Face recognition agent floats ASP idea

The leasing of biometric recognition capability for retailers and apartment security through an ASP is an idea being considered by Wellington's ITB Solutions, agent for the Imagis face-recognition software.

The leasing of biometric recognition capability for retailers and apartment security through an ASP is an idea being considered by Wellington’s ITB Solutions, agent for the Imagis face-recognition software.

Like any application service provider solution, ITB’s claim is that it would provide an economical implementation to small businesses, which would only have to install front-line cameras and avoid the expense and maintenance cost of a back-end computer platform and database of suspicious faces.

It’s just an idea at this stage, says ITB chief Alan Osborne. The company still has to work up a business plan, but has already spoken to a couple of large retailers on the subject, he says.

The ASP solution might appeal in the biometrics environment, where technology implementation depends crucially on perceived return on investment. The judgement is whether the expense of the equipment and processes surrounding it match the amount of fraud that would be deterred by verifying the legitimate owner of a credit card or spotting regular shoplifters as they enter the store.

If a lot of jewellery stores were getting hit with theft and fraud, face recognition would sell well, says visiting Imagis sales vice-president Richard Karusiak; better than if the crimes were occurring chiefly in supermarkets.

He describes the advance shoplifter detection as “a kind of reverse loyalty scheme”, which would enable the store to refuse service to such people and escort them out of the store.

NZ Customs is the most prominent New Zealand organisation studying the utility of biometric recognition, and using the Imagis technology to do so (see Customs faces up to new border technology).

Karusiak emphasises the need to “partner with people who can bring us domain knowledge”, both of the way certain kinds of businesses operate and their specific biometric requirements, and of technology that can interface with the biometric capability.

Selling the service is “not just a question of installing a facial recognition capability, but of the total solution required by the user”, says Sydney-based Imagis regional vice-president Roger Henning.

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