When biometrics emerged in the security market, analysts thought that every door on the planet was going to have a biometric reader installed. As Shiraz Kapadia – Founder, CEO & President of Invixium – explained to Security Journal Americas, many companies jumped the gun and were perhaps a little too optimistic.
“There were a lot of issues about acceptance,” he explained. “The education just wasn’t there and there was a complete underestimation of privacy issues, so it quickly became an industry that was too ahead of itself.”
In Kapadia’s eyes, from 2000 to 2010, there was a significant focus on getting biometrics technology into the market and productizing it. This resulted in people trying to do things their own way, leading to a lack of standardization that caused too many siloed systems. “People were trying to figure out whether a biometric solution was a security product or a convenience product. Ultimately, they needed to be asking another question: Whether biometrics is a consumer product or business product with a viable value proposition.”
In 2012, Kapadia saw an opportunity to reinvent a go-to-market strategy for biometric solutions to match the ever-evolving security landscape. Apple and Android devices that incorporated biometrics were beginning to flood the market, driving widespread acceptance of the technology and causing the emergence of practical applications via open-platform software solutions. He continued: “It was time to breathe some fresh air into the antiquated physical security industry with highly stylized and functional biometric solutions.”
“When Invixium was born, we wanted to focus on the simple things. Instead of trying to cram every feature into our devices, we focused on adoption, design and simplicity. We wanted to create biometric solutions that looked good and performed where customers needed to use this technology most – in outdoor and other similarly demanding settings. The truth of the matter is that people adopt technology solutions more easily if the product is as attractive as it is functional. We also acknowledged the need for our solutions to offer multiple biometric modalities to fit the various preferences and needs of different users and different applications.
“Another thing we said from the outset was that we were not going to try to do everything ourselves. We said, you know what, we’re going to have beautiful products. We’re going to make them feature-rich. We’re going to create different biometric units for different applications and we are going to integrate with multiple platforms so that we can become part of a global solution.”
This was a risk that Kapadia and his budding brand, Invixium, took at the time, but the bold move paid off. In fact, after 2012, the company became bigger and started living up to its promise, providing elegant and reliable solutions to solve real-world problems.
Establishing effective infrastructure
For over two decades, biometrics have been the only way to authenticate who you say you are. Cards and other types of physical credentials are something you carry. A password is something that you know – however, everybody knows that there are vulnerabilities to these types of solutions.
“As humans, we are pretty complacent until something bad happens,” said Kapadia. “Sadly, tragedies are usually the catalyst that drives people to recognize the need for more effective security solutions. Today, though nobody questions the value of biometrics, the fundamental question remains: Why isn’t every door on the planet outfitted with a biometric solution?
“Let’s say you are running a business with 200 employees in a facility with 30 doors. Implementing biometrics at this location is not always straightforward and can be quite a challenge for small-to-medium business (SMB) owners. Especially as biometrics were first breaking into the market, there was a lack of knowledge, privacy concerns and cost barriers that made many companies retreat to the comfort of known security options like security guards. But deployments began to grow and perception of the technology greatly improved when biometrics broke into the mainstream.
“I want to take this moment to thank Apple. They put the fingerprint sensor onto the iPhone and made biometrics a recognizable and accepted technology almost overnight. The concerns swirling around biometric privacy dissipated because they explained the solution. This message coming from a company like Apple with tremendous brand equity was a major inspiration for us and instantly changed the opinion of end-users on the viability of biometrics. It also gave us the confidence to further focus on elegantly designed solutions that were simple to interact with and easy to install in all types of locations.
“We are not loyal to any one biometric. Our portfolio includes three different biometric technologies (face, fingerprint and vascular) and they all have their own applications. We are one of the fastest-paced companies from an innovation perspective and we speak with customers to give guidance on which technology is best suited for their application.”
Products meeting requirements, in every environment
“In many situations, biometric products are yet to be deployed in places where they are most needed. For example, office environments don’t need biometrics to function. Authentication is more needed in industrial settings with larger workforces, including healthcare, corporate and higher education campuses, manufacturing, logistics and mining applications. These locations have a high demand for effective workforce management and security. High security locations are also ideal for advanced biometric systems. Places like oil & gas refineries, construction sites, data centers, pharma labs and government installations greatly benefit from the added security biometrics bring.”
