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ITL’s Alerts App expands biometric portfolio to integrated venue management

ITL’s Alerts App expands biometric portfolio to integrated venue management

Businesses from every sector all face access control challenges to ensure the security and safety of their staff and customers. This challenge is undoubtedly made more complex when businesses provide access to age-restricted products, services or venues. From protecting minors entering an age restricted gaming area at a service station or amusement arcade, to helping problem gamblers in their fight to gamble responsibly, organizations need the right tools and technology to ensure a sophisticated and secure venue management strategy.

The suite of biometric devices developed by Innovative Technology (ITL) are providing businesses that are faced with these challenges with the sophisticated tools they need to set and enforce rules appropriate to their particular needs. Once in place, those tools can improve customer experiences and staff efficiency, while addressing difficult compliance requirements like those that go along with age-restricted goods or services.

ITL Product Manager, Dr. Andrew O’Brien tells Biometric Update in an interview that the launch of the company’s free Alerts App brings together the capabilities of the various kinds of touchpoints in its portfolio, putting notifications, information and remote management capabilities in the hands of shop or venue staff.

Completing the business ecosystem

ITL has had early success with deployments of its ICU Lite device which uses facial analysis for age estimation. It delivers its AI-powered biometric capabilities through integration with a USB camera, and is marketed to manufacturers of systems like self-checkout terminals, vending machines and betting kiosks.

Powered by the ICU Lite technology, MyCheckr and MyCheckr Mini are standalone versions requiring no integration and are ideal for manned checkouts and gaming venues to assist staff with the age check process as well as access control.  Initial successes for ITL include deployments at convenience stores and larger supermarkets selling alcohol and tobacco, at vape shops and gambling facilities.

The introduction of ITL’s Alerts App completes the solution ecosystem by bringing together information from each ITL device deployed to the various touchpoints across a store, warehouse, office, public venue or any other facility.  The Alert App can be installed on a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet, and allows instant communication and management of all connected Biometric devices.

O’Brien gives the example of a casino, with a MyCheckr at the entrance. “This would clearly pick up anyone who’s underage or self-excluded. You could also have an ICU Lite in the gaming machines, which also talks to the Alerts App. Or you could even add a MyCheckr or MyCheckr Mini at the redemption point. Plus, alerts usage is free with any of our biometric devices!”

Instant alerts pushed to the app through the local area network enable venue or security staff to respond immediately to any attempted unauthorized entry, purchase or play as soon as they are detected at an ITL-enabled touchpoint.

Alerts App features

The new Alerts App informs staff of any pending age approval requests, and also allows staff to approve or deny access remotely via the app which can be accessed on a tablet or mobile device. If a staff member needs to check ID, the app clearly indicates which location the approval is pending.

The Alerts App’s feature of forwarding pending age approval requests to staff contributes to a key psychological function of the MyCheckr solution, O’Brien explains. Automated judgements that age must be checked reduce the likelihood that an interaction will become confrontational, as the staff person is reacting to a direction that the customer also receives a visual cue of, in the form of the red light indicating the system estimates they are below the age appearance that requires an age challenge.

O’Brien also describes a scenario in which alerts sent to a security officer’s or manager’s office allow them to grant approval and open the door remotely.

No personal data is transmitted and QR codes are supported as an alternative method of entry, ensuring compliance with regulations like GDPR, but the Alerts App’s function as a data-sharing hub enables effective and efficient identity and access management and planning – all with customer and staff privacy assured, O’Brien says.

A manager of a large facility using the Alerts App can cut down on unnecessary alerts by registering any young-looking staff members so that they can pass through access points without triggering an age challenge, and by adding people whose ID has already been checked on a temporary basis, such as for 24 hours, he explains.

Further, all activity is logged, allowing staff to share evidence of the age checks performed during compliance audits.

The app is offered as a free download for Windows and Android devices.

Diverse applications and market footholds

O’Brien says ITL is finding early traction for the Alerts App with operators of casinos, holiday parks – popular family vacation spots that often include age-restricted areas — and motorway service stations with gaming areas. Stores using ITL’s technology for age estimation can also track customer analytics to get an anonymized profile of their customer base.

As governments around the world, and in the UK especially, consider how to curb the risks of widespread gambling availability, this sector is particularly promising for ITL.

“The recent UK Gambling Commission announcement tightening age verification in premises is going to light a fire under the gaming community. New elements of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) will come into effect on 30 August 2024, so the need for age check technology will undoubtedly surge.  These include the requirement for gambling land-based licensees to carry out age verification test purchasing, and have procedures in place to check the age of any customer who appears under 25, rather than 21.  We know all retailers want to prevent underage access but this a complex task.  We can assist by providing a tool which is dependable, accurate and automatically logs all interactions.”

A test of ITL’s technology for access control using the Alert App is currently being run at a holiday park in the UK to help prevent underage people entering the AGC area and to stop minors purchasing bingo books.  Other settings such as vape stores are also trialing the Alerts App and highlighting the paperless, automatic audit trail as a key benefit.

The company is also reaching more customers on the continent. A trial is starting in Italy to restrict underage access to adult shops, and further tests at various retail outlets such as tobacco agents in other EU countries are also underway.

ITL has also been making inroads in North America, proactively taking legal advice on the most stringent state laws to ensure its biometric range is compliant with privacy legislation.

As the rollout expands, O’Brien notes the difficult position many businesses find themselves in, and ITL’s ability to quickly help: “With MyCheckr you plug it in, that’s it. You don’t have any integration. Connect it to your Wi-Fi, link alerts, and you’ve got a full solution. It’s available now, it’s being used now. Regulators will rightly continue to protect consumers, we can provide the tools and technology to perform this increasingly complex yet vital task.”

To find out more visit: https://intelligent-identification.com/alerts-app

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