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Anonybit introduces decentralized multi-modal biometrics with Armatura partnership

Palm recognition integration targets access control, payments markets
Anonybit introduces decentralized multi-modal biometrics with Armatura partnership

Palm biometrics are now available on Anonybit’s infrastructure platform through a strategic partnership with Armatura. The addition of palm recognition gives Anonybit decentralized multi-modal biometric capabilities.

Atlanta-based Armatura is a biometric algorithm developer specializing in face and touchless palm recognition and is also affiliated with ZKTeco. IPVM has reported that Armatura is an overseas holding subsidiary of ZKTeco’s investment arm.

Legacy multi-modal automated biometrics identification systems are all based on honeypots of sensitive personal data, Anonybit Co-founder and CEO Frances Zelazny tells Biometric Update, while the distributed storage and processing of biometric data makes Anonybit’s platform privacy-preserving by design and default. Enabling biometrics providers to offer privacy by design has been central to Anonybit’s vision since its foundation, according to Zelazny.

“It was for this reason that we did not develop our own algorithms,” she explains. “Because we didn’t want the industry to feel like we were competing with them, but rather enabling them.”

Anonybit’s commercial approach is also based on the model of enabling algorithm developers. Customers can get access to Anonybit infrastructure through its partners, or to its partners’ technology through Anonybit.

“They can call us or our partners: All of our relationships are bi-directional,” Zelazny says.

The company is up to six third-party providers facial recognition algorithms integrated with its platform, and palm begins its expansion into other modalities.

“This development aligns very neatly with all of the trends that are going on around biometric payment and next-generation access control systems,” Zelazny says. “We hope to usher in the next wave of biometric adoption with privacy at the core. Privacy has always been the Achilles’ heel of biometrics adoption.”

The timing is right, with biometrics “stakeholders revamping, rethinking and creating new biometric systems.”

Other modalities are coming to Anonybit. In the meantime, Zelazny says the capabilities of a multi-modal decentralized ABIS for small and large-scale deployments are here now.

Palm biometrics are hot right now, with major players investing heavily. Zelazny notes that their applications can only scale by storing templates in the cloud, but this introduces the familiar risk of honey-pots.

“As the leading global provider of palm biometric readers, we are witnessing growing demand from customers concerned about how to better secure the biometric data as it moves from the edge into the cloud to support multi-faceted deployments at scale,” says Manish Dalal, President of Armatura USA, in the announcement. “After thorough evaluation, we are confident Anonybit’s approach provides the market with the data protection assurances it needs.”

Anonybit’s move to multiple modalities follows the recent update of its Decentralized Data Vault, and a move from 1:1 to 1:N biometrics in 2022.

Expectations are converging

Biometric physical access control has been employee-oriented in the past, but Zelazny believes that is changing, with deployments at large entertainment venues and airports as two good examples of fast-growing biometric applications requiring massive scale.

Thousands of templates can be put on a single palm reader, in theory, but would need to be available at each touchpoint. Further, Zelazny points out that biometrics adoption is becoming more holistic, with logical and physical access control merging, for example.

“It could be within a specific flow, like digital onboarding, digital authentication, but it could also be online, in the branch, at the call center, in the chatbot, across different channels. And that means that if you’re going to have stuff on the consumer side, then on the employee side it’s the same thing. You’re going to go through the door and you’re going to log on. So that means you need a single authentication system.”

Employees are also starting to act more like consumers in some ways, Zelazny notes, like using shared workspaces or working from multiple locations.

The first deployment of Armatura’s palm biometrics on Anonybit’s decentralized infrastructure is expected to be a combined physical and logical access control system for enterprise employees.

Similarly in payments, retailers usually want to sell in both physical and digital channels. Palm is emerging as a modality of choice for in-person retail, while face remains the most popular for remote digital transactions, but the retailer needs to know that it’s the same customer, for instance for loyalty programs.

“Everybody wants seamless CX (customer experience), so we’re seeing similar trends whether its consumers or employees, payments or access.” Expectations are converging.

The partnership could also have implications for other verticals, like healthcare, where Zelazny points out that palm is already established in many places.

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