Biometric startup sees surge in demand as security woes weigh
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Biometric startup sees surge in demand as security woes weigh

FST's technology uses a combination of facial recognition and behavioral and voice analytics for identification

FST Biometric's identification technology (Courtesy)
FST Biometric's identification technology (Courtesy)

The rise in terror attacks in Europe and elsewhere has generated a surge in interest in products that can keep areas safe from intruders.

“There is a rise in the need for security products because people realize they have to protect themselves in these kinds of situations,” said Arie Melamed, chief marketing officer of the Israeli startup FST Biometrics, which has also witnessed a rise in demand for its identification technology.

The biometric identification technology uses a combination of facial recognition and behavioral and voice analytics to identify personnel of enterprises or government buildings from a distance and in motion, doing away with keys, codes or ID cards.

FST’s system is based on prevention: it enables access only to those who are authorized to enter certain areas, freeing up security guards to focus their attention on the remaining people in the building who have to be checked.

“Why should you punish everyone with the checks?” Melamed said. “Why ask everyone at airports to come three hours earlier, for example, when you could be asking that only of people who are not frequent fliers, for example. We don’t have a magic wand for everything, but we can reduce the load on security people.”

Government institutions and enterprises globally in the financial, corporate, health and real estate sectors are already using the technology to secure access for their employees in a nonintrusive manner, Melamed said, and protecting security sensitive areas from intruders.

FST, whose founder and CEO is a former head of Israeli intelligence Aharon Farkash and which has former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak on its board, said earlier this month that its In Motion Identification (IMID) access system product makes more than 1.5 million identifications a month and has increased its customer base by 30 percent in the past year.

The company is also developing a mobile solution, Melamed said, and also one for situations in which there is no user cooperation — for example in airports, stadiums or malls, where, unlike in an office building, creating a database of all regular users is more complicated. “We have the technology; we are still deciding if that is the direction we want to company to go,” he said.

The applications of the technology don’t all have to be grim, however. In Holland, the ICER Innovation Center uses FST’s IMID technology to allow visitors, including King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, to gain personalized information about exhibits as they pass through interactive checkpoints.

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