Unisys taps Burlington firm for facial recognition

A Canadian biometric company has signed another partner and raked up a contract win south of the border.

Burlington, Ont.-based AcSys Biometrics Corp. Tuesday said it will provide engineering support and technology

to Unisys Corp. AcSys specializes in facial recognition technology.

Ed Schaffner, director of positive identification and access control solutions for Unisys, said it was introduced to the company through the United States Department of Defense, which was already using AcSys products. While this isn’t an exclusive agreement, he said the AcSys Facial Recognition System is unique.

“”Their technology is significantly different from others in that they don’t rely on just a feature analysis or comparing it to templates, but really use the neural-net technology and use many pictures of an individual’s head,”” Schaffner said.

AcSys spokesperson Darlene Marks called it biomimetic technology, so named because it mimics the analytic processes of the human mind. According to the company, it can recognize up to four people at a time and, thanks to artificial intelligence features, it can accommodate aging and other cosmetic differences.

Schaffner said this flexibility is key, and other customers seem to agree. AcSys will be part of the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command’s project for a biometric tracking system for the Consolidated Naval Brig in Charleston, S.C. and is being incorporated in airport security in the U.S.

Despite contract wins with significant defence players in the U.S., it has yet to find a Canadian customer. Marks said it is talks with the federal government, though its marketing focus to date hasn’t been in Canada.

“”They’re a lot more focused on this kind of technology, these kinds of security issues. We actually started our thrust of our marketing in the U.S. The market clearly was better than it was here at that time,”” Marks said.

While it has yet to take Canada by storm, Schaffner said the biometric market is only coming into its own.

“”I think it’s a technology whose time has now come. With the emphasis on security and positive identification I think there will be definite growth this year,”” Schaffner said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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