Stanley keeps an eye on access control

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03/27/2013

Stanley Security Solutions believes iris recognition technology is going to be the next big thing in access control.

On Tuesday, it announced a new partnership with iris biometric provider Eyelock (previously Hoyos). Two years ago Stanely CSS announced a partnership with Hoyos. Here's that story.

I spoke to Stanley CSS’s John Nemorofsky who explained the difference between the partnership of two years ago and today’s announcement. Two years ago, the announcement was Stanley CSS becoming the exclusive dealer for Hoyos. Now, Stanley Security Solutions, the manufacturing arm of Stanley, is adding EyeLock to its security solutions. So, Stanley CSS will install the technology, but other integrators may install it as well through Stanley Security Solutions’ new Eyelock Certified Dealer Program.

Stanley has two dedicated teams to sell EyeLock, internally through the Stanely CSS business and worldwide. It is also working to integrate EyeLock with other access control solutions.

Hoyos was based in Puerto Rico. Its corporate office and R&D were moved to New York City when it underwent a management change and became EyeLock, Nemorofsky explained. Its operations and support are still currently in Puerto Rico, but Stanley plans to “run it through our product and manufacturing to take cost out and also to make the product even better and stronger and [more a part of the] product roadmap.”

The benefits of the EyeLock include: easy installation, simple to enroll users, easy to use, and it’s reliable because of the uniqueness of the iris.
Just about “anywhere you can use a card reader, you can use a Nano (the name of a compact EyeLock reader),” Nemorofsky said.

The main hurdle to adoption, Nemorovsky said, is misunderstandings about the technology. People need to understand the “iris reader is a camera, not a retina reader or some type of laser, ” he said.

I also spoke to Blaine Fredericks, Stanley Security Solutions global biometrics solutions leader, about EyeLock.  

Fredericks said that Stanley has installed the technology—which has some new, smaller form factors—in commercial applications where iris biometrics are not typically installed. He said Stanley believes that EyeLock is poised to become the access-control identity authentication solution of choice for the commercial space in the future.

“Typically [iris-based identity authentication] is pigeon-holed as a [solution for] banking or data centers, for very high-security areas,” he said. “We see this being used in a much broader sense [with] the ability to make our day-to-day lives easier.” He says it can be used to track kids getting on and off of school buses, to provide access to office doors and “to enable access to an ATM in the future.”

Unlike a card or other credential, it cannot be lost or shared. Hygiene is not a concern, like it is with fingerprint or hand geometry biometrics. And “next to DNA, it’s the most unique biometric,” he said. “The iris is formed randomly rather than being tied to the genetic code … So your right eye is different from your left, the irises of identical twins are different; and if you were to be cloned the [clone's] irises would be different  [from yours].” Irises also does not change as you age, he said.

Among Stanley's EyeLock installations are a large financial institution in the Southeast where it’s installed on turnstiles in the lobby and provides access control for employees.  I asked Fredericks if the iris readers on the turnstiles could tell the elevators which floors those employees worked on. He said it’s not currently set up to do that but “directed dispatch is a realistic possibility.”

Look for a follow-up story on the Stanely Eyelock deal.