Alcatraz AI to debut biometric solution at ISC West

First-time exhibitor specializes in facial authentication for access control
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Monday, April 1, 2019

PALO ALTO, Calif.—Alcatraz AI, a startup based here with a team coming from Apple, NVIDIA and Lily Robotics, and venture-backing from JCI Ventures, is currently doing pilots with mid-size and large corporations in Silicon Valley. The company specializes in secure facial authentication for physical access control, replacing badging in the workplace with AI-based enrollment and anti-tailgating alerts.

“We started the company three years ago, having worked at Apple on the facial authentication technology for use on iPhones,” Alcatraz AI CEO and Founder Vince Gaydarzhiev told Security Systems News. “And we spun off Alcatraz with the hopes of creating completely frictionless access control for enterprise. So instead of people using badges, they just use their face to get in, but there is still security — the transaction between the face and the sensor is trusted — and something along the lines of a false acceptance rate of 1 in a million.”

Gaydarzhiev explained that at Apple, with all of the different security and clearance levels at the company, there was an inordinate number of different security guards badging people in at all of the different areas, so “we decided to create technology using machine learning and computer vision to hopefully fix this problem,” he said.

The company is using artificial intelligence and machine learning, he pointed out, to simplify the enrollment process and make it as seamless and painless as possible.

“It is very difficult for companies to enroll people,” he noted. “Imagine Google, with 30,000 to 40,000 employees, trying to onboard all of their people to now use biometric access — it would be very difficult. So it is very hard to switch to a new standard, on the go.”

Gaydarzhiev said that Alacatraz AI solves this dilemma by allowing employees to continue to use their badge as the new facial recognition system learns their face and creates a biometric profile.

“So we take a 3D color scan of their face every time they badge in,” he explained. “Once we have enough facial information to create a biometric profile, maybe a few days at most, the next time the employee shows up, as they approach the door it will recognize the person and open the door without the need to badge in.”

In addition to this being a big cost-saver for companies, he noted that a company could still have and use the badge for two-factor authentication or to meet compliance requirements, which is the case in government and military facilities.

“We use AI for the enrollment procedure, and then we continuously improve the profile each time you present yourself, as a person’s face and look is constantly changing and evolving — different glasses, hair types, different angles, speeds — so the system is constantly adding to the biometric profile,” he said, noting that AI is also used to combat tailgaiting.

“We use AI to predict tailgating and to either alert security that the tailgating is taking place or recognize in advance and not even open the door,” he said. “So we are creating awareness, preventing and alerting using AI.”

Alcatraz will be in booth 17121 at ISC West in Las Vegas next week.