership means more than technical excellence, it means true action and thought leadership. With Benji and across our team, we see an opportunity and an imperative to lead in the ethical development and conscientious, appropriate use of facial recognition, AI, and computer vision technologies.”

Hutchinson identified removing friction from ever-more identity-related transactions as a strong trend in biometrics and AI going forward.

“We’ve seen a remarkable increase in the deployment of seamless or frictionless travel solutions, such as border management and aviation security,” he says. “The next logical progression of this trend in a post-COVID world will be in enterprise access control, and in the convergence of access control across physical and digital domains, in line with hybrid workplaces and the ‘new normal.’ This coming change is complementary to the remarkable growth of digital identity verification, which has been activated by a rapid shift to digital and distributed services and fueled by a massive amount of venture investment.”

“These business trends are being powered by the rapid evolution of key enabling technologies within AI, from core capabilities in machine learning to deployment approaches like Edge AI,” Hutchinson continues. “While on one hand these have the opportunity to deliver new levels of price-performance for biometric authentication in a wide variety of applications, they also reflect an ability to lead in AI and computer vision beyond facial recognition. It presents a very exciting opportunity to deliver new types of value to our partners and end users around the world.”

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