Iris ID at IFSEC 2022: exploring new multimodal biometrics applications
The Vice President of Global Sales and Business Development at Iris ID, Mohammed Murad, discussed the company’s partnership with Paychex, the firm’s move towards multimodal biometric applications and its global expansion plans in an interview with Biometric Update at IFSEC 2022 in London.
“Our focus is identity authentication, which means it can basically fit in any vertical space, so we support access control,” says Murad at the security event, explaining that the firm has partners that are major access control providers, who use the company’s biometric technology to enhance enterprise logical or physical security.
“Then we have our technology implemented or integrated into workforce management, which is time and attendance that also is a very, very broad adaptability in different enterprises and organizations.”
The Paychex partnership
Paychex has been Iris ID’s partner for almost five years. However, it was only at the beginning of 2021 that Iris ID started developing the biometric technology that was recently integrated into Paychex’s ‘Iris Time Clock’.
“About a year and a half ago when we launched our new product line, our focus […] was to be able to build […] an ecosystem of applications around it.”
The product is essentially designed to replace a standard Android tablet with one with biometric capabilities, thus allowing independent software vendors (ISVs) to build applications using Iris ID tech and run them on the device.
“That’s what Paychex is very excited about,” Murad explains. “Now they can take their entire human resource management application and pour most of the [user-facing] components […] onto the device. So the user no longer has to go to the HR office to find out how many vacation hours they have left, etc, etc. […] It becomes an information center along with an identity authentication product.”
By building a device that allows the third-party vendors to be able to create specific applications, Murad believes Iris ID can change some market dynamics.
“What we’re doing is we’re not only giving you very strong authentication, we’re giving you the ability to be able to customize it to the needs of the customer.
“We’re very excited and we’re looking for other partners. There are many partners that are building applications that will be available in the market soon.”
These applications, Murad says, will all focus on HR (human resource) management.
A global expansion
“We believe that biometric businesses and iris businesses are mature and it’s time for us to think locally. So that’s why we are starting to place regional managers in their [respective] territory. So we can have a direct connection with customers.”
Murad says Iris ID has regional managers in the UAE, in Malaysia to cover Asia Pacific, in South Korea to cover China, and in the U.S., which handles Europe and Africa.
“We do see in the coming future that we will be expanding, and that’s part of the business as the technology adoption grows, we will need to add more people.”
Exploring multimodal biometric applications
When asked about the technical aspects of Iris ID’s biometric applications, Murad says the company is always looking for new avenues for iris recognition technology.
The executive mentions the recent IREX 10 test conducted by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in September 2021 and claims Iris ID’s algorithms were among the best-performing for several reasons.
“One is the size of the template, the speed of searching, the speed of creation of the template. Also, being able to recognize twins. So within all the people and companies who submitted algorithms, we did very well in that whole group.”
From an application perspective, Murad says Iris ID recognizes that multimodal biometric applications can be beneficial for the company.
“As we all know, facial recognition is required [today] and has been talked about around the world, so we have combined […] the ability to capture iris and face simultaneously.”
This technology is already integrated into the device Paychex is using.
“We also have a new device here that we call the Iris Bar. It is designed to be integrated into kiosks [and can] capture iris and face at the same time.”
Murad says Iris ID has been working tirelessly over the last 18 months to adapt its face biometrics algorithms to masks, as they present substantial challenges for facial recognition technology, at least on its own.
“By combining both iris and face, we make sure that you don’t have to take off your mask and you’ll be able to identify an individual in a fairly large population [via iris biometrics].”
The future of Iris ID
Moving forward, Murad says Iris ID will aim to use multimodal biometrics and capture from a distance in all its applications.
“It is what I call the convenience factor,” the executive explains. “A lot of customers from an education perspective are very comfortable with face, and iris is new so what we are saying is ‘hey we can give you face and then you can use iris’ and by combining those modalities you are basically taking your identity authentication to the highest level.”
The Iris Bar is already commercially available, with Murad saying the company has some customers who are putting them in their first proof of concepts (POCs).
Murad concludes the interview with some thoughts about IFSEC, as the first major in-person security event in Europe since the pandemic began.
“We’re excited to be out here and talk to people face to face and to [showcase] our new innovative technologies in the identity and authentication business.
“I believe iris recognition has a good fit in many vertical markets and we see the adoption rates growing so it’s an exciting time for us.”