18 Jan Hi-Tech First for ievo
Killingworth-based ievo developed its new micro biometric reader to meet the growing demand for security door locks in airports, hospitals, offices, data centres and hotels.
Instead of using a card-reader, key fob or numeric keypad to open a security door, users touch their index finger to a small sensor mounted on the door-frame which scans their fingerprint and opens the door to authorised personnel.
“Although this type of fingerprint reader has been seen for many years on television and in Hollywood movies, the reality is that the existing technology was unreliable and affected by things like weather or users with anything other than perfectly clean and dry hands,” said ievo Ltd managing director Shaun Oakes.
“Our competitors all manufacture in the Far East, and readers designed for internal use in their high rise offices or apartment blocks are simply not suitable for European customers who are more likely to have their own front door. That’s why our first product, the ultimate, was ruggedised to cope with harsh weather and work in exposed locations or extremes of temperature.
”Unlike existing products which simply scan the surface of a fingertip and struggle to cope with dirty hands, our readers use nine different wavelengths of light to scan 4mm below the skin’s surface and identify collagen ridges and blood vessels. Our state of the art technology means the system works for users whose hands are wet, dirty, greasy, covered in powder or even wearing thin latex gloves.
“Since launching the ievo ultimate a year ago, it has been installed at Olympic sites, the German embassy in London and the Scottish National Arena in Glasgow. In the autumn it was a finalist in the Security Innovation of the Year category at the Security Excellence Awards in London, and we hope this sister product designed for internal use will be just as successful.”
Managed by Northstar Ventures, the Accelerator Fund investment – which is supported by the European Investment Bank, One North East and the European Regional Development Fund – has helped to create three new jobs in ievo’s Killingworth HQ. It follows an earlier investment, also of £150,000.
Rebecca Crawford of Northstar said: “We were particularly pleased to make this second investment in ievo which is based in the region, manufactures here and has recently taken on two graduates from Newcastle University.
“But, make no mistake, this is a world-class company and adding the micro to its product range now means it has a fingerprint reader for every application – exterior, interior or a combination of the two. Shaun has ten years in the industry, and was careful to make his products compatible with existing access and alarm systems – which has led to their rapid adoption by some of the biggest names in the security business such as Chubb, Paxton and ADT.
“Existing technologies all have their inherent problems. Companies with card-reader access doors have to spend £10-15 each on cards which are easily lost or damaged, and research has shown that those using keypad systems often use the same pin codes for years – even after once-trusted staff have left.
“This a hi-tech solution which can identify up to 8,000 different users, is robust and also foolproof. Police fingerprint experts have been able to defeat inferior biometric readers with fake fingers. But, thanks to spoof-detection technology, unless it’s the real thing ievo’s systems keep the door firmly shut.”