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The Identity Timeline: What’s Old is New

If we rewind history 2,000 years, people living in a town or a village generally knew one another, faces were familiar, and travel, was not quite as easy as today. In other words, the average person stayed close to home during the majority of his/her life.

People identified each other simply. A man might be standing outside of his home and see someone approaching from a distance. The man would be able to begin identifying the visitor based on how he walks, his height and his body type. As the visitor came closer, certain facial features may have become clearer, and as he approached further, the “host” would be able to see defining features. At this point, the visitor would be identified as someone known, someone familiar (an acquaintance, or perhaps a family member if there were physical similarities), or a stranger.

As society advanced into the Middle Ages, people became well-traveled, and the trust required for safety and security changed to distrust of the other. This is no surprise, as we know the Middle Ages to be a bloody part of history, with wars, pillaging, theft, and other violent crimes. People began locking their doors, and trying to create tighter security to protect themselves, their families, and their belongings.

Strangers coming to a new town, village or city were required to carry identification with them – a letter from a relative, some form of documentation to prove that they were who they said they were. And in those societies of distrust, having someone vouch for you made all the difference in the world.

Fast-forward to the 1970s, we moved from carrying keys and identity papers to carrying an RFID card. Using these cards, employees, for example, could gain access to corporate buildings by scanning their ID cards. These ID cards became people’s keys, which identified them as authorized for entry.

However, this type of technology-based identification has many flaws. For one, RFID cards can be stolen, and a stranger, or worse, an enemy (think corporate espionage, thieves, vandals), could gain access to your facility, office, warehouse and even to your computers, etc.

Utilizing biometric technology, particularly IMID (In-Motion Identification) that uses a fusion of facial recognition and body analytics, is cutting edge, to be sure. But it also takes us back over 2,000 years.

Using these advanced biometrics technologies, there can be no forged keys, no falsified papers, and no stolen RFID cards. We are going back to basics – recognizing friendly, authorized people by face, by gait, by height – these human identifiers ensure that we only grant access to those we know, and we keep out those we don’t.

Suddenly, the past has become the future. IMID technology – identifying users based on facial recognition and body analytics as they walk – falls directly under the classical definition of Disruptive Technology described by Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School. While until now, biometrics have been viewed as a niche technology used for highly secured locations, IMID technology will open up new markets by discovering new categories of customers.

IMID technology can achieve this because it overcomes the challenge that other biometric technologies face – that is, privacy issues, invasiveness issues, and inconvenience.

IMID technology introduces to the market a highly accurate identification system with convenient and seamless usage. Further, IMID, like identification from thousands of years ago, is not invasive and does not expose private information (people’s face and behavior is always exposed in public in the modern world). As such, this technology will become the gold-standard for ordinary people to enter buildings and access points in the 21st century.

People no longer need RFID cards of the 1970s, nor will they need keys, which can be lost or stolen. Just as human identification once was; our face and our body will be the key to grant us access credentials.

What’s old has become new again, but now we have added modern innovation and finesse to the oldest and most reliable type of identification and secure access technologies known to man.


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