This is where Invixium shines and, as Kapadia proudly put it: “Invixium products have elegance and beauty, but also the robustness of the beast.” The balance between aesthetics and functionality is a differentiating factor between Invixium and the majority of its competitors in the space.
“You can put them indoors, you can put them outdoors, you can put them under an overhang, you can put them on turnstiles, you can put them on barriers and they will look great and work equally well in every setting. Customers want products to be robust and we ensure that our biometric products, including our fingerprint, face, and finger vein recognition devices, are all IP certified to perform as expected.”
“Our flagship product, IXM TITAN, is the most expensive biometric product on the planet and I take a lot of pride in saying that. Why? Because it’s a product with no disclaimers and no drawbacks. It will work anywhere. It’s one of the most thoughtfully designed products on the market and packs so much power with room to scale.”
Kapadia explained to SJA that the team had intentionally over-engineered TITAN because it wanted the product to be future-proof for years to come. When the pandemic hit, this approach paid off. People were concerned about spreading germs through shared surfaces and touchless biometrics, like face recognition, experienced dramatic growth overnight. “We responded very quickly to this new demand by adding temperature and mask detection to the already rich feature set of TITAN,” he added. “Both TITAN and the Invixium brand gained a lot of popularity as a result. People often confused the two and were trying to figure out which company created this innovative product. In many instances, we became known as TITAN, not Invixium!”
“Because of the success of TITAN, we had customers asking us to create a product with similar functionality that was more economical. So, we listened and released a new product called IXM TFACE. We now offer a full range of biometric products and sophisticated software solutions for access control, workforce management and visitor management that integrate with leading brands like LenelS2, Genetec, Honeywell, Siemens and Gallagher and can be affordable for any company’s budget. Every product we make adheres to our core values, built with the highest-quality technology and robustness without sacrificing aesthetic appeal. The Invixium portfolio has also proven itself through its versatility.
“The product that sits on a door or turnstile is, at the end of the day, a data capture device. We realized four or five years ago that data can become a business intelligence solution, so we started utilizing the data from our devices for workforce management. This is one of the biggest applications for biometrics today, as almost 8% of an employer’s total payroll gets lost in intentional or unintentional time theft.”
Another application that Invixium has started investing in is visitor management, as this allows businesses and organizations to better control who is walking their hallways every day. If organizations can prevent the wrong people from coming in by authenticating them properly, this would make sites more secure and efficient.
“The Middle East has been an extremely strong market for us and we continue to invest there. The Americas is also very good for us and we have invested in talent and resources for Latin America specifically. We go after all types of locations, but get the most demand from industrial sites. In rugged and potentially dangerous applications like this, safety is the biggest challenge and most customers are willing to invest money in technologies that are going to make their worksites more safe, secure and productive – our products fit right into this niche.”
In the last few years within the physical security industry, video surveillance has been the go-to technology for affordable and effective security. However, access control technology, more specifically biometrics, are changing this dynamic. Kapadia described this shift in more detail: “When you go to a trade show, a majority of the exhibitors are CCTV manufacturers. Let’s face it, CCTV is a good technology for certain applications, but it remains a reactive piece of equipment. When something bad happens, the best you can do is look at a recording of what happened after the fact.
“Access control is more about anticipating and preventing these types of threats before they ever happen. To create efficiency for customers and to ensure that threats can be dealt with swiftly, properly integrated access control solutions with biometrics present a truly proactive and preventive solution that also transcends conventional security applications to deliver business intelligence.”
The answer to the challenges of the future
“The bottom line is that change is constant and pace is the new innovation. Rather than overloading products with new features, the focus must be on solving real-life problems swiftly. Having a strong foundational solution based on biometric technology affords users the ability to best respond to changing needs and conditions.
“This will help ensure that organizations are future-proofed and in a better position to protect people, property and assets. With a deep commitment to our mission of creating scalable, innovative, robust and beautiful biometric solutions, I know that Invixium can continue to lead the market for years to come.”
For more information, visit: www.invixium.com
This article was originally published in the November edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.
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