Tech Startup Investment —I have invested in a new company that is taking facial authentication to a whole new level. It has developed a proprietary state-of-the-art algorithm that can accurately identify individuals from afar or in motion in just 0.2 seconds that makes it the fastest recognition time in facial authentication technology. This type of technology will be critical to how offices reopen coming out of COVID-19.
In recent years, there has been a disturbing rise in security breaches that have forced organizations to find new solutions to keep information, assets, people, and facilities secure. Investing in authentication solutions is one of the most effective ways to keep people and data safe from these increasing threats. Creating a 21st century gateway into a building, O.Vision provides the best possible experience for visitors and employees alike. Through a simple mobile application that can process requests in just a few seconds, administrators, employees, and guests can register for entry into a building from the comfort of their own home or from the office. After a one-time registration process using O.Gate, O.Vision’s entry system, individuals are authenticated by sight.
O.Vision launched two years ago from the highly gifted team of Oleg Novikov and Daniel Sozonov, whom I met through my activities as a guest lecturer on entrepreneurship at my alma mater, University College London (UCL). O.Vision is presently focused on broad-scale testing and expansion, with installations in the U.S. and Europe.
When I first saw how this technology would forever change how we access buildings, I was captivated by the team’s global-minded vision. There are very few entrepreneurs that have been able to identify product market fit so fast, and I cheered their efforts at tackling so many markets at once., saying, “You have to come to America!” Twenty-something Daniel, with the passion of a young product guy, embraced the opportunity wholeheartedly.
The company has experienced rapid growth and has, since January, secured several landmark test sites possible, including one of New York City’s busiest airports and one of the most high-profile skyscrapers in Manhattan.
Busting Through the Coronavirus Barriers
While others might have been deterred by the restrictive factors inherent in a worldwide shutdown, these two have simply used it as a further catalyst to propel them forward.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, self-isolation requirements were a challenge for the innovators at O.Vision. They could not have imagined the worldwide cancellation of public gatherings or the large number of people who would begin to work from home on a full-time basis. Facial authentication is all about people moving, but with the pandemic, people started going nowhere fast. But this challenge didn’t deter the developers of O.Vision; on the contrary, it fueled their motivation to evolve and adapt to the new reality.
As we have seen in so many other industries, COVID-19 accelerates trends and creates opportunities for the world’s innovators to capitalize on the new needs of society.
This past spring, they introduced a new temperature sensor in their systems, which can automatically detect body temperature in under a second, allowing or denying access to entry.
This state-of-the-art algorithm includes some of the most advanced machine learning functionality built anywhere in the world and helps maintain a safe work environment rapidly and with zero contact, optimizing HR and security processes.
They have also recently adapted their facial authentication system to function even if individuals are wearing a mask. To prevent propagation of the virus, businesses must adapt to new technologies that foster contactless and seamless controls.
O.Vision has certainly risen to the challenge by continuing to innovate and acclimate to the changes.
Speed Makes It Actually Feasible to Mass Applications
O.Vision piqued my interest because of the wide-ranging ramifications of their high-speed facial authentication platform. It’s very rare that you find tech that can solve so many applications at once. Vungle was another such product, and I can see how O.Vision is going to unlock entire industries quickly.
The speed and accuracy of the company’s biometric software will undoubtedly be the catalyst that will propel security infrastructures into the future. Not only can this technology be employed in standard offices and building spaces, but it also has the potential for use in mass gatherings, allowing events to be seamlessly orchestrated thanks to a simple walk-through system that validates a person’s identity almost instantly.
This means that long line-ups and extensive security checks would be a thing of the past, making large gatherings safer, more efficient, and much more enjoyable. This system removes the black-market for ticket sales and offers potential to personalize the experience for the ticket holder.
Senior care facilities have security measures that may be adequate to keep unauthorized personnel from getting past a receptionist, but by having facility personnel use the old-fashioned manner of “badging in” with a passkey or phone, back door access is highly vulnerable to misuse. This changes all that.
A Booming Market Forecast
According to Valuates Reports, the global facial recognition market is developing and expanding at a meteoric rate. With a value of $3.54 billion in 2019, this market is expected to flourish even more, reaching a whopping $9.99 billion by 2025, with a notable CAGR of 18.84%.
With a substantial increase in cyber-attacks and identity theft, the need to implement complex security and safety solutions is greater than ever, thus contributing to the market’s continued growth in the near future. Governments and businesses are also investing heavily in security and surveillance due to a recent upsurge in criminal activity in many areas of APAC. In light of the current climate, Asia Pacific will likely fuel the largest market share in developing economies such as China, Japan, India, and South Korea.
A Disruptor Many Times Over
I love investing in companies that have the potential to be a disruptive force in a whole myriad of industries, such as health care, education, hospitality, health and fitness, sport, and music. A medicine cabinet in that same senior care facility would no longer need a lock and key.
From concerts to university events, this technology is the go-to for any event that requires rapid access controls. Without the need for access cards, passes, tickets, and keys, lengthy registration times would be eliminated, allowing seamless entry into conferences, tournaments, trade shows, and even election polls.
Going even further, facial authentication could be used to process payments in stores as well as gain access to public transport, all with zero contact and the freedom to make transactions without carrying a wallet or dealing with the hassles of an uncharged smartphone.
Using this type of technology for retail payments could usher in a whole new level of data-gathering, as it would allow the introduction of a retail analytics data platform. The future technology of mood recognition matures with demographic recognition and can give retailers valuable anonymized insights about their customers.
How Does It Work?
The O.Vision system has four main processes that optimize operations with the O.Gate application:
- The system camera finds the nearest person from a distance of up to two meters.
- An anti-spoofing system can distinguish between a real person and a forged entry attempt with a photograph.
- The processor identifies individuals from within the database.
- A positive signal triggers the turnstile or door to open.
The entire system is so efficient that the process becomes virtually invisible and does not interfere with day-to-day tasks for those with registered access. Designed with speed and comfort in mind, the O.Vision control barriers fade into the background while providing utmost security, making life easier, safer, and more convenient.
2D is much faster than 3D technology and therefore represents the future of facial recognition. Because of many factors, 3D will become outdated, and O.Vision technology has the potential to skyrocket.
Because of these innovations in 2D facial recognition technology, registration can now be done on any device with 2D, easily and quickly, whereas 3D technology requires special devices and kiosks to use for registration.Easy one-step registration for events and visitor management are not available with the 3D technology.
Additionally, one cannot train a model to be as accurate using 3D because of the difficulty in getting enough training data. The highly-specialized nature of 3D technology makes it cumbersome and slow. With O.Vision’s advances in 2D technology, lighting and pose problems have been mostly solved (just as pose estimation technology is being used in autonomous vehicle technology).
I also find it impressive that O.Vision offers services that incorporate office solutions, allowing companies to gain insights into their employees. Because the system can create a detailed record of an employee’s comings and goings, and because it isn’t fooled by forged entry materials such as standard keycards, an employee’s working hours, absences, and lateness can all be accurately recorded and analyzed.
Last, but not least, I need to mention a fascinating and important aspect of O.Vision. Nowadays, many people are concerned about their privacy and personal freedoms, which they believe may be compromised by biometric identification; however, O.Vision’s database is both encrypted and impersonal, which means that if anyone happens to gain unauthorized access, it will be impossible for them to learn anything from the breach. The O.Vision system is an edge device, and so all information is processed locally. There is no recognition happening in the cloud, and the system can even work offline (very similar to the principle Apple uses for FaceID). For enterprises, information is stored locally on their access control system. O.Vision never touches it and can easily integrate within a company’s internal systems.